Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 29

The tenour of the letter which Grangousier wrote to his son Gargantua.

The fervency of thy studies did require that I should not in a long time recall thee from that philosophical rest thou now enjoyest, if the confidence reposed in our friends and ancient confederates had not at this present disappointed the assurance of my old age. But seeing such is my fatal destiny, that I should be now disquieted by those in whom I trusted most, I am forced to call thee back to help the people and goods which by the right of nature belong unto thee. For even as arms are weak abroad, if there be not counsel at home, so is that study vain and counsel unprofitable which in a due and convenient time is not by virtue executed and put in effect. My deliberation is not to provoke, but to appease — not to assault, but to defend — not to conquer, but to preserve my faithful subjects and hereditary dominions, into which Picrochole is entered in a hostile manner without any ground or cause, and from day to day pursueth his furious enterprise with that height of insolence that is intolerable to freeborn spirits. I have endeavoured to moderate his tyrannical choler, offering him all that which I thought might give him satisfaction; and oftentimes have I sent lovingly unto him to understand wherein, by whom, and how he found himself to be wronged. But of him could I obtain no other answer but a mere defiance, and that in my lands he did pretend only to the right of a civil correspondency and good behaviour, whereby I knew that the eternal God hath left him to the disposure of his own free will and sensual appetite — which cannot choose but be wicked, if by divine grace it be not continually guided — and to contain him within his duty, and bring him to know himself, hath sent him hither to me by a grievous token. Therefore, my beloved son, as soon as thou canst, upon sight of these letters, repair hither with all diligence, to succour not me so much, which nevertheless by natural piety thou oughtest to do, as thine own people, which by reason thou mayest save and preserve. The exploit should be done with as little effusion of blood as may be. And, if possible, by means far more expedient, such as military policy, devices, and stratagems of war, we shall save all the souls, and send them home as merry as crickets unto their own houses. My dearest son, the peace of Jesus Christ our Redeemer be with thee. Salute from me Ponocrates, Gymnastes, and Eudemon. The twentieth of September. Thy Father Grangousier.

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