Pan. What season do you do it best in? Fri. March.
Pan. How is your performance the rest of the year? Fri. Brisk.
Then quoth Panurge, sneering, Of all, and of all, commend me to Ball; this is the friar of the world for my money. You’ve heard how short, concise, and compendious he is in his answers. Nothing is to be got out of him but monosyllables. By jingo, I believe he would make three bites of a cherry.
Damn him, cried Friar John, that’s as true as I am his uncle. The dog yelps at another gate’s rate when he is among his bitches; there he is polysyllable enough, my life for yours. You talk of making three bites of a cherry! God send fools more wit and us more money! May I be doomed to fast a whole day if I don’t verily believe he would not make above two bites of a shoulder of mutton and one swoop of a whole pottle of wine. Zoons, do but see how down o’ the mouth the cur looks! He’s nothing but skin and bones; he has pissed his tallow.
Truly, truly, quoth Epistemon, this rascally monastical vermin all over the world mind nothing but their gut, and are as ravenous as any kites, and then, forsooth, they tell us they’ve nothing but food and raiment in this world. ’Sdeath, what more have kings and princes?
How Epistemon disliked the institution of Lent.
Pray did you observe, continued Epistemon, how this damned ill-favoured Semiquaver mentioned March as the best month for caterwauling? True, said Pantagruel; yet Lent and March always go together, and the first was instituted to macerate and bring down our pampered flesh, to weaken and subdue its lusts, to curb and assuage the venereal rage.
By this, said Epistemon, you may guess what kind of a pope it was who first enjoined it to be kept, since this filthy wooden-shoed Semiquaver owns that his spoon is never oftener nor deeper in the porringer of lechery than in Lent. Add to this the evident reasons given by all good and learned physicians, affirming that throughout the whole year no food is eaten that can prompt mankind to lascivious acts more than at that time.
As, for example, beans, peas, phasels, or long-peason, ciches, onions, nuts, oysters, herrings, salt-meats, garum (a kind of anchovy), and salads wholly made up of venereous herbs and fruits, as—
Rocket, Parsley, Hop-buds,
Nose-smart, Rampions, Figs,
Taragon, Poppy, Rice,
Cresses, Celery, Raisins, and others.
It would not a little surprise you, said Pantagruel, should a man tell you that the good pope who first ordered the keeping of Lent, perceiving that at that time o’ year the natural heat (from the centre of the body, whither it was retired during the winter’s cold) diffuses itself, as the sap does in trees, through the circumference of the members, did therefore in a manner prescribe that sort of diet to forward the propagation of mankind. What makes me think so, is that by the registers of christenings at Touars it appears that more children are born in October and November than in the other ten months of the year, and reckoning backwards ’twill be easily found that they were all made, conceived, and begotten in Lent.