Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 952 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.
land is infested with pestilence, earthquakes, inundations, and other calamities; the air with fogs and obscurity, and the sea with storms and hurricanes.  What you tell us seems to me likely enough, said Pantagruel.  For as a torch or candle, as long as it hath life enough and is lighted, shines round about, disperses its light, delights those that are near it, yields them its service and clearness, and never causes any pain or displeasure; but as soon as ’tis extinguished, its smoke and evaporation infects the air, offends the bystanders, and is noisome to all; so, as long as those noble and renowned souls inhabit their bodies, peace, profit, pleasure, and honour never leave the places where they abide; but as soon as they leave them, both the continent and adjacent islands are annoyed with great commotions; in the air fogs, darkness, thunder, hail; tremblings, pulsations, agitations of the earth; storms and hurricanes at sea; together with sad complaints amongst the people, broaching of religions, changes in governments, and ruins of commonwealths.

We had a sad instance of this lately, said Epistemon, at the death of that valiant and learned knight, William du Bellay; during whose life France enjoyed so much happiness, that all the rest of the world looked upon it with envy, sought friendship with it, and stood in awe of its power; but soon after his decease it hath for a considerable time been the scorn of the rest of the world.

Thus, said Pantagruel, Anchises being dead at Drepani in Sicily, Aeneas was dreadfully tossed and endangered by a storm; and perhaps for the same reason Herod, that tyrant and cruel King of Judaea, finding himself near the pangs of a horrid kind of death—­for he died of a phthiriasis, devoured by vermin and lice; as before him died L. Sylla, Pherecydes the Syrian, the preceptor of Pythagoras, the Greek poet Alcmaeon, and others—­and foreseeing that the Jews would make bonfires at his death, caused all the nobles and magistrates to be summoned to his seraglio out of all the cities, towns, and castles of Judaea, fraudulently pretending that he had some things of moment to impart to them.  They made their personal appearance; whereupon he caused them all to be shut up in the hippodrome of the seraglio; then said to his sister Salome and Alexander her husband:  I am certain that the Jews will rejoice at my death; but if you will observe and perform what I tell you, my funeral shall be honourable, and there will be a general mourning.  As soon as you see me dead, let my guards, to whom I have already given strict commission to that purpose, kill all the noblemen and magistrates that are secured in the hippodrome.  By these means all Jewry shall, in spite of themselves, be obliged to mourn and lament, and foreigners will imagine it to be for my death, as if some heroic soul had left her body.  A desperate tyrant wished as much when he said, When I die, let earth and fire be mixed together; which was as good as to say, let the whole world perish.  Which saying the tyrant Nero altered, saying, While I live, as Suetonius affirms it.  This detestable saying, of which Cicero, lib.  De Finib., and Seneca, lib. 2, De Clementia, make mention, is ascribed to the Emperor Tiberius by Dion Nicaeus and Suidas.

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.