Barack Explains His Terror Policies to Pantagruel

From Gargantua and Pantagruel by Fran├žois Rabelais, translated by J. M. Cohen

One day, I do not know when, Pantagruel was walking with his friends after supper near the gate onto the Paris road, when he met a pretty spruce young scholar coming along the way, of whom, after they had exchanged greetings, he said: “Where are you coming from at this hour, my friend?”

“From the alme, inclite, and celebrated academy that is vocitated Lutetia,” replied the scholar.

“What does that mean?” Pantagruel asked one of his people.

“It means from Paris,” he answered.

“So you come from Paris,” said Pantagruel. “And how do you spend your time, you gentlemen students at this same Paris?”

“We transfretate the Sequana at the dilucule and the crepuscule; we deambulate through the compites and quadrives of the urb; we despumate the Latin verbocination and, as verisimile amorabunds, we captate the benevolence of the omnijugal, omniform, and omnigenous feminine sex. At certain intervals we invisitate the lupanars, and in venerean ecstasy we inculcate our veretres into the penitissim recesses of the pudenda of these amicabilissime meretricules. Then we cauponizate, in the meritory taverns of the Pineapple, the Castle, the Magdelan, and the Slipper, goodly vervecine spatules, perforaminated with petrosil. And if by fort fortune there is rarity or penury of pecune in our marsupies, and they are exhausted of ferruginous metal, for the scot we dimit our codices and vestments oppignerated, prestolating the tabelleries to come from the penates and patriotic lares.”

At which Pantagruel exclaimed: “What devilish language is this? By God you must be a heretic.”

“No, signor,” answered the scholar. “For libentissimily, as soon as these illucesces any minitule slither of the day, I demigrate into one of these excellently architected minsters; and there irrorating myself in fine lusral water, mumble a snatch of some missic precation of our sacrificules and, submimillating my horary precules. I illave and absterge my anima from its nocturnal inquinaments. I revere the Olimpicoles. I latrially venerate the suburnal astripotent. I dilect and redame my proximes. I observe the decalogical precepts, and according to the facultatule of my vires, do not discede from it by the latitude of an unguicule. It is veriform, nevertheless, since Mammon did not supergurgitate the eleemosynes to those indigents who hostially solicit their stipe.”

“A turd! A turd!” exclaimed Panatgruel. “What does this fool mean? I believe he is coining some new devilish language for us here, and throwing an enchanter’s spell on us.”

“My lord, there’s no doubt about it,” replied one of his followers. “This fellow’s trying to imitate the Parisians’ language. But all he is doing is murdering Latin. He thinks he is pindarizing, and imagines he’s a great orator in French because he disdains the common use of speech.”

“Is that true?” asked Pantagruel.

“My lord, sir,” answered the scholar. “My genius is not aptly nate, as this flatigious nebulon asserts, to excoriate the cuticle of our vernacular Gallic, but vice-versally I gnave opere, and by sail and oar I enite to locuplete it from the latinicome redundance.”

“By God,” cried Pantagruel, “I’ll teach you to speak. But before I do so, tell me one thing. Where do you come from?”

To which the scholar replied: “The primaeval origin of my aves and ataves was indigenous to the Lemovic regions, where requiesces the corpus of the hagiotate Saint Martial.”

“I understand you all right,” said Pantagruel. “What it comes to is that you’re a Limousin, and here you want to play the Parisian. Well, come on then, and I’ll give you a combing.” Then he took him by the throat and continued: “You murder Latin, by Saint John, I’ll make you skin the fox. I’ll skin you alive.”

Then the poor Limousin began to plead: “Haw, guid master! Haw, lordie! Help me, Saint Marshaw. Ho, let me alone, for Gaud’s sake, and dinna hairm me!”

Whereupon Pantagruel replied: “Now you’re speaking naturally,” and released him. But the poor Limousin beshat all his breeches, which were cut codtail fashion and not full-bottomed.

At which Pantagruel exclaimed: “By Saint Alipentine, what a sweet scent! Devil take this turnip-eater, how he stinks!” And he let him go.

But this gave the Limousin such a lifelong terror, and such a thirst that he would often swear Pantagruel held him by the throat; and after some years he died a Roland’s death, this being a divine vengeance and proving the truth of the Philosopher Aulus Gelius’s observation, that we ought to speak the language in common use, and of Octavian Augustus’s maxim, that we should shun obsolete words as carefully as ships’ pilots avoid the rocks at sea.

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