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1552 __ « Le Quart Livre – Les Paroles Gelées » — Frozen words
‣ In Gargantua and Pantagruel, Complete. Five Books Of The Lives, Heroic Deeds And Sayings Of Gargantua And His Son Pantagruel''.'' The Fourth Book/Chapter LV and Chapter LVI
François Rabelais (ca 1490-1553)
Original excerpt 1 : « Chapter LV - HOW PANTAGRUEL, BEING AT SEA, HEARD VARIOUS UNFROZEN WORDS.When we were at sea, junketting, tippling, discoursing, and telling stories, Pantagruel rose and stood up to look out; then asked us, Do you hear nothing, gentlemen? Methinks I hear some people talking in the air, yet I can see nobody. Hark! According to his command we listened, and with full ears sucked in the air as some of you suck oysters, to find if we could hear some sound scattered through the sky; and to lose none of it, like the Emperor Antoninus some of us laid their hands hollow next to their ears; but all this would not do, nor could we hear any voice. Yet Pantagruel continued to assure us he heard various voices in the air, some of men, and some of women. At last we began to fancy that we also heard something, or at least that our ears tingled; and the more we listened, the plainer we discerned the voices, so as to distinguish articulate sounds. This mightily frightened us, and not without cause; since we could see nothing, yet heard such various sounds and voices of men, women, children, horses, &c., insomuch that Panurge cried out, Cods-belly, there is no fooling with the devil; we are all beshit, let's fly. There is some ambuscado hereabouts. Friar John, art thou here my love? I pray thee, stay by me, old boy. Hast thou got thy swindging tool? See that it do not stick in thy scabbard; thou never scourest it half as it should be. We are undone. Hark! They are guns, gad judge me. Let's fly, I do not say with hands and feet, as Brutus said at the battle of Pharsalia; I say, with sails and oars. Let's whip it away. I never find myself to have a bit of courage at sea; in cellars and elsewhere I have more than enough. Let's fly and save our bacon. I do not say this for any fear that I have; for I dread nothing but danger, that I don't; I always say it that shouldn't. Pantagruel, hearing the sad outcry which Panurge made, said, Who talks of flying? Let's first see who they are; perhaps they may be friends. I can discover nobody yet, though I can see a hundred miles round me. But let's consider a little. I have read that a philosopher named Petron was of opinion that there were several worlds that touched each other in an equilateral triangle; in whose centre, he said, was the dwelling of truth; and that the words, ideas, copies, and images of all things past and to come resided there; round which was the age; and that with success of time part of them used to fall on mankind like rheums and mildews, just as the dew fell on Gideon's fleece, till the age was fulfilled. I also remember, continued he, that Aristotle affirms Homer's words to be flying, moving, and consequently animated. Besides, Antiphanes said that Plato's philosophy was like words which, being spoken in some country during a hard winter, are immediately congealed, frozen up, and not heard; for what Plato taught young lads could hardly be understood by them when they were grown old. Now, continued he, we should philosophize and search whether this be not the place where those words are thawed. You would wonder very much should this be the head and lyre of Orpheus. When the Thracian women had torn him to pieces they threw his head and lyre into the river Hebrus, down which they floated to the Euxine sea as far as the island of Lesbos; the head continually uttering a doleful song, as it were lamenting the death of Orpheus, and the lyre, with the wind's impulse moving its strings and harmoniously accompanying the voice. Let's see if we cannot discover them hereabouts.Chapter LVI - HOW AMONG THE FROZEN WORDS PANTAGRUEL FOUND SOME ODD ONES.The skipper made answer: Be not afraid, my lord; we are on the confines of the Frozen Sea, on which, about the beginning of last winter, happened a great and bloody fight between the Arimaspians and the Nephelibates. Then the words and cries of men and women, the hacking, slashing, and hewing of battle-axes, the shocking, knocking, and jolting of armours and harnesses, the neighing of horses, and all other martial din and noise, froze in the air; and now, the rigour of the winter being over, by the succeeding serenity and warmth of the weather they melt and are heard. By jingo, quoth Panurge, the man talks somewhat like. I believe him. But couldn't we see some of 'em? I think I have read that, on the edge of the mountain on which Moses received the Judaic law, the people saw the voices sensibly. Here, here, said Pantagruel, here are some that are not yet thawed. He then threw us on the deck whole handfuls of frozen words, which seemed to us like your rough sugar-plums, of many colours, like those used in heraldry; some words gules (this means also jests and merry sayings), some vert, some azure, some black, some or (this means also fair words); and when we had somewhat warmed them between our hands, they melted like snow, and we really heard them, but could not understand them, for it was a barbarous gibberish. One of them only, that was pretty big, having been warmed between Friar John's hands, gave a sound much like that of chestnuts when they are thrown into the fire without being first cut, which made us all start. This was the report of a field-piece in its time, cried Friar John. [...] However, he threw three or four handfuls of them on the deck; among which I perceived some very sharp words, and some bloody words, which the pilot said used sometimes to go back and recoil to the place whence they came, but it was with a slit weasand. We also saw some terrible words, and some others not very pleasant to the eye. When they had been all melted together, we heard a strange noise, hin, hin, hin, hin, his, tick, tock, taack, bredelinbrededack, frr, frr, frr, bou, bou, bou, bou, bou, bou, bou, bou, track, track, trr, trr, trr, trrr, trrrrrr, on, on, on, on, on, on, ououououon, gog, magog, and I do not know what other barbarous words, which the pilot said were the noise made by the charging squadrons, the shock and neighing of horses. Then we heard some large ones go off like drums and fifes, and others like clarions and trumpets. [...] » (Translated into English by Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty and Peter Antony Motteux.)
Original excerpt 2 : « Livre IV, Chap. LV - fabulae LXXXIX - VOCES FRIGORE CONCRETÆ - En pleine mer nous bancquetants, gringnotants, devisants et faisants beaulx et courts discours, Pantagruel se leva et tint en pieds pour discouvrir a l’environ. Puis nous dist: " Compaignons, oyez vous rien ? Me semble que je oy quelcques gents parlants en l’aer, je n’y voy toutesfoys personne. Escoutez." A son commandement nous feusmes attentifs, et a pleines aureilles humions l’aer, comme belles huistres en escalle, pour entendre si voix ou son aulcun y seroyt éspars : et pour rien n'en perdre, a l'exemple de Antonin l'empereur, aulcuns opossions nos mains en paulme derriere les aureilles. Ce neanmoins protestions voix quelconques n'entendre. Panragruel continuoyt, affermant ouyr voix diverses en l'aer, tant de hommes comme de femmes, quand nous feut advis, ou que nous les oyons pareillement, ou que les aureilles nous cornoyent. Plus perseverions escoutants, plus discernions les voix, jusques a entendre mots entiers. Ce que nous effraya grandement, et non sans cause, personne ne voyant, et entendant voix et sons tant divers, d'hommes, de femmes, d'enfans, de chevaulx : si bien que Panurge s'escria : Ventre bieu ! est ce mocque ? nous sommes perdus. Fuyons. il y ha embusche autour : Frere Jean, es tu la, mon amy ? Tien toy pres de moy, je te supplie. As tu ton bragmart ? Advise qu'il ne tienne au fourreau. Tu ne le desrouilles poinct a demy. Nous sommes perdus. Escoutez : ce sont par dieu coups de canon. Fuyons. Je ne dis de pieds et de mains, comme disoyt Brutus en la bataille pharsalicque : je dis a voiles et a rames. Fuyons. Je n'ay poinct de couraige sus mer. En cave et ailleurs j'en ay tant et plus. Fuyons. Saulvons nous. Je ne le dis pour paour que je aye. Car je ne crains rien fors les dangiers. Je le dis toujours. [...] Paradventure sont ils nostres. Encores ne voys je personne. Et si voy cent mille a l'entour. Mais entendons. J'ay leu qu'ung philosophe nommé Petron estoyt en ceste opinion que feussent plusieurs mondes soy touchant les ungs les aultres, en figure trinagulaire equilaterale, en la pate et centre desquels disoyt estre le manoir de la verité, et la habiter les parolles, les idees, les exemplaires et pourtraicts de toutes choses passees et futures : autour d'icelles estre le siecle. Et en certaines annees, par longs intervalles, part d'icelles tumber comme catarrhes, et comme tumba la rousee sus la toison de Gedeon : par la rester reservee pour l'advenir jusques a la consommation du siecle. Me soubvient aussy que Aristoteles maintient les parolles d'Homere estre voltigeantes, volantes, moventes, et par consequent animees. D'advantaige Antiphanes disoyt la doctrine de Platon es parolles estre semblable, lesquelles en quelcque contree on temps du fort hyver, lors que sont proferees, gelent et glassent a la froideur de l'aer, et ne sont ouves. Semblablement ce que Platon enseignoyt es jeunes enfans, a peine estre d'iceulx entendu, lorsque estoyent vieulx devenus. Ores seroyt a philosopher et rechercher si forte fortune icy seroyt l'endroict, onquel telles parolles degelent. Nous serions bien esbahis si c'estoyent les teste et lyre de Orpheus. [...] Livre IV, Chap. LVI - COMMENT ENTRE LES PAROLLES GELEES PANTAGRUEL TROUVA DES MOTS DE GUEULE -. » ([...] Le pilot feit response : Seigneur, de rien ne vous effrayez. Icy est le confin de la mer Glaciale, sus laquelle feut au commencement de l'hyver dernier passé grosse et felonne bataille, entre les Arimaspiens et les Nephelibates. Lors gelarent en l')
Source : Rabelais, François (1552), from the first edition (1653) of Sir Urquhart, “The Works of Mr. Francis Rabelais, Doctor in Physik. containing five books of the lives, heroick deeds and sayings of Gargantua and his sonne Pantagruel”, London, 1653) and Motteux’s rendering of Book IV (1708), Vol. 2, pp 356-358 in the new edition revised, and with additional notes by Du Chat, Motteux, Ozell and others, London : Henry G. Bohn, York Street, Covent Garden, 1864 (Print copy of The Harvard University).
Source : Rabelais, François (1552), Original excerpt from Livre IV, Chap. LV - fabulae LXXXIX - VOCES FRIGORE CONCRETÆ, pp. 80-84, and from Livre IV, Chap. LVI - Comment entre les parolles gelees Pantagruel trouva des mots de gueule, pp. 86-91, In “Œuvres de Rabelais”, Édition variorum, avec des remarques de Le Duchat, de Bernier, de Le Motteux, de l’Abbé de Marsy, de Voltaire, de Ginguené, etc., Tome Septième, “Commentaire historique - Livre IV, Chapitre LV, Dalibon Libraire, Paris, Palais Royal, Galerie de Nemours, Imprimerie Jules Didot aîné, imprimeur du roi, Rue du Pont-de-Lodi, n°6, MDCCCXXIII, 1823.

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