Chapter 50

How should be prepared and put to use the celebrated Pantagruelion.

One prepares the Pantagruelion under the autumnal equinox in diverse manners, according to the fancy of the peoples, and the diversity of the land. The first assignment that Pantagruel gave, the stem of it to strip of leaves and seeds macerate it in stagnant not running water for five days, if the weather is dry and the water hot, by nine or a dozen, if the weather is cloudy, and the water cold. then dry it in the sun; then in shade excorticate it, and separate the fibres (in which, as we have said, consist all its price and value) from the woody part, which is useless, except to make a luminous flame, light the fire, and for the amusement of little children to inflate hogs’ bladders. They are used otherwise by the friars in secret, as syphons, to suck and with the breath draw the new wine by the bung. Some modern Pantagruelists to avoid the manual labour required to make such partition, use certain cataractic instruments composed in the form in which Juno the troublesome held the fingers of her hands entwined to prevent the childbirth of Alcmene, mother of Hercules. And traverse these break and bruise the woody part, and render them useless, to save the fibres. In this sole preparation acquiesce those who contrary to the opinion of the whole world, and in a manner paradoxical to all philosophers, gain their living by going backwards. Those who at a profit more evident want to value it do what one tells us of the pastime of the three Parce sisters; of the nocturnal amusement of the noble Circe and of the long excuse of Penelope towards her amorous suitors, during the absence of her husband Ulysses. Thus is it put into its inestimable virtues, of which [I] will expose to you part, (because the whole is impossible for me to expose to you) but before, to you [I] interpret the denomination of this.

I find that plants are named in diverse manners. Some have taken the name from those who first invented, knew, demonstrated, cultivated, domesticated, and appropriated them, as mercuriale from Mercury; panacea from Panace, daughter of Aesculapius; Armois from Artemis, who is Diana; eupatoria, from King Eupator; telephium from Telephus; euphorbium from Euphorbus, physician to king Juba; clymenos from Clymenus; alcibiadion from Alcibiades; gentian, from Gentius king of Slavonia. And such was formerly esteemed this prerogative of imposing one’s name to herbs invented, as made controversy arise between Neptune and Pallas over for whom would be named the land by them two together found: which since has been called Athens, from Athena, that’s to say Minerva; similarly Lyncus king of Scythia went to the effort to slay in treachery the young Triptolemus sent by Ceres to show men wheat then still unknown: after which by the death of that one he would impose his name, and be in honour and immortal glory called inventor of this grain so useful and necessary to human life. For which treachery was by Ceres transformed into an ounce, or loupcervier. Similarly great and long wars were formerly made between certain sojourning kings in Cappadocia, for this sole difference, of the name of whom should an herb be called; which for such debate was called polemonia, as warlike.

Others have retained the names of the regions from which they were formerly transported like median apples, which are pome-citrons of Media, in which they were originally found; Punic apples, which are grenades, carried from Punicie, which is Carthage; ligusticum, which is lovage, carried from Liguria, which is the coast of Genoa. Rhubarb, from the river in Barbary named Rha as Ammianus attests; santonica, foenu greek, chestnuts, peaches, sabine, stoechas, from my Isles Hieres anciently called Stoechades, spica celtica, and others.

Others have their name by antiphrasis and contrariety, as absinthe, the contrary of pynthe, because it is bitter to drink. Holosteon, which is all bone: on the contrary, because there is not an herb in nature more fragile and more tender than it is.

Others are named for their virtues and operations, like aristolochia, which aids women in childbirth. Lichen which cures the maladies of its name. Mallow which mollifies. Callithricum, which makes the hair beautiful. alyssum, ephemerum, bechium, nasturtium, which is garden cress, hyoscyame, henbane and others.

Others by the admirable qualities that one sees in them, like Heliotrope, which is soulcil, which follows the sun. Because the sun rising, it opens; climbing, it climbs; declining, it declines; becomes hidden, it closes. Adiantum, because [it] never retains humidity, although it grows near water, and although one plunges it in water for very long time; hieracia, eryngion, and others.

Others by metamorphosis of the men and women of the same name, like daphne, which is laurel, from Daphne; myrtle, from Myrsine; pine, from Pitys; Cynara, which is artichoke; Narcissus, saphron, smilax, and others.

Others by similitude, like hippuris (which is prelle) because it resembles the tail of a horse; alopecuros, which resembles the tail of a fox; psyllium, which resembles a flea; delphinium, from the dolphin; buglosse, the tongue of an ox; iris, like a rainbow, in its flowers; myosata, to the ear of a mouse; coronopus, from the foot of the crow. And others. By reciprocal denomination are called the Fabies, from beans the Pisons, from peas; the Lentules, from lentiles; the cicerons, from chickpeas; As again by a more high resemblance are called the navel of Venus, the hair of Venus, the tub of Venus, the beard of Jupiter, the eye of Jupiter, the blood of Mars, the fingers of Mercury: hermodactyles; and others.

Others from their forms, like trefoil, which has three leaves; pentaphyllon, which has five leaves; serpoullet, which creeps against the ground; helxine, petasites, myrobalans, which the Arabs call Ben, because they resemble acorns, and are unctuous.

Chapter 51

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