Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 952 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.
of his idol by some slight within the body thereof publicly to shake.  Plautus, in his Asinaria, declareth likewise, that Saurias, whithersoever he walked, like one quite distracted of his wits kept such a furious lolling and mad-like shaking of his head, that he commonly affrighted those who casually met with him in his way.  The said author in another place, showing a reason why Charmides shook and brangled his head, assevered that he was transported and in an ecstasy.  Catullus after the same manner maketh mention, in his Berecynthia and Atys, of the place wherein the Menades, Bacchical women, she-priests of the Lyaean god, and demented prophetesses, carrying ivy boughs in their hands, did shake their heads.  As in the like case, amongst the Galli, the gelded priests of Cybele were wont to do in the celebrating of their festivals.  Whence, too, according to the sense of the ancient theologues, she herself has her denomination, for kubistan signifieth to turn round, whirl about, shake the head, and play the part of one that is wry-necked.

Semblably Titus Livius writeth that, in the solemnization time of the Bacchanalian holidays at Rome, both men and women seemed to prophetize and vaticinate, because of an affected kind of wagging of the head, shrugging of the shoulders, and jectigation of the whole body, which they used then most punctually.  For the common voice of the philosophers, together with the opinion of the people, asserteth for an irrefragable truth that vaticination is seldom by the heavens bestowed on any without the concomitancy of a little frenzy and a head-shaking, not only when the said presaging virtue is infused, but when the person also therewith inspired declareth and manifesteth it unto others.  The learned lawyer Julian, being asked on a time if that slave might be truly esteemed to be healthful and in a good plight who had not only conversed with some furious, maniac, and enraged people, but in their company had also prophesied, yet without a noddle-shaking concussion, answered that, seeing there was no head-wagging at the time of his predictions, he might be held for sound and compotent enough.  Is it not daily seen how schoolmasters, teachers, tutors, and instructors of children shake the heads of their disciples, as one would do a pot in holding it by the lugs, that by this erection, vellication, stretching, and pulling their ears, which, according to the doctrine of the sage Egyptians, is a member consecrated to the memory, they may stir them up to recollect their scattered thoughts, bring home those fancies of theirs which perhaps have been extravagantly roaming abroad upon strange and uncouth objects, and totally range their judgments, which possibly by disordinate affections have been made wild, to the rule and pattern of a wise, discreet, virtuous, and philosophical discipline.  All which Virgil acknowledgeth to be true, in the branglement of Apollo Cynthius.

Chapter 3.XLVI.

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