Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 20

How Thaumast relateth the virtues and knowledge of Panurge.

Then Panurge rose up, and, putting off his cap, did very kindly thank the said Panurge, and with a loud voice said unto all the people that were there: My lords, gentlemen, and others, at this time may I to some good purpose speak that evangelical word, Et ecce plus quam Salomon hic! You have here in your presence an incomparable treasure, that is, my lord Pantagruel, whose great renown hath brought me hither, out of the very heart of England, to confer with him about the insoluble problems, both in magic, alchemy, the cabal, geomancy, astrology, and philosophy, which I had in my mind. But at present I am angry even with fame itself, which I think was envious to him, for that it did not declare the thousandth part of the worth that indeed is in him. You have seen how his disciple only hath satisfied me, and hath told me more than I asked of him. Besides, he hath opened unto me, and resolved other inestimable doubts, wherein I can assure you he hath to me discovered the very true well, fountain, and abyss of the encyclopaedia of learning; yea, in such a sort that I did not think I should ever have found a man that could have made his skill appear in so much as the first elements of that concerning which we disputed by signs, without speaking either word or half word. But, in fine, I will reduce into writing that which we have said and concluded, that the world may not take them to be fooleries, and will thereafter cause them to be printed, that everyone may learn as I have done. Judge, then, what the master had been able to say, seeing the disciple hath done so valiantly; for, Non est discipulus super magistrum. Howsoever, God be praised! and I do very humbly thank you for the honour that you have done us at this act. God reward you for it eternally! The like thanks gave Pantagruel to all the company, and, going from thence, he carried Thaumast to dinner with him, and believe that they drank as much as their skins could hold, or, as the phrase is, with unbuttoned bellies (for in that age they made fast their bellies with buttons, as we do now the collars of our doublets or jerkins), even till they neither knew where they were nor whence they came. Blessed Lady, how they did carouse it, and pluck, as we say, at the kid’s leather! And flagons to trot, and they to toot, Draw; give, page, some wine here; reach hither; fill with a devil, so! There was not one but did drink five and twenty or thirty pipes. Can you tell how? Even sicut terra sine aqua; for the weather was hot, and, besides that, they were very dry. In matter of the exposition of the propositions set down by Thaumast, and the signification of the signs which they used in their disputation, I would have set them down for you according to their own relation, but I have been told that Thaumast made a great book of it, imprinted at London, wherein he hath set down all, without omitting anything, and therefore at this time I do pass by it.

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