How Gargantua Showeth That The Children Ought Not To Marry Without The Special Knowledge and Advice Of Their Fathers and Mothers

Gargantua and Pantagruel (1546), by Francois Rabelais.

Chapter 3.XLVIII.—How Gargantua showeth that the children ought not to marry without the special knowledge and advice of their fathers and mothers.

Could the Goths, the Scyths, or Massagets do a worse or more cruel act to any of the inhabitants of a hostile city, when, after the loss of many of their most considerable commanders, the expense of a great deal of money, and a long siege, they shall have stormed and taken it by a violent and impetuous assault? May not these fathers and mothers, think you, be sorrowful and heavy-hearted when they see an unknown fellow, a vagabond stranger, a barbarous lout, a rude cur, rotten, fleshless, putrified, scraggy, boily, botchy, poor, a forlorn caitiff and miserable sneak, by an open rapt snatch away before their own eyes their so fair, delicate, neat, well-behavioured, richly-provided-for and healthful daughters, on whose breeding and education they had spared no cost nor charges, by bringing them up in an honest discipline to all the honourable and virtuous employments becoming one of their sex descended of a noble parentage, hoping by those commendable and industrious means in an opportune and convenient time to bestow them on the worthy sons of their well-deserving neighbours and ancient friends, who had nourished, entertained, taught, instructed, and schooled their children with the same care and solicitude, to make them matches fit to attain to the felicity of a so happy marriage, that from them might issue an offspring and progeny no less heirs to the laudable endowments and exquisite qualifications of their parents, whom they every way resemble, than to their personal and real estates, movables, and inheritances? How doleful, trist, and plangorous would such a sight and pageantry prove unto them? You shall not need to think that the collachrymation of the Romans and their confederates at the decease of Germanicus Drusus was comparable to this lamentation of theirs? Neither would I have you to believe that the discomfort and anxiety of the Lacedaemonians, when the Greek Helen, by the perfidiousness of the adulterous Trojan, Paris, was privily stolen away out of their country, was greater or more pitiful than this ruthful and deplorable collugency of theirs? You may very well imagine that Ceres at the ravishment of her daughter Proserpina was not more attristed, sad, nor mournful than they. Trust me, and your own reason, that the loss of Osiris was not so regrettable to Isis, nor did Venus so deplore the death of Adonis, nor yet did Hercules so bewail the straying of Hylas, nor was the rapt of Polyxena more throbbingly resented and condoled by Priamus and Hecuba, than this aforesaid accident would be sympathetically bemoaned, grievous, ruthful, and anxious to the woefully desolate and disconsolate parents.

Published by proprietor

Happily married, with children.

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