Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 47

How Pantagruel and Panurge resolved to make a visit to the oracle of the holy bottle.

There is as yet another point, quoth Panurge, which you have not at all considered on, although it be the chief and principal head of the matter. He put the bottle in my hand and restored it me again. How interpret you that passage? What is the meaning of that? He possibly, quoth Pantagruel, signifieth thereby that your wife will be such a drunkard as shall daily take in her liquor kindly, and ply the pots and bottles apace. Quite otherwise, quoth Panurge; for the bottle was empty. I swear to you, by the prickling brambly thorn of St. Fiacre in Brie, that our unique morosoph, whom I formerly termed the lunatic Triboulet, referreth me, for attaining to the final resolution of my scruple, to the response-giving bottle. Therefore do I renew afresh the first vow which I made, and here in your presence protest and make oath, by Styx and Acheron, to carry still spectacles in my cap, and never to wear a codpiece in my breeches, until upon the enterprise in hand of my nuptial undertaking I shall have obtained an answer from the holy bottle. I am acquainted with a prudent, understanding, and discreet gentleman, and besides a very good friend of mine, who knoweth the land, country, and place where its temple and oracle is built and posited. He will guide and conduct us thither sure and safely. Let us go thither, I beseech you. Deny me not, and say not nay; reject not the suit I make unto you, I entreat you. I will be to you an Achates, a Damis, and heartily accompany you all along in the whole voyage, both in your going forth and coming back. I have of a long time known you to be a great lover of peregrination, desirous still to learn new things, and still to see what you had never seen before.

Very willingly, quoth Pantagruel, I condescend to your request. But before we enter in upon our progress towards the accomplishment of so far a journey, replenished and fraught with eminent perils, full of innumerable hazards, and every way stored with evident and manifest dangers — What dangers? quoth Panurge, interrupting him. Dangers fly back, run from, and shun me whithersoever I go, seven leagues around, as in the presence of the sovereign a subordinate magistracy is eclipsed; or as clouds and darkness quite evanish at the bright coming of a radiant sun; or as all sores and sicknesses did suddenly depart at the approach of the body of St. Martin a Quande. Nevertheless, quoth Pantagruel, before we adventure to set forwards on the road of our projected and intended voyage, some few points are to be discussed, expedited, and despatched. First, let us send back Triboulet to Blois. Which was instantly done, after that Pantagruel had given him a frieze coat. Secondly, our design must be backed with the advice and counsel of the king my father. And, lastly, it is most needful and expedient for us that we search for and find out some sibyl to serve us for a guide, truchman, and interpreter. To this Panurge made answer, that his friend Xenomanes would abundantly suffice for the plenary discharge and performance of the sibyl’s office; and that, furthermore, in passing through the Lanternatory revelling country, they should take along with them a learned and profitable Lanternesse, which would be no less useful to them in their voyage than was the sibyl to Aeneas in his descent to the Elysian fields. Carpalin, in the interim, as he was upon the conducting away of Triboulet, in his passing by hearkened a little to the discourse they were upon; then spoke out, saying, Ho, Panurge, master freeman, take my Lord Debitis at Calais alongst with you, for he is goud-fallot, a good fellow. He will not forget those who have been debitors; these are Lanternes. Thus shall you not lack for both fallot and lanterne. I may safely with the little skill I have, quoth Pantagruel, prognosticate that by the way we shall engender no melancholy. I clearly perceive it already. The only thing that vexeth me is, that I cannot speak the Lanternatory language. I shall, answered Panurge, speak for you all. I understand it every whit as well as I do mine own maternal tongue; I have been no less used to it than to the vulgar French.

Briszmarg dalgotbrick nubstzne zos.

Isquebsz prusq: albok crinqs zacbac.

Mizbe dilbarskz morp nipp stancz bos,

Strombtz, Panurge, walmap quost gruszbac.

Now guess, friend Epistemon, what this is. They are, quoth Epistemon, names of errant devils, passant devils, and rampant devils. These words of thine, dear friend of mine, are true, quoth Panurge; yet are they terms used in the language of the court of the Lanternish people. By the way, as we go upon our journey, I will make to thee a pretty little dictionary, which, notwithstanding, shall not last you much longer than a pair of new shoes. Thou shalt have learned it sooner than thou canst perceive the dawning of the next subsequent morning. What I have said in the foregoing tetrastich is thus translated out of the Lanternish tongue into our vulgar dialect:

All miseries attended me, whilst I

A lover was, and had no good thereby.

Of better luck the married people tell;

Panurge is one of those, and knows it well.

There is little more, then, quoth Pantagruel, to be done, but that we understand what the will of the king my father will be therein, and purchase his consent.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/r/rabelais/francois/r11g/book3.47.html

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