burnt to dust, and demolished. Nevertheless,
contrary to all their hopes and expectations, when
the flame ceased, and that the faggots were quite
burnt and consumed, the tower appeared as whole, sound,
and entire as ever. Caesar, after a serious
consideration had thereof, commanded a compass to be
taken without the distance of a stone cast from the
castle round about it there, with ditches and entrenchments
to form a blockade; which when the Larignans understood,
they rendered themselves upon terms. And then
by a relation from them it was that Caesar learned
the admirable nature and virtue of this wood, which
of itself produceth neither fire, flame, nor coal,
and would, therefore, in regard of that rare quality
of incombustibility, have been admitted into this
rank and degree of a true Pantagruelional plant; and
that so much the rather, for that Pantagruel directed
that all the gates, doors, angiports, windows, gutters,
fretticed and embowed ceilings, cans, (cants?) and
other whatsoever wooden furniture in the abbey of
Theleme, should be all materiated of this kind of
timber. He likewise caused to cover therewith
the sterns, stems, cook-rooms or laps, hatches, decks,
courses, bends, and walls of his carricks, ships,
galleons, galleys, brigantines, foists, frigates,
crears, barques, floats, pinks, pinnaces, hoys, ketches,
capers, and other vessels of his Thalassian arsenal;
were it not that the wood or timber of the larch-tree,
being put within a large and ample furnace full of
huge vehemently flaming fire proceeding from the fuel
of other sorts and kinds of wood, cometh at last to
be corrupted, consumed, dissipated, and destroyed,
as are stones in a lime-kiln. But this Pantagruelion
Asbeston is rather by the fire renewed and cleansed
than by the flames thereof consumed or changed.
Arabians, Indians, Sabaeans,
Sing not, in hymns and Io Paeans,
Your incense, myrrh, or ebony.
Come here, a nobler plant to see,
And carry home, at any rate,
Some seed, that you may propagate.
If in your soil it takes, to heaven
A thousand thousand thanks be given;
And say with France, it goodly goes,
Where the Pantagruelion grows.
THE FOURTH BOOK
The Translator’s Preface.
Reader,—I don’t know what kind of
a preface I must write to find thee courteous, an
epithet too often bestowed without a cause. The
author of this work has been as sparing of what we
call good nature, as most readers are nowadays.
So I am afraid his translator and commentator is not
to expect much more than has been showed them.
What’s worse, there are but two sorts of taking
prefaces, as there are but two kinds of prologues to
plays; for Mr. Bays was doubtless in the right when
he said that if thunder and lightning could not fright