I (though unworthy) was sent for thither, and with much help of those spectacles, whereby the art of reading dim writings, and letters that do not clearly appear to the sight, is practised, as Aristotle teacheth it, did translate the book as you may see in your Pantagruelizing, that is to say, in drinking stiffly to your own heart’s desire, and reading the dreadful and horrific acts of Pantagruel. At the end of the book there was a little treatise entitled the Antidoted Fanfreluches, or a Galimatia of extravagant conceits. The rats and moths, or (that I may not lie) other wicked beasts, had nibbled off the beginning: the rest I have hereto subjoined, for the reverence I bear to antiquity.
The Antidoted Fanfreluches: or, a Galimatia of extravagant Conceits found in an ancient Monument.
No sooner did the Cymbrians’ overcomer
Pass through the air to shun the dew of summer,
But at his coming straight great tubs were fill’d,
With pure fresh butter down in showers distill’d:
Wherewith when water’d was his grandam, Hey,
Aloud he cried, Fish it, sir, I pray y’;
Because his beard is almost all beray’d;
Or, that he would hold to ’m a scale, he pray’d.
To lick his slipper, some told was much better,
Than to gain pardons, and the merit greater.
In th’ interim a crafty chuff approaches,
From the depth issued, where they fish for roaches;
Who said, Good sirs, some of them let us save,
The eel is here, and in this hollow cave
You’ll find, if that our looks on it demur,
A great waste in the bottom of his fur.
To read this chapter when he did begin,
Nothing but a calf’s horns were found therein;
I feel, quoth he, the mitre which doth hold
My head so chill, it makes my brains take cold.
Being with the perfume of a turnip warm’d,
To stay by chimney hearths himself he arm’d,
Provided that a new thill-horse they made
Of every person of a hair-brain’d head.
They talked of the bunghole of Saint Knowles,
Of Gilbathar and thousand other holes,
If they might be reduced t’ a scarry stuff,
Such as might not be subject to the cough:
Since ev’ry man unseemly did it find,
To see them gaping thus at ev’ry wind:
For, if perhaps they handsomely were closed,
For pledges they to men might be exposed.
In this arrest by Hercules the raven
Was flayed at her (his) return from Lybia haven.
Why am not I, said Minos, there invited?
Unless it be myself, not one’s omitted:
And then it is their mind, I do no more
Of frogs and oysters send them any store:
In case they spare my life and prove but civil,
I give their sale of distaffs to the devil.
To quell him comes Q.B., who limping frets
At the safe pass of tricksy crackarets:
The boulter, the grand Cyclops’ cousin, those
Did massacre, whilst each one wiped his nose:
Few ingles in this fallow ground are bred,
But on a tanner’s mill are winnowed.
Run thither all of you, th’ alarms sound clear,
You shall have more than you had the last year.