Just so, as Euripides tells us, Iolaus was transmogrified; and thus Phaon, for whom kind-hearted Sappho run wild, grew young again, for Venus’s use; so Tithon by Aurora’s means; so Aeson by Medea, and Jason also, who, if you’ll believe Pherecides and Simonides, was new-vamped and dyed by that witch; and so were the nurses of jolly Bacchus, and their husbands, as Aeschylus relates.
How Queen Whims’ officers were employed; and how the said lady retained us among her abstractors.
I then saw a great number of the queen’s officers, who made blackamoors white as fast as hops, just rubbing their bellies with the bottom of a pannier.
Others, with three couples of foxes in one yoke, ploughed a sandy shore, and did not lose their seed.
Others washed burnt tiles, and made them lose their colour.
Others extracted water out of pumice-stones, braying them a good while in a mortar, and changed their substance.
Others sheared asses, and thus got long fleece wool.
Others gathered barberries and figs off of thistles.
Others stroked he-goats by the dugs, and saved their milk in a sieve; and much they got by it.
(Others washed asses’ heads without losing their soap.)
Others taught cows to dance, and did not lose their fiddling.
Others pitched nets to catch the wind, and took cock-lobsters in them.
I saw a spodizator, who very artificially got farts out of a dead ass, and sold ’em for fivepence an ell.
Another did putrefy beetles. O the dainty food!
Poor Panurge fairly cast up his accounts, and gave up his halfpenny (i.e. vomited), seeing an archasdarpenin who laid a huge plenty of chamber lye to putrefy in horsedung, mishmashed with abundance of Christian sir-reverence. Pugh, fie upon him, nasty dog! However, he told us that with this sacred distillation he watered kings and princes, and made their sweet lives a fathom or two the longer.
Others built churches to jump over the steeples.
Others set carts before the horses, and began to flay eels at the tail; neither did the eels cry before they were hurt, like those of Melun.
Others out of nothing made great things, and made great things return to nothing.
Others cut fire into steaks with a knife, and drew water with a fish-net.
Others made chalk of cheese, and honey of a dog’s t—d.
We saw a knot of others, about a baker’s dozen in number, tippling under an arbour. They toped out of jolly bottomless cups four sorts of cool, sparkling, pure, delicious, vine-tree sirup, which went down like mother’s milk; and healths and bumpers flew about like lightning. We were told that these true philosophers were fairly multiplying the stars by drinking till the seven were fourteen, as brawny Hercules did with Atlas.