Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 25

How Panurge consulteth with Herr Trippa.

Nevertheless, quoth Epistemon, continuing his discourse, I will tell you what you may do, if you believe me, before we return to our king. Hard by here, in the Brown-wheat (Bouchart) Island, dwelleth Herr Trippa. You know how by the arts of astrology, geomancy, chiromancy, metopomancy, and others of a like stuff and nature, he foretelleth all things to come; let us talk a little, and confer with him about your business. Of that, answered Panurge, I know nothing; but of this much concerning him I am assured, that one day, and that not long since, whilst he was prating to the great king of celestial, sublime, and transcendent things, the lacqueys and footboys of the court, upon the upper steps of stairs between two doors, jumbled, one after another, as often as they listed, his wife, who is passable fair, and a pretty snug hussy. Thus he who seemed very clearly to see all heavenly and terrestrial things without spectacles, who discoursed boldly of adventures past, with great confidence opened up present cases and accidents, and stoutly professed the presaging of all future events and contingencies, was not able, with all the skill and cunning that he had, to perceive the bumbasting of his wife, whom he reputed to be very chaste, and hath not till this hour got notice of anything to the contrary. Yet let us go to him, seeing you will have it so; for surely we can never learn too much. They on the very next ensuing day came to Herr Trippa’s lodging. Panurge, by way of donative, presented him with a long gown lined all through with wolf-skins, with a short sword mounted with a gilded hilt and covered with a velvet scabbard, and with fifty good single angels; then in a familiar and friendly way did he ask of him his opinion touching the affair. At the very first Herr Trippa, looking on him very wistly in the face, said unto him: Thou hast the metoposcopy and physiognomy of a cuckold — I say, of a notorious and infamous cuckold. With this, casting an eye upon Panurge’s right hand in all the parts thereof, he said, This rugged draught which I see here, just under the mount of Jove, was never yet but in the hand of a cuckold. Afterwards, he with a white lead pen swiftly and hastily drew a certain number of diverse kinds of points, which by rules of geomancy he coupled and joined together; then said: Truth itself is not truer than that it is certain thou wilt be a cuckold a little after thy marriage. That being done, he asked of Panurge the horoscope of his nativity, which was no sooner by Panurge tendered unto him, than that, erecting a figure, he very promptly and speedily formed and fashioned a complete fabric of the houses of heaven in all their parts, whereof when he had considered the situation and the aspects in their triplicities, he fetched a deep sigh, and said: I have clearly enough already discovered unto you the fate of your cuckoldry, which is unavoidable, you cannot escape it. And here have I got of new a further assurance thereof, so that I may now hardily pronounce and affirm, without any scruple or hesitation at all, that thou wilt be a cuckold; that furthermore, thou wilt be beaten by thine own wife, and that she will purloin, filch and steal of thy goods from thee; for I find the seventh house, in all its aspects, of a malignant influence, and every one of the planets threatening thee with disgrace, according as they stand seated towards one another, in relation to the horned signs of Aries, Taurus, and Capricorn. In the fourth house I find Jupiter in a decadence, as also in a tetragonal aspect to Saturn, associated with Mercury. Thou wilt be soundly peppered, my good, honest fellow, I warrant thee. I will be? answered Panurge. A plague rot thee, thou old fool and doting sot, how graceless and unpleasant thou art! When all cuckolds shall be at a general rendezvous, thou shouldst be their standard-bearer. But whence comes this ciron-worm betwixt these two fingers? This Panurge said, putting the forefinger of his left hand betwixt the fore and mid finger of the right, which he thrust out towards Herr Trippa, holding them open after the manner of two horns, and shutting into his fist his thumb with the other fingers. Then, in turning to Epistemon, he said: Lo here the true Olus of Martial, who addicted and devoted himself wholly to the observing the miseries, crosses, and calamities of others, whilst his own wife, in the interim, did keep an open bawdy-house. This varlet is poorer than ever was Irus, and yet he is proud, vaunting, arrogant, self-conceited, overweening, and more insupportable than seventeen devils; in one word, (Greek), which term of old was applied to the like beggarly strutting coxcombs. Come, let us leave this madpash bedlam, this hairbrained fop, and give him leave to rave and dose his bellyful with his private and intimately acquainted devils, who, if they were not the very worst of all infernal fiends, would never have deigned to serve such a knavish barking cur as this is. He hath not learnt the first precept of philosophy, which is, Know thyself; for whilst he braggeth and boasteth that he can discern the least mote in the eye of another, he is not able to see the huge block that puts out the sight of both his eyes. This is such another Polypragmon as is by Plutarch described. He is of the nature of the Lamian witches, who in foreign places, in the houses of strangers, in public, and amongst the common people, had a sharper and more piercing inspection into their affairs than any lynx, but at home in their own proper dwelling-mansions were blinder than moldwarps, and saw nothing at all. For their custom was, at their return from abroad, when they were by themselves in private, to take their eyes out of their head, from whence they were as easily removable as a pair of spectacles from their nose, and to lay them up into a wooden slipper which for that purpose did hang behind the door of their lodging.

Panurge had no sooner done speaking, when Herr Trippa took into his hand a tamarisk branch. In this, quoth Epistemon, he doth very well, right, and like an artist, for Nicander calleth it the divinatory tree. Have you a mind, quoth Herr Trippa, to have the truth of the matter yet more fully and amply disclosed unto you by pyromancy, by aeromancy, whereof Aristophanes in his Clouds maketh great estimation, by hydromancy, by lecanomancy, of old in prime request amongst the Assyrians, and thoroughly tried by Hermolaus Barbarus. Come hither, and I will show thee in this platterful of fair fountain-water thy future wife lechering and sercroupierizing it with two swaggering ruffians, one after another. Yea, but have a special care, quoth Panurge, when thou comest to put thy nose within mine arse, that thou forget not to pull off thy spectacles. Herr Trippa, going on in his discourse, said, By catoptromancy, likewise held in such account by the Emperor Didius Julianus, that by means thereof he ever and anon foresaw all that which at any time did happen or befall unto him. Thou shalt not need to put on thy spectacles, for in a mirror thou wilt see her as clearly and manifestly nebrundiated and billibodring it, as if I should show it in the fountain of the temple of Minerva near Patras. By coscinomancy, most religiously observed of old amidst the ceremonies of the ancient Romans. Let us have a sieve and shears, and thou shalt see devils. By alphitomancy, cried up by Theocritus in his Pharmaceutria. By alentomancy, mixing the flour of wheat with oatmeal. By astragalomancy, whereof I have the plots and models all at hand ready for the purpose. By tyromancy, whereof we make some proof in a great Brehemont cheese which I here keep by me. By giromancy, if thou shouldst turn round circles, thou mightest assure thyself from me that they would fall always on the wrong side. By sternomancy, which maketh nothing for thy advantage, for thou hast an ill-proportioned stomach. By libanomancy, for the which we shall need but a little frankincense. By gastromancy, which kind of ventral fatiloquency was for a long time together used in Ferrara by Lady Giacoma Rodogina, the Engastrimythian prophetess. By cephalomancy, often practised amongst the High Germans in their boiling of an ass’s head upon burning coals. By ceromancy, where, by the means of wax dissolved into water, thou shalt see the figure, portrait, and lively representation of thy future wife, and of her fredin fredaliatory belly-thumping blades. By capnomancy. O the gallantest and most excellent of all secrets! By axionomancy; we want only a hatchet and a jet-stone to be laid together upon a quick fire of hot embers. O how bravely Homer was versed in the practice hereof towards Penelope’s suitors! By onymancy; for that we have oil and wax. By tephromancy. Thou wilt see the ashes thus aloft dispersed exhibiting thy wife in a fine posture. By botanomancy; for the nonce I have some few leaves in reserve. By sicomancy; O divine art in fig-tree leaves! By icthiomancy, in ancient times so celebrated, and put in use by Tiresias and Polydamas, with the like certainty of event as was tried of old at the Dina-ditch within that grove consecrated to Apollo which is in the territory of the Lycians. By choiromancy; let us have a great many hogs, and thou shalt have the bladder of one of them. By cheromancy, as the bean is found in the cake at the Epiphany vigil. By anthropomancy, practised by the Roman Emperor Heliogabalus. It is somewhat irksome, but thou wilt endure it well enough, seeing thou art destinated to be a cuckold. By a sibylline stichomancy. By onomatomancy. How do they call thee? Chaw-turd, quoth Panurge. Or yet by alectryomancy. If I should here with a compass draw a round, and in looking upon thee, and considering thy lot, divide the circumference thereof into four-and-twenty equal parts, then form a several letter of the alphabet upon every one of them; and, lastly, posit a barleycorn or two upon each of these so disposed letters, I durst promise upon my faith and honesty that, if a young virgin cock be permitted to range alongst and athwart them, he should only eat the grains which are set and placed upon these letters, A. C.U.C.K.O.L.D. T.H.O.U. S.H.A.L.T. B.E. And that as fatidically as, under the Emperor Valens, most perplexedly desirous to know the name of him who should be his successor to the empire, the cock vacticinating and alectryomantic ate up the pickles that were posited on the letters T.H.E.O.D. Or, for the more certainty, will you have a trial of your fortune by the art of aruspiciny, by augury, or by extispiciny? By turdispiciny, quoth Panurge. Or yet by the mystery of necromancy? I will, if you please, suddenly set up again and revive someone lately deceased, as Apollonius of Tyane did to Achilles, and the Pythoness in the presence of Saul; which body, so raised up and requickened, will tell us the sum of all you shall require of him: no more nor less than, at the invocation of Erictho, a certain defunct person foretold to Pompey the whole progress and issue of the fatal battle fought in the Pharsalian fields. Or, if you be afraid of the dead, as commonly all cuckolds are, I will make use of the faculty of sciomancy.

Go, get thee gone, quoth Panurge, thou frantic ass, to the devil, and be buggered, filthy Bardachio that thou art, by some Albanian, for a steeple-crowned hat. Why the devil didst not thou counsel me as well to hold an emerald or the stone of a hyaena under my tongue, or to furnish and provide myself with tongues of whoops, and hearts of green frogs, or to eat of the liver and milt of some dragon, to the end that by those means I might, at the chanting and chirping of swans and other fowls, understand the substance of my future lot and destiny, as did of old the Arabians in the country of Mesopotamia? Fifteen brace of devils seize upon the body and soul of this horned renegado, miscreant cuckold, the enchanter, witch, and sorcerer of Antichrist to all the devils of hell! Let us return towards our king. I am sure he will not be well pleased with us if he once come to get notice that we have been in the kennel of this muffled devil. I repent my being come hither. I would willingly dispense with a hundred nobles and fourteen yeomans, on condition that he who not long since did blow in the bottom of my breeches should instantly with his squirting spittle inluminate his moustaches. O Lord God now! how the villain hath besmoked me with vexation and anger, with charms and witchcraft, and with a terrible coil and stir of infernal and Tartarian devils! The devil take him! Say Amen, and let us go drink. I shall not have any appetite for my victuals, how good cheer soever I make, these two days to come — hardly these four.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/r/rabelais/francois/r11g/book3.25.html

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