How we took our leave of Bacbuc, and left the Oracle of the Holy Bottle.
Do not trouble yourself about anything here, said the priestess to the friar; if you be but satisfied, we are. Here below, in these circumcentral regions, we place the sovereign good, not in taking and receiving, but in bestowing and giving; so that we esteem ourselves happy, not if we take and receive much of others, as perhaps the sects of teachers do in your world, but rather if we impart and give much. All I have to beg of you is that you leave us here your names in writing, in this ritual. She then opened a fine large book, and as we gave our names one of her mystagogues with a gold pin drew some lines on it, as if she had been writing; but we could not see any characters.
This done, she filled three glasses with fantastic water, and giving them into our hands, said, Now, my friends, you may depart, and may that intellectual sphere whose centre is everywhere and circumference nowhere, whom we call GOD, keep you in his almighty protection. When you come into your world, do not fail to affirm and witness that the greatest treasures and most admirable things are hidden underground, and not without reason.
Ceres was worshipped because she taught mankind the art of husbandry, and by the use of corn, which she invented, abolished that beastly way of feeding on acorns; and she grievously lamented her daughter’s banishment into our subterranean regions, certainly foreseeing that Proserpine would meet with more excellent things, more desirable enjoyments, below, than she her mother could be blessed with above.
What do you think is become of the art of forcing the thunder and celestial fire down, which the wise Prometheus had formerly invented? ’Tis most certain you have lost it; ’tis no more on your hemisphere; but here below we have it. And without a cause you sometimes wonder to see whole towns burned and destroyed by lightning and ethereal fire, and are at a loss about knowing from whom, by whom, and to what end those dreadful mischiefs were sent. Now, they are familiar and useful to us; and your philosophers who complain that the ancients have left them nothing to write of or to invent, are very much mistaken. Those phenomena which you see in the sky, whatever the surface of the earth affords you, and the sea, and every river contain, is not to be compared with what is hid within the bowels of the earth.
For this reason the subterranean ruler has justly gained in almost every language the epithet of rich. Now when your sages shall wholly apply their minds to a diligent and studious search after truth, humbly begging the assistance of the sovereign God, whom formerly the Egyptians in their language called The Hidden and the Concealed, and invoking him by that name, beseech him to reveal and make himself known to them, that Almighty Being will, out of his infinite goodness, not only make his creatures, but even himself known to them.
Thus will they be guided by good lanterns. For all the ancient philosophers and sages have held two things necessary safely and pleasantly to arrive at the knowledge of God and true wisdom; first, God’s gracious guidance, then man’s assistance.
So, among the philosophers, Zoroaster took Arimaspes for the companion of his travels; Aesculapius, Mercury; Orpheus, Musaeus; Pythagoras, Aglaophemus; and, among princes and warriors, Hercules in his most difficult achievements had his singular friend Theseus; Ulysses, Diomedes; Aeneas, Achates. You followed their examples, and came under the conduct of an illustrious lantern. Now, in God’s name depart, and may he go along with you!
The End of the Fifth Book of the heroic deeds and sayings of the Noble Pantagruel.
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University of Adelaide
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Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:54