Why it is called Pantagruelion, and of the admirable virtues thereof.
By such-like means of attaining to a denomination—the fabulous ways being only from thence excepted, for the Lord forbid that we should make use of any fables in this a so veritable history—is this herb called Pantagruelion, for Pantagruel was the inventor thereof. I do not say of the plant itself, but of a certain use which it serves for, exceeding odious and hateful to thieves and robbers, unto whom it is more contrarious and hurtful than the strangle-weed and chokefitch is to the flax, the cats-tail to the brakes, the sheave-grass to the mowers of hay, the fitches to the chickney-pease, the darnel to barley, the hatchet-fitch to the lentil pulse, the antramium to the beans, tares to wheat, ivy to walls, the water-lily to lecherous monks, the birchen rod to the scholars of the college of Navarre in Paris, colewort to the vine-tree, garlic to the loadstone, onions to the sight, fern-seed to women with child, willow-grain to vicious nuns, the yew-tree shade to those that sleep under it, wolfsbane to wolves and libbards, the smell of fig-tree to mad bulls, hemlock to goslings, purslane to the teeth, or oil to trees. For we have seen many of those rogues, by virtue and right application of this herb, finish their lives short and long, after the manner of Phyllis, Queen of Thracia, of Bonosus, Emperor of Rome, of Amata, King Latinus’s wife, of Iphis, Autolycus, Lycambe, Arachne, Phaedra, Leda, Achius, King of Lydia, and many thousands more, who were chiefly angry and vexed at this disaster therein, that, without being otherwise sick or evil-disposed in their bodies, by a touch only of the Pantagruelion they came on a sudden to have the passage obstructed, and their pipes, through which were wont to bolt so many jolly sayings and to enter so many luscious morsels, stopped, more cleverly than ever could have done the squinancy.
Others have been heard most woefully to lament, at the very instant when Atropos was about to cut the thread of their life, that Pantagruel held them by the gorge. But, well-a-day, it was not Pantagruel; he never was an executioner. It was the Pantagruelion, manufactured and fashioned into an halter; and serving in the place and office of a cravat. In that, verily, they solecized and spoke improperly, unless