Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 19

What countenances Panurge and Friar John kept during the storm.

Pantagruel, having first implored the help of the great and Almighty Deliverer, and prayed publicly with fervent devotion, by the pilot’s advice held tightly the mast of the ship. Friar John had stripped himself to his waistcoat, to help the seamen. Epistemon, Ponocrates, and the rest did as much. Panurge alone sat on his breech upon deck, weeping and howling. Friar John espied him going on the quarter-deck, and said to him, Odzoons! Panurge the calf, Panurge the whiner, Panurge the brayer, would it not become thee much better to lend us here a helping hand than to lie lowing like a cow, as thou dost, sitting on thy stones like a bald-breeched baboon? Be, be, be, bous, bous, bous, returned Panurge; Friar John, my friend, my good father, I am drowning, my dear friend! I drown! I am a dead man, my dear father in God; I am a dead man, my friend; your cutting hanger cannot save me from this; alas! alas! we are above ela. Above the pitch, out of tune, and off the hinges. Be, be, be, bou, bous. Alas! we are now above g sol re ut. I sink, I sink, ha, my father, my uncle, my all. The water is got into my shoes by the collar; bous, bous, bous, paish, hu, hu, hu, he, he, he, ha, ha, I drown. Alas! alas! Hu, hu, hu, hu, hu, hu, hu, be, be, bous, bous, bobous, bobous, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, alas! alas! Now I am like your tumblers, my feet stand higher than my head. Would to heaven I were now with those good holy fathers bound for the council whom we met this morning, so godly, so fat, so merry, so plump and comely. Holos, bolos, holas, holas, alas! This devilish wave (mea culpa Deus), I mean this wave of God, will sink our vessel. Alas! Friar John, my father, my friend, confession. Here I am down on my knees; confiteor; your holy blessing. Come hither and be damned, thou pitiful devil, and help us, said Friar John (who fell a-swearing and cursing like a tinker), in the name of thirty legions of black devils, come; will you come? Do not let us swear at this time, said Panurge; holy father, my friend, do not swear, I beseech you; to-morrow as much as you please. Holos, holos, alas! our ship leaks. I drown, alas, alas! I will give eighteen hundred thousand crowns to anyone that will set me on shore, all berayed and bedaubed as I am now. If ever there was a man in my country in the like pickle. Confiteor, alas! a word or two of testament or codicil at least. A thousand devils seize the cuckoldy cow-hearted mongrel, cried Friar John. Ods-belly, art thou talking here of making thy will now we are in danger, and it behoveth us to bestir our stumps lustily, or never? Wilt thou come, ho devil? Midshipman, my friend; O the rare lieutenant; here Gymnast, here on the poop. We are, by the mass, all beshit now; our light is out. This is hastening to the devil as fast as it can. Alas, bou, bou, bou, bou, bou, alas, alas, alas, alas! said Panurge; was it here we were born to perish? Oh! ho! good people, I drown, I die. Consummatum est. I am sped — Magna, gna, gna, said Friar John. Fie upon him, how ugly the shitten howler looks. Boy, younker, see hoyh. Mind the pumps or the devil choke thee. Hast thou hurt thyself? Zoons, here fasten it to one of these blocks. On this side, in the devil’s name, hay — so, my boy. Ah, Friar John, said Panurge, good ghostly father, dear friend, don’t let us swear, you sin. Oh, ho, oh, ho, be be be bous, bous, bhous, I sink, I die, my friends. I die in charity with all the world. Farewell, in manus. Bohus bohous, bhousowauswaus. St. Michael of Aure! St. Nicholas! now, now or never, I here make you a solemn vow, and to our Saviour, that if you stand by me this time, I mean if you set me ashore out of this danger, I will build you a fine large little chapel or two, between Quande and Montsoreau, where neither cow nor calf shall feed. Oh ho, oh ho. Above eighteen pailfuls or two of it are got down my gullet; bous, bhous, bhous, bhous, how damned bitter and salt it is! By the virtue, said Friar John, of the blood, the flesh, the belly, the head, if I hear thee again howling, thou cuckoldy cur, I’ll maul thee worse than any sea-wolf. Ods-fish, why don’t we take him up by the lugs and throw him overboard to the bottom of the sea? Hear, sailor; ho, honest fellow. Thus, thus, my friend, hold fast above. In truth, here is a sad lightning and thundering; I think that all the devils are got loose; it is holiday with them; or else Madame Proserpine is in child’s labour: all the devils dance a morrice.

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