Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,126 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.
I will, nay, I already do repent having proposed it; for still I must remain nettled and gravelled, and a devil a bit I know how to get off.  Well, what say you?  I’faith, I begin to smell you out.  You are not yet disposed to give me an answer; nor I neither, by these whiskers.  Yet to give some light into the business, I’ll e’en tell you what had been anciently foretold in the matter by a venerable doctor, who, being moved by the spirit in a prophetic vein, wrote a book ycleped the Prelatical Bagpipe.  What d’ye think the old fornicator saith?  Hearken, you old noddies, hearken now or never.

  The jubilee’s year, when all like fools were shorn,
  Is about thirty supernumerary. 
  O want of veneration! fools they seemed,
  But, persevering, with long breves, at last
  No more they shall be gaping greedy fools. 
  For they shall shell the shrub’s delicious fruit,
  Whose flower they in the spring so much had feared.

Now you have it, what do you make on’t?  The seer is ancient, the style laconic, the sentences dark like those of Scotus, though they treat of matters dark enough in themselves.  The best commentators on that good father take the jubilee after the thirtieth to be the years that are included in this present age till 1550 (there being but one jubilee every fifty years).  Men shall no longer be thought fools next green peas season.

The fools, whose number, as Solomon certifies, is infinite, shall go to pot like a parcel of mad bedlamites as they are; and all manner of folly shall have an end, that being also numberless, according to Avicenna, maniae infinitae sunt species.  Having been driven back and hidden towards the centre during the rigour of the winter, ’tis now to be seen on the surface, and buds out like the trees.  This is as plain as a nose in a man’s face; you know it by experience; you see it.  And it was formerly found out by that great good man Hippocrates, Aphorism Verae etenim maniae, &c.  This world therefore wisifying itself, shall no longer dread the flower and blossoms of every coming spring, that is, as you may piously believe, bumper in hand and tears in eyes, in the woeful time of Lent, which used to keep them company.

Whole cartloads of books that seemed florid, flourishing, and flowery, gay, and gaudy as so many butterflies, but in the main were tiresome, dull, soporiferous, irksome, mischievous, crabbed, knotty, puzzling, and dark as those of whining Heraclitus, as unintelligible as the numbers of Pythagoras, that king of the bean, according to Horace; those books, I say, have seen their best days and shall soon come to nothing, being delivered to the executing worms and merciless petty chandlers; such was their destiny, and to this they were predestinated.

In their stead beans in cod are started up; that is, these merry and fructifying Pantagruelian books, so much sought nowadays in expectation of the following jubilee’s period; to the study of which writings all people have given their minds, and accordingly have gained the name of wise.

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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