Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 6

How Pantagruel met with a Limousin, who too affectedly did counterfeit the French language.

Upon a certain day, I know not when, Pantagruel walking after supper with some of his fellow-students without that gate of the city through which we enter on the road to Paris, encountered with a young spruce-like scholar that was coming upon the same very way, and, after they had saluted one another, asked him thus, My friend, from whence comest thou now? The scholar answered him, From the alme, inclyte, and celebrate academy, which is vocitated Lutetia. What is the meaning of this? said Pantagruel to one of his men. It is, answered he, from Paris. Thou comest from Paris then, said Pantagruel; and how do you spend your time there, you my masters the students of Paris? The scholar answered, We transfretate the Sequan at the dilucul and crepuscul; we deambulate by the compites and quadrives of the urb; we despumate the Latial verbocination; and, like verisimilary amorabons, we captat the benevolence of the omnijugal, omniform and omnigenal feminine sex. Upon certain diecules we invisat the lupanares, and in a venerian ecstasy inculcate our veretres into the penitissime recesses of the pudends of these amicabilissim meretricules. Then do we cauponisate in the meritory taberns of the Pineapple, the Castle, the Magdalene, and the Mule, goodly vervecine spatules perforaminated with petrocile. And if by fortune there be rarity or penury of pecune in our marsupies, and that they be exhausted of ferruginean metal, for the shot we dimit our codices and oppignerat our vestments, whilst we prestolate the coming of the tabellaries from the Penates and patriotic Lares. To which Pantagruel answered, What devilish language is this? By the Lord, I think thou art some kind of heretick. My lord, no, said the scholar; for libentissimally, as soon as it illucesceth any minutule slice of the day, I demigrate into one of these so well architected minsters, and there, irrorating myself with fair lustral water, I mumble off little parcels of some missic precation of our sacrificuls, and, submurmurating my horary precules, I elevate and absterge my anime from its nocturnal inquinations. I revere the Olympicols. I latrially venere the supernal Astripotent. I dilige and redame my proxims. I observe the decalogical precepts, and, according to the facultatule of my vires, I do not discede from them one late unguicule. Nevertheless, it is veriform, that because Mammona doth not supergurgitate anything in my loculs, that I am somewhat rare and lent to supererogate the elemosynes to those egents that hostially queritate their stipe.

Prut, tut, said Pantagruel, what doth this fool mean to say? I think he is upon the forging of some diabolical tongue, and that enchanter-like he would charm us. To whom one of his men said, Without doubt, sir, this fellow would counterfeit the language of the Parisians, but he doth only flay the Latin, imagining by so doing that he doth highly Pindarize it in most eloquent terms, and strongly conceiteth himself to be therefore a great orator in the French, because he disdaineth the common manner of speaking. To which Pantagruel said, Is it true? The scholar answered, My worshipful lord, my genie is not apt nate to that which this flagitious nebulon saith, to excoriate the cut(ic)ule of our vernacular Gallic, but vice-versally I gnave opere, and by veles and rames enite to locupletate it with the Latinicome redundance. By G — said Pantagruel, I will teach you to speak. But first come hither, and tell me whence thou art. To this the scholar answered, The primeval origin of my aves and ataves was indigenary of the Lemovic regions, where requiesceth the corpor of the hagiotat St. Martial. I understand thee very well, said Pantagruel. When all comes to all, thou art a Limousin, and thou wilt here by thy affected speech counterfeit the Parisians. Well now, come hither, I must show thee a new trick, and handsomely give thee the combfeat. With this he took him by the throat, saying to him, Thou flayest the Latin; by St. John, I will make thee flay the fox, for I will now flay thee alive. Then began the poor Limousin to cry, Haw, gwid maaster! haw, Laord, my halp, and St. Marshaw! haw, I’m worried. Haw, my thropple, the bean of my cragg is bruck! Haw, for gauad’s seck lawt my lean, mawster; waw, waw, waw. Now, said Pantagruel, thou speakest naturally, and so let him go, for the poor Limousin had totally bewrayed and thoroughly conshit his breeches, which were not deep and large enough, but round straight cannioned gregs, having in the seat a piece like a keeling’s tail, and therefore in French called, de chausses a queue de merlus. Then, said Pantagruel, St. Alipantin, what civet? Fie! to the devil with this turnip-eater, as he stinks! and so let him go. But this hug of Pantagruel’s was such a terror to him all the days of his life, and took such deep impression in his fancy, that very often, distracted with sudden affrightments, he would startle and say that Pantagruel held him by the neck. Besides that, it procured him a continual drought and desire to drink, so that after some few years he died of the death Roland, in plain English called thirst, a work of divine vengeance, showing us that which saith the philosopher and Aulus Gellius, that it becometh us to speak according to the common language; and that we should, as said Octavian Augustus, strive to shun all strange and unknown terms with as much heedfulness and circumspection as pilots of ships use to avoid the rocks and banks in the sea.

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