Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 27

How Friar John merrily and sportingly counselleth Panurge.

By Saint Rigomet, quoth Friar John, I do advise thee to nothing, my dear friend Panurge, which I would not do myself were I in thy place. Only have a special care, and take good heed thou solder well together the joints of the double-backed and two-bellied beast, and fortify thy nerves so strongly, that there be no discontinuance in the knocks of the venerean thwacking, else thou art lost, poor soul. For if there pass long intervals betwixt the priapizing feats, and that thou make an intermission of too large a time, that will befall thee which betides the nurses if they desist from giving suck to children — they lose their milk; and if continually thou do not hold thy aspersory tool in exercise, and keep thy mentul going, thy lacticinian nectar will be gone, and it will serve thee only as a pipe to piss out at, and thy cods for a wallet of lesser value than a beggar’s scrip. This is a certain truth I tell thee, friend, and doubt not of it; for myself have seen the sad experiment thereof in many, who cannot now do what they would, because before they did not what they might have done: Ex desuetudine amittuntur privilegia. Non-usage oftentimes destroys one’s right, say the learned doctors of the law; therefore, my billy, entertain as well as possibly thou canst that hypogastrian lower sort of troglodytic people, that their chief pleasure may be placed in the case of sempiternal labouring. Give order that henceforth they live not, like idle gentlemen, idly upon their rents and revenues, but that they may work for their livelihood by breaking ground within the Paphian trenches. Nay truly, answered Panurge, Friar John, my left ballock, I will believe thee, for thou dealest plain with me, and fallest downright square upon the business, without going about the bush with frivolous circumstances and unnecessary reservations. Thou with the splendour of a piercing wit hast dissipated all the lowering clouds of anxious apprehensions and suspicions which did intimidate and terrify me; therefore the heavens be pleased to grant to thee at all she-conflicts a stiff-standing fortune. Well then, as thou hast said, so will I do; I will, in good faith, marry — in that point there shall be no failing, I promise thee — and shall have always by me pretty girls clothed with the name of my wife’s waiting-maids, that, lying under thy wings, thou mayest be night-protector of their sisterhood.

Let this serve for the first part of the sermon. Hearken, quoth Friar John, to the oracle of the bells of Varenes. What say they? I hear and understand them, quoth Panurge; their sound is, by my thirst, more uprightly fatidical than that of Jove’s great kettles in Dodona. Hearken! Take thee a wife, take thee a wife, and marry, marry, marry; for if thou marry, thou shalt find good therein, herein, here in a wife thou shalt find good; so marry, marry. I will assure thee that I shall be married; all the elements invite and prompt me to it. Let this word be to thee a brazen wall, by diffidence not to be broken through. As for the second part of this our doctrine — thou seemest in some measure to mistrust the readiness of my paternity in the practising of my placket-racket within the Aphrodisian tennis-court at all times fitting, as if the stiff god of gardens were not favourable to me. I pray thee, favour me so much as to believe that I still have him at a beck, attending always my commandments, docile, obedient, vigorous, and active in all things and everywhere, and never stubborn or refractory to my will or pleasure. I need no more but to let go the reins, and slacken the leash, which is the belly-point, and when the game is shown unto him, say, Hey, Jack, to thy booty! he will not fail even then to flesh himself upon his prey, and tuzzle it to some purpose. Hereby you may perceive, although my future wife were as unsatiable and gluttonous in her voluptuousness and the delights of venery as ever was the Empress Messalina, or yet the Marchioness (of Oincester) in England, and I desire thee to give credit to it, that I lack not for what is requisite to overlay the stomach of her lust, but have wherewith aboundingly to please her. I am not ignorant that Solomon said, who indeed of that matter speaketh clerklike and learnedly — as also how Aristotle after him declared for a truth that, for the greater part, the lechery of a woman is ravenous and unsatisfiable. Nevertheless, let such as are my friends who read those passages receive from me for a most real verity, that I for such a Jill have a fit Jack; and that, if women’s things cannot be satiated, I have an instrument indefatigable — an implement as copious in the giving as can in craving be their vade mecums. Do not here produce ancient examples of the paragons of paillardice, and offer to match with my testiculatory ability the Priapaean prowess of the fabulous fornicators, Hercules, Proculus Caesar, and Mahomet, who in his Alkoran doth vaunt that in his cods he had the vigour of three score bully ruffians; but let no zealous Christian trust the rogue — the filthy ribald rascal is a liar. Nor shalt thou need to urge authorities, or bring forth the instance of the Indian prince of whom Theophrastus, Plinius, and Athenaeus testify, that with the help of a certain herb he was able, and had given frequent experiments thereof, to toss his sinewy piece of generation in the act of carnal concupiscence above three score and ten times in the space of four-and-twenty hours. Of that I believe nothing, the number is supposititious, and too prodigally foisted in. Give no faith unto it, I beseech thee, but prithee trust me in this, and thy credulity therein shall not be wronged, for it is true, and probatum est, that my pioneer of nature — the sacred ithyphallian champion — is of all stiff-intruding blades the primest. Come hither, my ballocket, and hearken. Didst thou ever see the monk of Castre’s cowl? When in any house it was laid down, whether openly in the view of all or covertly out of the sight of any, such was the ineffable virtue thereof for excitating and stirring up the people of both sexes unto lechery, that the whole inhabitants and indwellers, not only of that, but likewise of all the circumjacent places thereto, within three leagues around it, did suddenly enter into rut, both beasts and folks, men and women, even to the dogs and hogs, rats and cats.

I swear to thee that many times heretofore I have perceived and found in my codpiece a certain kind of energy or efficacious virtue much more irregular and of a greater anomaly than what I have related. I will not speak to thee either of house or cottage, nor of church or market, but only tell thee, that once at the representation of the Passion, which was acted at Saint Maxents, I had no sooner entered within the pit of the theatre, but that forthwith, by the virtue and occult property of it, on a sudden all that were there, both players and spectators, did fall into such an exorbitant temptation of lust, that there was not angel, man, devil, nor deviless upon the place who would not then have bricollitched it with all their heart and soul. The prompter forsook his copy, he who played Michael’s part came down to rights, the devils issued out of hell and carried along with them most of the pretty little girls that were there; yea, Lucifer got out of his fetters; in a word, seeing the huge disorder, I disparked myself forth of that enclosed place, in imitation of Cato the Censor, who perceiving, by reason of his presence, the Floralian festivals out of order, withdrew himself.

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