Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

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

Everyone is busied and labours to serve him, and indeed, to make amends for this, he does this good to mankind, as to invent for them all arts, machines, trades, engines, and crafts; he even instructs brutes in arts which are against their nature, making poets of ravens, jackdaws, chattering jays, parrots, and starlings, and poetesses of magpies, teaching them to utter human language, speak, and sing; and all for the gut.  He reclaims and tames eagles, gerfalcons, falcons gentle, sakers, lanners, goshawks, sparrowhawks, merlins, haggards, passengers, wild rapacious birds; so that, setting them free in the air whenever he thinks fit, as high and as long as he pleases, he keeps them suspended, straying, flying, hovering, and courting him above the clouds.  Then on a sudden he makes them stoop, and come down amain from heaven next to the ground; and all for the gut.

Elephants, lions, rhinoceroses, bears, horses, mares, and dogs, he teaches to dance, prance, vault, fight, swim, hide themselves, fetch and carry what he pleases; and all for the gut.

Salt and fresh-water fish, whales, and the monsters of the main, he brings them up from the bottom of the deep; wolves he forces out of the woods, bears out of the rocks, foxes out of their holes, and serpents out of the ground, and all for the gut.

In short, he is so unruly, that in his rage he devours all men and beasts; as was seen among the Vascons, when Q. Metellus besieged them in the Sertorian wars, among the Saguntines besieged by Hannibal; among the Jews besieged by the Romans, and six hundred more; and all for the gut.  When his regent Penia takes a progress, wherever she moves all senates are shut up, all statutes repealed, all orders and proclamations vain; she knows, obeys, and has no law.  All shun her, in every place choosing rather to expose themselves to shipwreck at sea, and venture through fire, rocks, caves, and precipices, than be seized by that most dreadful tormentor.

Chapter 4.LVIII.

How, at the court of the master of ingenuity, Pantagruel detested the Engastrimythes and the Gastrolaters.

At the court of that great master of ingenuity, Pantagruel observed two sorts of troublesome and too officious apparitors, whom he very much detested.  The first were called Engastrimythes; the others, Gastrolaters.

The first pretended to be descended of the ancient race of Eurycles, and for this brought the authority of Aristophanes in his comedy called the Wasps; whence of old they were called Euryclians, as Plato writes, and Plutarch in his book of the Cessation of Oracles.  In the holy decrees, 26, qu. 3, they are styled Ventriloqui; and the same name is given them in Ionian by Hippocrates, in his fifth book of Epid., as men who speak from the belly.  Sophocles calls them Sternomantes.  These were soothsayers, enchanters, cheats, who gulled the mob, and seemed not to speak and give answers from the mouth, but from the belly.

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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