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Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Sharon Hamilton was born in Canada, earned her PHD in Fall of a Sparrow (Odds Bodkin's Mysteries Book 1) Kindle Edition. by Sharon Hamilton (Author).
Table of contents
Whereunto in your opinion doth this little flourish of a preamble tend? For so much as you, my good disciples, and some other jolly fools of ease and leisure, reading the pleasant titles of some books of our invention, as Gargantua, Pantagruel, Whippot Fessepinte. But truly it is very unbeseeming to make so slight account of the works of men, seeing yourselves avouch that it is not the habit makes the monk, many being monasterially accoutred, who inwardly are nothing less than monachal, and that there are of those that wear Spanish capes, who have but little of the valour of Spaniards in them.
Therefore is it, that you must open the book, and seriously consider of the matter treated in it. Then shall you find that it containeth things of far higher value than the box did promise; that is to say, that the subject thereof is not so foolish as by the title at the first sight it would appear to be. And put the case, that in the literal sense you meet with purposes merry and solacious enough, and consequently very correspondent to their inscriptions, yet must not you stop there as at the melody of the charming syrens, but endeavour to interpret that in a sublimer sense which possibly you intended to have spoken in the jollity of your heart.
Did you ever pick the lock of a cupboard to steal a bottle of wine out of it? Tell me truly, and, if you did, call to mind the countenance which then you had. Or, did you ever see a dog with a marrowbone in his mouth,—the beast of all other, says Plato, lib.
If you have seen him, you might have remarked with what devotion and circumspectness he wards and watcheth it: with what care he keeps it: how fervently he holds it: how prudently he gobbets it: with what affection he breaks it: and with what diligence he sucks it. To what end all this? What moveth him to take all these pains? What are the hopes of his labour? What doth he expect to reap thereby? Nothing but a little marrow. True it is, that this little is more savoury and delicious than the great quantities of other sorts of meat, because the marrow as Galen testifieth, 5.
In imitation of this dog, it becomes you to be wise, to smell, feel and have in estimation these fair goodly books, stuffed with high conceptions, which, though seemingly easy in the pursuit, are in the cope and encounter somewhat difficult. And then, like him, you must, by a sedulous lecture, and frequent meditation, break the bone, and suck out the marrow,—that is, my allegorical sense, or the things I to myself propose to be signified by these Pythagorical symbols, with assured hope, that in so doing you will at last attain to be both well-advised and valiant by the reading of them: for in the perusal of this treatise you shall find another kind of taste, and a doctrine of a more profound and abstruse consideration, which will disclose unto you the most glorious sacraments and dreadful mysteries, as well in what concerneth your religion, as matters of the public state, and life economical.
Do you believe, upon your conscience, that Homer, whilst he was a-couching his Iliads and Odysses, had any thought upon those allegories, which Plutarch, Heraclides Ponticus, Eustathius, Cornutus squeezed out of him, and which Politian filched again from them? If you trust it, with neither hand nor foot do you come near to my opinion, which judgeth them to have been as little dreamed of by Homer, as the Gospel sacraments were by Ovid in his Metamorphoses, though a certain gulligut friar Frere Lubin croquelardon.
If you give no credit thereto, why do not you the same in these jovial new chronicles of mine? Albeit when I did dictate them, I thought upon no more than you, who possibly were drinking the whilst as I was. For in the composing of this lordly book, I never lost nor bestowed any more, nor any other time than what was appointed to serve me for taking of my bodily refection, that is, whilst I was eating and drinking. And indeed that is the fittest and most proper hour wherein to write these high matters and deep sciences: as Homer knew very well, the paragon of all philologues, and Ennius, the father of the Latin poets, as Horace calls him, although a certain sneaking jobernol alleged that his verses smelled more of the wine than oil.
So saith a turlupin or a new start-up grub of my books, but a turd for him.
The Luck of the Bodkins - Annotations
The fragrant odour of the wine, O how much more dainty, pleasant, laughing Riant, priant, friant. And I will glory as much when it is said of me, that I have spent more on wine than oil, as did Demosthenes, when it was told him, that his expense on oil was greater than on wine. I truly hold it for an honour and praise to be called and reputed a Frolic Gualter and a Robin Goodfellow; for under this name am I welcome in all choice companies of Pantagruelists.
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It was upbraided to Demosthenes by an envious surly knave, that his Orations did smell like the sarpler or wrapper of a foul and filthy oil-vessel. For this cause interpret you all my deeds and sayings in the perfectest sense; reverence the cheese-like brain that feeds you with these fair billevezees and trifling jollities, and do what lies in you to keep me always merry. Be frolic now, my lads, cheer up your hearts, and joyfully read the rest, with all the ease of your body and profit of your reins.
But hearken, joltheads, you viedazes, or dickens take ye, remember to drink a health to me for the like favour again, and I will pledge you instantly, Tout ares-metys.
Good friends, my Readers, who peruse this Book, Be not offended, whilst on it you look: Denude yourselves of all depraved affection, For it contains no badness, nor infection: 'Tis true that it brings forth to you no birth Of any value, but in point of mirth; Thinking therefore how sorrow might your mind Consume, I could no apter subject find; One inch of joy surmounts of grief a span; Because to laugh is proper to the man. I must refer you to the great chronicle of Pantagruel for the knowledge of that genealogy and antiquity of race by which Gargantua is come unto us.
In it you may understand more at large how the giants were born in this world, and how from them by a direct line issued Gargantua, the father of Pantagruel: and do not take it ill, if for this time I pass by it, although the subject be such, that the oftener it were remembered, the more it would please your worshipful Seniorias; according to which you have the authority of Plato in Philebo and Gorgias; and of Flaccus, who says that there are some kinds of purposes such as these are without doubt , which, the frequentlier they be repeated, still prove the more delectable.
Would to God everyone had as certain knowledge of his genealogy since the time of the ark of Noah until this age. I think many are at this day emperors, kings, dukes, princes, and popes on the earth, whose extraction is from some porters and pardon-pedlars; as, on the contrary, many are now poor wandering beggars, wretched and miserable, who are descended of the blood and lineage of great kings and emperors, occasioned, as I conceive it, by the transport and revolution of kingdoms and empires, from the Assyrians to the Medes, from the Medes to the Persians, from the Persians to the Macedonians, from the Macedonians to the Romans, from the Romans to the Greeks, from the Greeks to the French.
And to give you some hint concerning myself, who speaks unto you, I cannot think but I am come of the race of some rich king or prince in former times; for never yet saw you any man that had a greater desire to be a king, and to be rich, than I have, and that only that I may make good cheer, do nothing, nor care for anything, and plentifully enrich my friends, and all honest and learned men. But herein do I comfort myself, that in the other world I shall be so, yea and greater too than at this present I dare wish.
As for you, with the same or a better conceit consolate yourselves in your distresses, and drink fresh if you can come by it. To return to our wethers, I say that by the sovereign gift of heaven, the antiquity and genealogy of Gargantua hath been reserved for our use more full and perfect than any other except that of the Messias, whereof I mean not to speak; for it belongs not unto my purpose, and the devils, that is to say, the false accusers and dissembled gospellers, will therein oppose me. This genealogy was found by John Andrew in a meadow, which he had near the pole-arch, under the olive-tree, as you go to Narsay: where, as he was making cast up some ditches, the diggers with their mattocks struck against a great brazen tomb, and unmeasurably long, for they could never find the end thereof, by reason that it entered too far within the sluices of Vienne.
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Opening this tomb in a certain place thereof, sealed on the top with the mark of a goblet, about which was written in Etrurian letters Hic Bibitur, they found nine flagons set in such order as they use to rank their kyles in Gascony, of which that which was placed in the middle had under it a big, fat, great, grey, pretty, small, mouldy, little pamphlet, smelling stronger, but no better than roses. In that book the said genealogy was found written all at length, in a chancery hand, not in paper, not in parchment, nor in wax, but in the bark of an elm-tree, yet so worn with the long tract of time, that hardly could three letters together be there perfectly discerned.
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I though unworthy was sent for thither, and with much help of those spectacles, whereby the art of reading dim writings, and letters that do not clearly appear to the sight, is practised, as Aristotle teacheth it, did translate the book as you may see in your Pantagruelizing, that is to say, in drinking stiffly to your own heart's desire, and reading the dreadful and horrific acts of Pantagruel. At the end of the book there was a little treatise entitled the Antidoted Fanfreluches, or a Galimatia of extravagant conceits.
The rats and moths, or that I may not lie other wicked beasts, had nibbled off the beginning: the rest I have hereto subjoined, for the reverence I bear to antiquity. No sooner did the Cymbrians' overcomer Pass through the air to shun the dew of summer, But at his coming straight great tubs were fill'd, With pure fresh butter down in showers distill'd: Wherewith when water'd was his grandam, Hey, Aloud he cried, Fish it, sir, I pray y'; Because his beard is almost all beray'd; Or, that he would hold to 'm a scale, he pray'd.
To lick his slipper, some told was much better, Than to gain pardons, and the merit greater. In th' interim a crafty chuff approaches, From the depth issued, where they fish for roaches; Who said, Good sirs, some of them let us save, The eel is here, and in this hollow cave You'll find, if that our looks on it demur, A great waste in the bottom of his fur.
To read this chapter when he did begin, Nothing but a calf's horns were found therein; I feel, quoth he, the mitre which doth hold My head so chill, it makes my brains take cold. Being with the perfume of a turnip warm'd, To stay by chimney hearths himself he arm'd, Provided that a new thill-horse they made Of every person of a hair-brain'd head. They talked of the bunghole of Saint Knowles, Of Gilbathar and thousand other holes, If they might be reduced t' a scarry stuff, Such as might not be subject to the cough: Since ev'ry man unseemly did it find, To see them gaping thus at ev'ry wind: For, if perhaps they handsomely were closed, For pledges they to men might be exposed.
In this arrest by Hercules the raven Was flayed at her his return from Lybia haven. Why am not I, said Minos, there invited? Unless it be myself, not one's omitted: And then it is their mind, I do no more Of frogs and oysters send them any store: In case they spare my life and prove but civil, I give their sale of distaffs to the devil.
THE WYVERN MYSTERY.
To quell him comes Q. Run thither all of you, th' alarms sound clear, You shall have more than you had the last year. Short while thereafter was the bird of Jove Resolved to speak, though dismal it should prove; Yet was afraid, when he saw them in ire, They should o'erthrow quite flat down dead th' empire.
He rather choosed the fire from heaven to steal, To boats where were red herrings put to sale; Than to be calm 'gainst those, who strive to brave us, And to the Massorets' fond words enslave us. All this at last concluded gallantly, In spite of Ate and her hern-like thigh, Who, sitting, saw Penthesilea ta'en, In her old age, for a cress-selling quean.
Each one cried out, Thou filthy collier toad, Doth it become thee to be found abroad? Thou hast the Roman standard filch'd away, Which they in rags of parchment did display.
Juno was born, who, under the rainbow, Was a-bird-catching with her duck below: When her with such a grievous trick they plied That she had almost been bethwacked by it. The bargain was, that, of that throatful, she Should of Proserpina have two eggs free; And if that she thereafter should be found, She to a hawthorn hill should be fast bound. Seven months thereafter, lacking twenty-two, He, that of old did Carthage town undo, Did bravely midst them all himself advance, Requiring of them his inheritance; Although they justly made up the division, According to the shoe-welt-law's decision, By distributing store of brews and beef To these poor fellows that did pen the brief.
But th' year will come, sign of a Turkish bow, Five spindles yarn'd, and three pot-bottoms too, Wherein of a discourteous king the dock Shall pepper'd be under an hermit's frock.
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Cease, cease, this vizard may become another, Withdraw yourselves unto the serpent's brother. No rash nor heady prince shall then rule crave, Each good will its arbitrement shall have; And the joy, promised of old as doom To the heaven's guests, shall in its beacon come. Then shall the breeding mares, that benumb'd were, Like royal palfreys ride triumphant there. And this continue shall from time to time, Till Mars be fetter'd for an unknown crime; Then shall one come, who others will surpass, Delightful, pleasing, matchless, full of grace.
Cheer up your hearts, approach to this repast, All trusty friends of mine; for he's deceased, Who would not for a world return again, So highly shall time past be cried up then. He who was made of wax shall lodge each member Close by the hinges of a block of timber. We then no more shall Master, master, whoot, The swagger, who th' alarum bell holds out; Could one seize on the dagger which he bears, Heads would be free from tingling in the ears, To baffle the whole storehouse of abuses.
The thus farewell Apollo and the Muses. Grangousier was a good fellow in his time, and notable jester; he loved to drink neat, as much as any man that then was in the world, and would willingly eat salt meat. To this intent he was ordinarily well furnished with gammons of bacon, both of Westphalia, Mayence and Bayonne, with store of dried neat's tongues, plenty of links, chitterlings and puddings in their season; together with salt beef and mustard, a good deal of hard roes of powdered mullet called botargos, great provision of sausages, not of Bolonia for he feared the Lombard Boccone , but of Bigorre, Longaulnay, Brene, and Rouargue.
In the vigour of his age he married Gargamelle, daughter to the King of the Parpaillons, a jolly pug, and well-mouthed wench. These two did oftentimes do the two-backed beast together, joyfully rubbing and frotting their bacon 'gainst one another, in so far, that at last she became great with child of a fair son, and went with him unto the eleventh month; for so long, yea longer, may a woman carry her great belly, especially when it is some masterpiece of nature, and a person predestinated to the performance, in his due time, of great exploits. As Homer says, that the child, which Neptune begot upon the nymph, was born a whole year after the conception, that is, in the twelfth month.