Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,126 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.

By these means is this herb put into a way to display its inestimable virtues, whereof I will discover a part; for to relate all is a thing impossible to do.  I have already interpreted and exposed before you the denomination thereof.  I find that plants have their names given and bestowed upon them after several ways.  Some got the name of him who first found them out, knew them, sowed them, improved them by culture, qualified them to tractability, and appropriated them to the uses and subserviences they were fit for, as the Mercuriale from Mercury; Panacea from Panace, the daughter of Aesculapius; Armois from Artemis, who is Diana; Eupatoria from the king Eupator; Telephion from Telephus; Euphorbium from Euphorbus, King Juba’s physician; Clymenos from Clymenus; Alcibiadium from Alcibiades; Gentiane from Gentius, King of Sclavonia, and so forth, through a great many other herbs or plants.  Truly, in ancient times this prerogative of imposing the inventor’s name upon an herb found out by him was held in a so great account and estimation, that, as a controversy arose betwixt Neptune and Pallas from which of them two that land should receive its denomination which had been equally found out by them both together—­though thereafter it was called and had the appellation of Athens, from Athene, which is Minerva—­just so would Lynceus, King of Scythia, have treacherously slain the young Triptolemus, whom Ceres had sent to show unto mankind the invention of corn, which until then had been utterly unknown, to the end that, after the murder of the messenger, whose death he made account to have kept secret, he might, by imposing, with the less suspicion of false dealing, his own name upon the said found out seed, acquire unto himself an immortal honour and glory for having been the inventor of a grain so profitable and necessary to and for the use of human life.  For the wickedness of which treasonable attempt he was by Ceres transformed into that wild beast which by some is called a lynx and by others an ounce.  Such also was the ambition of others upon the like occasion, as appeareth by that very sharp wars and of a long continuance have been made of old betwixt some residentiary kings in Cappadocia upon this only debate, of whose name a certain herb should have the appellation; by reason of which difference, so troublesome and expensive to them all, it was by them called Polemonion, and by us for the same cause termed Make-bate.

Other herbs and plants there are which retain the names of the countries from whence they were transported, as the Median apples from Media, where they first grew; Punic apples from Punicia, that is to say, Carthage; Ligusticum, which we call lovage, from Liguria, the coast of Genoa; Rhubarb from a flood in Barbary, as Ammianus attesteth, called Ru; Santonica from a region of that name; Fenugreek from Greece; Gastanes from a country so called; Persicaria from Persia; Sabine from a territory of that appellation; Staechas from

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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