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brought the whole convent into public scandal | I., as to sanction the burning of suspected
- brother Rabelais was condemned by the heretics in the streets of Paris. According conventual chapter to the terrible punishment ly, there was a temporary cessation of all overt called in pace--that is, to perpetual imprison- demonstration of opinion, or of Lutheran ment, on bread and water, in a subterranean collusion, if any such existed, on the part of cell. It was not so easy, however, thus to our ex-monk and his friends. The Bishop of dispose of a man whose abilities and learning, Maillezais and the Du Bellays jogged on as in spite of any faults he may have had as politic men in office, that could keep their regarded faith or morals, had already pro- thoughts to themselves; Clement Marot, a cured him some local reputation—a man that prosecution for eating bacon in Lent hanging knew Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and had over him, continued to write popular verses ; Budæus and bishops for his friends. The the noble Calvin calmly pursued his peculiar whole neighborhood of Fontenay-le-Comte way as a laborious student, whom a high rose in his favor; and by the exertions of destiny awaited; and Rabelais, a runaway certain influential individuals, among whom monk, with forty-eight years of his life gone, was André Tiraqueau, lieutenant-general of and the world yet before him, resolved, as the district, and Geoffroi d'Estissac, bishop we have seen, to study medicine. of the see of Maillezais in the same province The memory of Rabelais is sacred in Montof Poitou, not only was Rabelais released pellier to this day. For many years after from his durance, but a papal indulgence his death, the red gown which he had worn was procured enabling him to quit his monas- when a student, was carefully preserved ; tery altogether, and, in spite of his former and, by way of ceremony, every medical puvows as a Franciscan, enter the aforesaid pil at the university was invested with it on bishop's own chapter, the Abbey of Maille- passing his fifth examination. The ceremozais, of the wealthy and scholarly order of ny is still kept up; but the real gown has St. Benedict. Even this change of situation, twice been replaced by a substitute. Achowever, did not satisfy him ; and it was not cording to the tradition, this custom is comlong before, assuming the habit of a secular memorative not merely of the fact that priest, and so renouncing all monastic re- Rabelias studied at the university, but also straint, he decamped from the abbey without of a signal service that he rendered it, in proleave, and became once more a denizen of the curing, under very difficult circumstances, common world. The Bishop of Maillezais, and by a very jocose stratagem, the restoraone of those easy semi-Lutheran prelates tion of certain privileges that had been withthat then abounded, winked at this act of his drawn from it by Chancellor Duprat. All protege ; and for several years the ex-monk that is certain, however, is that Rabelias relived and went about with him as his friend mained at the university about two years; and secretary. It was at this time and in that he obtained a bachelor's degree in medthis situation that he became connected with icine; that he led what might be called a Clement Marot, Etienne Dolet, Antoine merry life for a man verging on fifty-acting Heroet, Hugues Salel, Bonaventure des plays and farces with his fellow-students; Periers, and other distinguished literary scep- and that, on leaving Montpellier for Lyons, tics of the day, in all of whom, sympathy in 1532, he carried with him a real knowlwith at least the negative side of the Lutheran edge of what was then taught as physic, as movement was tolerably apparent; as well well as a full title to practice it. as with the four celebrated brothers Du Settled at Lyons, whither he was probaBellay, who, though all high civic or ecclesi- bly led by the instances of his friend Dolet, astical functionaries, were yet all more or less his first occupation was to edit two medical Lutheran in their sentiments. There is even works—the one consisting of Letters of an ground for supposing, that about the same Italian physician, named Manardi, and the period, he met and formed some slight ac- other of revised Latin versions of certain quaintance with Calvin, then a mere youth, treatises of Hippocrates and Galen. These but already known, like himself, as a pro- works, however, did not sell. Two other found Greek scholar. In 1530, however, the productions, of an erudite literary character, mixed party of wits, scholars, and public were equally unsuccessful; and, as the commen, that seemed thus to be forming itself mon story goes, it was to make up to his as a Lutheran, or semi-Lutheran, element in publisher, Gryphius, the losses he had sus-French society, found cause for prudence, tained by undertaking them, that Rebelias if not for alarm; persecution having assumed resolved to attempt something in a more popso decided a form in the counsels of Francis I ular vein. · The result was the publication in the same year of a mock tale of chivalry en- | found out the natural bent of his genius, astitled, Chronique Gargantuine, or more fully, certained that he was a born satirist, and all“ The great and inestimable Chronicles of the irreverent jester. A somewhat odd discovgreat and enormous Giant Gargantua, conery to be made so late, and after such varied taining his genealogy, the greatness and force premises! To have become a priest ; to of his body, as well as the marvelous feats of have spent thirteen years in a convent of arms that he did for King Artus; as see here- beggarly ignoramuses ; to have learnt Latin, after, newly printed.” Of this slipshod per- Greek, and Hebrew, and otherwise pursued formance, doubtless written currente calamo, knowledge under difficulties; to have been and, as the author says, “ during the time once all but starved to death in a mouldy allotted to eating and drinking," there were cellar; to have changed one monkish order sold, he
says, “more copies in two months for another; to have been secretary to a than were sold of the Bible in nine years." bishop; to have kept company with distinNo time was, therefore, lost in bringing out guished scholars and wits ; to have seen and a second edition of the same, greatly altered talked with young Calvin; to have studied and enlarged; and in following it up in 1533 medicine, and edited heavy medical books; with a sequel, or continuation, under the and then, at last, in his fiftieth year, to find name, “ Pantagruel; the horrible and as- out, by mere chance, that, after all, he was tounding feats and prowesses of the very re- nothing else than what he had been at firstnowned Pantagruel, King of the Dipsodes, a village innkeeper's son, making fun every son of the great giant Gargantua ; newly com- morning with the hostlers at his father's posed by Alcofribas Nasier." This produc- door; listening every night to snatches of tion, which forms the second book of the song, broad jests, and roars of tipsy laughter works of Rabelais, as they now stand, is in from the tap-room; and au fait (the kitchen reality the parent of the other four books, being his own) in all the mysteries of cooked nothing being contained in them that does and preserved meats ! Such, however, was not grow out of it necessarily or otherwise. the fact of the case. What Rabelais was at The author, in passing from the Chronique, the last, he was in embryo while a boy about which he had thrown off so hastily, to this his father's inn at Chinon. Take, for examsecond work, or sequel, had evidently en-ple, the opening passage of the Prologue to larged the design of his fiction, and deter- his Fourth Book : mined to give it a new character. Accordingly, while he retains in the Pantagruel a great « Good people, God save and keep you! Where deal of the absurd machinery of the Chro- are you? I can't see you. Wait till I put on nique, making his hero a giant, and everything my spectacles. Ha, ha !--soft and fair goes about him gigantesque, it is clear that he no
Lent; I see you. Well, you have had a good
I am not a bit vexed at it. longer aims at a mere boisterous parody of vintage, they tell me.
You have found an infallible cure against all the legends of giants and enchantments, that
weather changes. 'Tis bravely done. You, then formed the staple popular literature of your wives, children, friends, and families, are in Europe. Merlin, King Arthur, Gog, Magog, as good health as hearts could wish. It is well, and other similar personages, that had figur- it is good; it is as I would have it. God be praised in the Chronique, are disbanded; and ed for it; and, if it be his sacred will, long may Pantagruel, the gigantic son of the giant you be kept so. Gargantua, moves on through a very differ- kindness, I am there and thereabouts; and by the ent world from that to which his father had know, a certain jollity of spirit pickled in the
means of a little Pantagruelism (which is, as you belonged. Paris, and the whole contempo- scorn of fortune), you see me now hale and rary French world, that Rabelais himself cheery, as sound as a bell, and ready to drink, if knew, rise distinctly before one; and the you will." author, descending like a licensed jester among real things and events, riots in uni- What have we here but the salutation of a versal allusion and invective. The transition country innkeeper to his customers on a maris somewhat, though not entirely, as if from ket-day? We seem to see old Thomas Rabepenning The Adventures of Jack the Giant lais, a ruddy, jovial soul, with plenty to say, Killer, one had passed to the composition of and genius in the very wink of his eye, standthe Voyaye to Brobdignag. Fancy does not ing under his own sign of the Lamprey, and yet succumb, indeed, so as to play only a welcoming his guests in his bantering way, his second part; but purpose and savage intent first-born chewing a straw, and sympathetiare everywhere visible.
cally looking on." And so you mean to make Rabelais had thus discovered his true vein, that boy of yours a priest, Master Rabelais ?"
we may farther fancy some crony of his say- , and his publication of Pantagruel in his fifing to him : “ Take my word for it, he is tieth year, had doubtless been by no means fitter to ride horses, and fire off damp gun- a mere continuity of serious study. To say powder.” And Gaffer Jacques would have nothing of unseemly bursts of laughter, been right. After forty weary years, the with which even a Franciscan convent must boy that his father, by the advice of some have rung whilst a Rabelais was within its neighboring Benedictine, had destined to walls, could humor like his have passed the the priesthood, had but come round again to ordeal of a bishop's table, with the Marots his pristine nature; not, however, without and Heroets of the day among the guests, difference or advantage, resulting from so and not betrayed its infinity by flashes ? Not long a circuit. Betting aside the mere fact the consciousness of being a humorist, then, of acquisitions gained, whereby what in was wanting to Rabelais, but the idea of Thomas Rabelais had been but village gossip, bringing forth his humor in vernacular became in his son matter and faculty to make printed sheets, instead of lavishing it in mere a nation laugh, had not that “certain jollity talk with learned acquaintances. And this, of spirit,” which Rabelais the younger had we have seen, came almost by chance. His doubtless inherited from his father, to be pre- medical books will not sell; forth with he viously “pickled,” as he says himself
, " in protests, in a kind of jesting rage, that the scorn of fortune," ere it could be elabor- | public shall buy something of his; and to ated into perfect Pantagruelism. We do redeem this pledge, he sits down, and scribnot question it. Jovial and satiric from the bles off the Chronique Gargantuire—exactly first, his joviality had to be tempered and such a farrago of fun and rubbish as one of hardened, and his satiric humor had to ac- those coarsely printed curiosities that, some cumulate for itself store of appropriate ma- twenty or thirty years ago, packmen used to terial, ere the result could be anything dura- sell at fairs to country people. He has hit ble or considerable. To this, therefore, the the mark; the book is bought up; a second vicissitudes of his life—his apprenticeship edition is issued; and the author, taking the as a Franciscan, his contact with learned he- matter now more seriously, prepares, in retics, his studentship at Montpellier—had Pantagruel, something that, meeting the asall tended ; to the final evolution, namely, of certained popular demand for fun, shall do mere hostelry wit and ribaldry, in a form so his own genius more justice. Thus the die colossal, and bearing on topics so general is cast-Medicine, Erudition, and the Latin and vital, that a whole age should be tickled language are thrown aside ; and Rabelais, and relaxed by it. Humor, it is true, is, in with a smile at his own complaisance, bows our part of the world at least, the most fre- to the popular decision, mounts the vacant quent and characteristic form of illiterate stage, harangues the grinning crowd in their genius ; the foremost untaught man in any broad vernacular, and deliberately assumes English or Scotch village, for example, being the proffered cap and bells. More, however, always some humorous grocer, saddler or was decided by that first French publication tavern-keeper, as the case may be ; nor again, of Rabelais than his own name and fate in so far as we see, has culture much absolute the world, much as these were to him. That power over this faculty-not essentially aug- publication was the parent and beginning of menting it where it exists by nature, but ra- a new species of European literature-a spether suppressing and reducing it by stirring cies of literature that was to rank among its up other and competent forms of thought. votaries such future men as Swift, Diderot, Nevertheless, where humor is really reg. and Sterne. nant, culture is but an extension of its do- If Rabelais' recognition of his true function main ; and, as the noblest man on earth is was late and sudden, it was firm and irrevothe most spiritual and melancholy, so the cable. It is not given, indeed, to man, in most resistless is the cultured humorist. this world, to be once á buffoon, and afterUntaught, and left rough, Rabelais might ward anything else. Gurth the swineheard have kept his father's inn, and not disgraced may leap from the earth a free man, and his memory; bred an ecclesiastic and a herd swine no more ; but Wamba, the son of scholar, he was able to bring the wit that Witless, is doomed to wear his collar and would have convulsed a bar-parlor into break jests for ever.
But in the case of contact as noisy and effective with French Rabelais there was probably no wish, as and European interests. Yet one would certainly there was little worldly reason, to think he might have discovered his function undo the choice so made of a fool's vocation.
The interval between his boyhood | Having accepted the profession offered him, he must at once have felt himself unique in certain most Rabelæsian facetiæ at the papal it, enfeoffed against all rivals. His whole court, he returned to Lyons, the sedes as he soul and intellect, every faculty he had called it, suorum studiorum. Here (passing and every acquisition he had made, had over the story of the brick-dust packets, space and exercise in this new part that had labeled " Poison for the King,” &c., for fallen to him. Had the whole state of the which, and fifty others such-the best being world been purposely considered, on the one that of his boiling, the keys to make an hand, and the utmost capacity and possible aperient decoction”—we refer the credulous maximum of his own activity estimated on reader to any collection of Rabelæsiana) we the other, the adaptation and conjunction of find him almost immediately engaged in the two could not have been more neat or seeing through the press a Latin work on thorough. So perfect and final, in fact, had Roman topography, by an Italian named been his recognition of his function, when at Marliani, in whose favor he is said to have last it was revealed to him, that he had already abandoned his own design of writing a simialmost consciously invented a formula and lar work. Toward the close of the same nickname to express and declare it. He year, he received the appointment of physiwas a Pantagruelist, he said ; Pantagruelism, cian to the great hospital at Lyons ; in which i. e., as defined by himself
, “jollity of spirit, capacity he delivered, during the winter, pickled in the scorn of fortune,” —this, and public lectures on anatomy, accompanied by this alone, was what he could preach. He dissections. Rabelais, it has been well rehad been fifty years in making the discovery, marked, appears to have been an enthusiast and he had made it suddenly at last; but in his profession as a physician; and in no his intuition was now clear and fixed, and, kind of technicality does he seem to revel so let him live fifty years more, the best of his much, throughout his work, as in anatomi. future labors would be but efforts to expound cal description. and disseminate Pantagruelism.
Meanwhile, Pantagruelism was not lost Of this he soon gave a distinct proof. sight of, because of assiduity with the scal“ Pantagruel" had scarcely been written, pel. Before the end of 1534, a new edition when the author, reveling, as it were, in his of Pantagruel was issued'; and early in newly-discovered vein, presented the public 1535, the original Chronique Gargantuine with a short burlesque on astrological pre- was definitively superseded by the producdictions, written in the same style, and en- tion that now forms the first book of the titled “ Puntagruelian Prognostication, cer- general work. In this production, which tain, true, and infallible, for the coming year saw the light under the title of “ The Inesand for ever : by Master Alcofribas, Archi- timable Life of the Great Gargantua, father triclin to the aforesaid Pantagruel.” In the of Pantagruel
, heretofore composed by the same year, it appears, he also published a Abstractor of Quintessence; a Book full of real almanac, calculated for the meridian of Pantagruelism,” the purpose of the author Lyons, and bearing on the title-page his own evidently is, to convert the Chronique into a name, with the designation of " Doctor in natural and appropriate prelude to the PanMedicine and Professor in Astrology,” the lagruel. Hence, in form and matter it is latter half of which is doubtless a jest. This entirely altered and recast. In the tone and kind of work seems to have been to his spirit of the book there is also a wonderful taste ; for in various subsequent years he change. The author, we are to remember, favored the Lyonnese with similar compi- had in the interval visited Rome, and, like lations.
Luther, though with very
different Three editions of Pantagruel, and num- the papal corruption at its source ; he had berless copies of the Prognostication, had been the intimate associate, at the same been sold, and their fame had already spread time, of a prelate who, though the bishop of over France, when (January, 1534) Jean du Paris, and now also a cardinal, was in realiBellay, Bishop of Paris, passing through ty a philosophic heretic, with schemes of reLyons on his way to Rome, on a commission form in his head ; and, finally, already (for of importance connected with the quarrel Calvin, now in his twenty-seventh year, had between the Pope and Henry VIII. of Eng- just published, or was about to publish, his land, persuaded the now popular humorist " Institutes”) it was clear to all that the lato accompany him. After an abscence of tent Lutheranism of the kingdom was six months, during which he learnt Arabic ,suming, in ardent French hands, a definite made collections for a work on Italian anti- national shape. It was time, therefore, for quities, and perpetrated, if all tales be true, | Rabelais to speak out; to let his Panta
gruelism flood itself more freely in the speci- , Calvin, to escape the storm, goes to Geneva, fic direction that the national opinion was and becomes a pastor and professor of the taking. Accordingly, in the Gargantua, Protestant church there. The Pantagruelist new topics are wound into the Pantagruelian Rabelais, on the other hand, his friends Madiscussion. In Pantagruel, there had been rot and Dolet being already partly within abundant satire against the Sorbonne and the grasp of the law, thinks it best to go the lawyers, nor had the monks been spared; to Rome, where, curiously enough, such but in Gargantua the monks have it more men as he were then safest; and there, do specially. The whole book concludes, in what? Submit himself to the pope ; get fact, with an exposition (under the transpa- pardoned for his former apostasy in leaving rent guise of a description of a certain great his monastery; have himself reinstated in abbey, called the abbey of the Thelemites) all his former privileges as a Benedictine friar, of a kind of ideal socialism, or scheme of ec- with liberty reserved to him to practice as a clesiastical liberty ; in which, though it is physician at the same time; and so be able not propounded bona fide, but only as a wild to return to France and defy every body. poetic sketch, one nevertheless sees an ex- The Latin letter of Rabelais, on this occasion, pression of real practical intention. Panta- to Paul III., and that pope's gracious angruelism, indeed, was the true spirit then swer, bearing date the 17th January, 1536-7, abroad in France-a certain jolly, daring, are still extant. Nor, in taking this step, riotous negation of monks and monkeries, was Rabelais ostensibly untrue to any set of mingled with no better positive element than convictions that he had undertaken to supa kind of epicurean vigor and geniality. Far port. It was a mere matter of convenience, less widely spread, because far more rigor-he doubtless persuaded himself--not in the ous, devout, and deep, was the spirit that least a matter of principle. Just as people issued in Calvinism. As yet, indeed, Panta- now-a-days get called to the bar for certain gruelism and Calvinism existed as if they collateral advantages, and without intending were one and commingled; but it was im- to practice, so Rabelais, who would have possible that they could advance far without laughed at the idea of pretending in earnest disentangling themselves. Calvin and Ra- to be a priest, re-entered the church. Yet belais both dealt hard blows at the papal natures like Calvin's do not act so. system, and for both, could they have been After living some months in Rome, atclutched at once by the bigots, the fire was tached to the household of Cardinal du Belequally ready-nay, perhaps for the jester lay, and corresponding with his old friend, more ready than for the reasoner, for jests the Bishop of Maillezais, Rabelais returned enrage more than arguments; but buffoons to France in the capacity of physician to the ever have the populace they make laugh for cardinal, who ultimately, although not witha body-guard, while thinkers walk but in out some difficulty, and a fresh application groups; nor has it yet been seen, so far as to the pope, got him settled as one of the we are aware, that Pantagruelists are the canons of Saint-Maur des Fosses-a collegimen to go to the stake for their opinions. ate church attached to the cardinal's own Rabelais burnt for having written Gargantua, bishopric of Paris. This arrangement does would have been a joke in itself. The hang- not appear to have been one of the humorman could not have done his duty for laugh- ist's own making ; his purpose seems rather ing; and the pinioned culprit would have to have been to depend on that saving clause winked to the crowd.
in the pope's letter by which he was authorWhen, therefore, in the year succeeding ized to continue the practice of medicine; the publication of Gargantua, Francis I., and, accordingly, he had, on his return from roused by the appearance of some heretical Rome, paid a visit to his old residence, Montplacards in the streets of Paris, gave the Sor- pellier-there to exchange his bachelor's for bonne full license to persecute, the difference a full doctor's degree. The arrangement, that, as foolish M. Jacob says, did actually however, once made, was found convenient exist between the high “Thelemite or Pan- enough, as it enabled Rabelais to lead a life tagruelian philosophy of Rabelais, and “the of tolerable ease and leisure. Residing dusordid, unmannerly, and inflexible reform" of ring the winter at Saint-Maur des Fosses, he Calvin, was not long in making itself clear. made trips in summer to various parts of How, for example, in this emergency, do the France-to Montpellier, to Lyons, and, above two chiefs respectively behave in whom the all, to his native village, Chinon, where his
spositions of the parties may be considered relatives were proud to have him among as having been represented? The puritan them, and where he had his father's old inn,