Jupiter’s priestess, said Pantagruel, in former days would not like us have walked under this arbour. There was a mystical reason, answered our most perspicuous lantern, that would have hindered her; for had she gone under it, the wine, or the grapes of which ’tis made, that’s the same thing, had been over her head, and then she would have seemed overtopped and mastered by wine. Which implies that priests, and all persons who devote themselves to the contemplation of divine things, ought to keep their minds sedate and calm, and avoid whatever might disturb and discompose their tranquillity, which nothing is more apt to do than drunkenness.
You also, continued our lantern, could not come into the Holy Bottle’s presence, after you have gone through this arch, did not that noble priestess Bacbuc first see your shoes full of vine-leaves; which action is diametrically opposite to the other, and signifies that you despise wine, and having mastered it, as it were, tread it under foot.
I am no scholar, quoth Friar John, for which I’m heartily sorry, yet I find by my breviary that in the Revelation a woman was seen with the moon under her feet, which was a most wonderful sight. Now, as Bigot explained it to me, this was to signify that she was not of the nature of other women; for they have all the moon at their heads, and consequently their brains are always troubled with a lunacy. This makes me willing to believe what you said, dear Madam Lantern.
How we went underground to come to the Temple of the Holy Bottle, and how Chinon is the oldest city in the world.
We went underground through a plastered vault, on which was coarsely painted a dance of women and satyrs waiting on old Silenus, who was grinning o’ horseback on his ass. This made me say to Pantagruel, that this entry put me in mind of the painted cellar in the oldest city in the world, where such paintings are to be seen, and in as cool a place.
Which is the oldest city in the world? asked Pantagruel. ’Tis Chinon, sir, or Cainon in Touraine, said I. I know, returned Pantagruel, where Chinon lies, and the painted cellar also, having myself drunk there many a glass of cool wine; neither do I doubt but that Chinon is an ancient town —witness its blazon. I own ’tis said twice or thrice:
On old stone
Long has stood;
There’s the Vienne, if you look down;
If you look up, there’s the wood.
But how, continued he, can you make it out that ’tis the oldest city in the world? Where did you find this written? I have found it in the sacred writ, said I, that Cain was the first that built a town; we may then reasonably conjecture that from his name he gave it that of Cainon. Thus, after his example, most other founders of towns have given them their names: Athena, that’s Minerva in Greek, to Athens; Alexander to Alexandria; Constantine to Constantinople; Pompey to Pompeiopolis in Cilicia; Adrian to Adrianople; Canaan, to the Canaanites; Saba, to the Sabaeans; Assur, to the Assyrians; and so Ptolemais, Caesarea, Tiberias, and Herodium in Judaea got their names.