Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

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

Silenus, who led the van, was one on whom Bacchus relied very much, having formerly had many proofs of his valour and conduct.  He was a diminutive, stooping, palsied, plump, gorbellied old fellow, with a swingeing pair of stiff-standing lugs of his own, a sharp Roman nose, large rough eyebrows, mounted on a well-hung ass.  In his fist he held a staff to lean upon, and also bravely to fight whenever he had occasion to alight; and he was dressed in a woman’s yellow gown.  His followers were all young, wild, clownish people, as hornified as so many kids and as fell as so many tigers, naked, and perpetually singing and dancing country-dances.  They were called tityri and satyrs, and were in all eighty-five thousand one hundred and thirty-three.

Pan, who brought up the rear, was a monstrous sort of a thing; for his lower parts were like a goat’s, his thighs hairy, and his horns bolt upright; a crimson fiery phiz, and a beard that was none of the shortest.  He was a bold, stout, daring, desperate fellow, very apt to take pepper in the nose for yea and nay.

In his left hand he held a pipe, and a crooked stick in his right.  His forces consisted also wholly of satyrs, aegipanes, agripanes, sylvans, fauns, lemures, lares, elves, and hobgoblins, and their number was seventy-eight thousand one hundred and fourteen.  The signal or word common to all the army was Evohe.

Chapter 5.XL.

How the battle in which the good Bacchus overthrew the Indians was represented in mosaic work.

In the next place we saw the representation of the good Bacchus’s engagement with the Indians.  Silenus, who led the van, was sweating, puffing, and blowing, belabouring his ass most grievously.  The ass dreadfully opened its wide jaws, drove away the flies that plagued it, winced, flounced, went back, and bestirred itself in a most terrible manner, as if some damned gad-bee had stung it at the breech.

The satyrs, captains, sergeants, and corporals of companies, sounding the orgies with cornets, in a furious manner went round the army, skipping, capering, bounding, jerking, farting, flying out at heels, kicking and prancing like mad, encouraging their companions to fight bravely; and all the delineated army cried out Evohe!

First, the Maenades charged the Indians with dreadful shouts, and a horrid din of their brazen drums and bucklers; the air rung again all around, as the mosaic work well expressed it.  And pray for the future don’t so much admire Apelles, Aristides the Theban, and others who drew claps of thunder, lightnings, winds, words, manners, and spirits.

We then saw the Indian army, who had at last taken the field to prevent the devastation of the rest of their country.  In the front were the elephants, with castles well garrisoned on their backs.  But the army and themselves were put into disorder; the dreadful cries of the Bacchae having filled them with consternation, and those huge animals turned tail and trampled on the men of their party.

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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