Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 17

How Gargantua paid his welcome to the Parisians, and how he took away the great bells of Our Lady’s Church.

Some few days after that they had refreshed themselves, he went to see the city, and was beheld of everybody there with great admiration; for the people of Paris are so sottish, so badot, so foolish and fond by nature, that a juggler, a carrier of indulgences, a sumpter-horse, or mule with cymbals or tinkling bells, a blind fiddler in the middle of a cross lane, shall draw a greater confluence of people together than an evangelical preacher. And they pressed so hard upon him that he was constrained to rest himself upon the towers of Our Lady’s Church. At which place, seeing so many about him, he said with a loud voice, I believe that these buzzards will have me to pay them here my welcome hither, and my Proficiat. It is but good reason. I will now give them their wine, but it shall be only in sport. Then smiling, he untied his fair braguette, and drawing out his mentul into the open air, he so bitterly all-to-bepissed them, that he drowned two hundred and sixty thousand, four hundred and eighteen, besides the women and little children. Some, nevertheless, of the company escaped this piss-flood by mere speed of foot, who, when they were at the higher end of the university, sweating, coughing, spitting, and out of breath, they began to swear and curse, some in good hot earnest, and others in jest. Carimari, carimara: golynoly, golynolo. By my sweet Sanctess, we are washed in sport, a sport truly to laugh at; — in French, Par ris, for which that city hath been ever since called Paris; whose name formerly was Leucotia, as Strabo testifieth, lib. quarto, from the Greek word Greek, whiteness — because of the white thighs of the ladies of that place. And forasmuch as, at this imposition of a new name, all the people that were there swore everyone by the Sancts of his parish, the Parisians, which are patched up of all nations and all pieces of countries, are by nature both good jurors and good jurists, and somewhat overweening; whereupon Joanninus de Barrauco, libro de copiositate reverentiarum, thinks that they are called Parisians from the Greek word Greek, which signifies boldness and liberty in speech. This done, he considered the great bells, which were in the said towers, and made them sound very harmoniously. Which whilst he was doing, it came into his mind that they would serve very well for tingling tantans and ringing campanels to hang about his mare’s neck when she should be sent back to his father, as he intended to do, loaded with Brie cheese and fresh herring. And indeed he forthwith carried them to his lodging. In the meanwhile there came a master beggar of the friars of St. Anthony to demand in his canting way the usual benevolence of some hoggish stuff, who, that he might be heard afar off, and to make the bacon he was in quest of shake in the very chimneys, made account to filch them away privily. Nevertheless, he left them behind very honestly, not for that they were too hot, but that they were somewhat too heavy for his carriage. This was not he of Bourg, for he was too good a friend of mine. All the city was risen up in sedition, they being, as you know, upon any slight occasion, so ready to uproars and insurrections, that foreign nations wonder at the patience of the kings of France, who do not by good justice restrain them from such tumultuous courses, seeing the manifold inconveniences which thence arise from day to day. Would to God I knew the shop wherein are forged these divisions and factious combinations, that I might bring them to light in the confraternities of my parish! Believe for a truth, that the place wherein the people gathered together, were thus sulphured, hopurymated, moiled, and bepissed, was called Nesle, where then was, but now is no more, the oracle of Leucotia. There was the case proposed, and the inconvenience showed of the transporting of the bells. After they had well ergoted pro and con, they concluded in baralipton, that they should send the oldest and most sufficient of the faculty unto Gargantua, to signify unto him the great and horrible prejudice they sustain by the want of those bells. And notwithstanding the good reasons given in by some of the university why this charge was fitter for an orator than a sophister, there was chosen for this purpose our Master Janotus de Bragmardo.


He went to see the city, and was beheld of everybody there with great admiration


Gargantua visiting the shops.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/r/rabelais/francois/r11g/book1.17.html

Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 15:33