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THE LIBRARY

OF

WIT AND HUMOR.

RABELAIS.

fects of his disgrace, but afterwards received from the

Cardinal of Lorraine the curacy of Meudon, which he (Francois RABELA IS was born in 1483 (or according held until his death. He is said to have been exemto some biographers, in 1495), at Chinon, a small town plary in life, profuse in charity, and sedulous in the in Touraine, France. His father, who combined the relief of suffering. Some wrote that Rahelais died at cultivation of a small farm, of which he was the owner, Moudon; but Dom Pierre de St. Romuald says, that with the business of an apothecary, gave his son the Dr. Guy Paton, Royal Professor at Paris, who was a best educational advantages. At an early age Francois great admirer of Rabelais, assured him that he, himself, was sent as a pupil to the abbey of Seully, and thence caused him to be brought from his cure to Paris, where to the University of Angers. Here he made the ac- he lies buried in St. Paul's Church yard, at the foot of a quaintance of Jean (afterwards Cardinal) Du Bellay, to great tree still to be seen. He died in a house in the whose friendship he was subsequently much indebted. Street called La Rue des Jardins, in St. Paul's Parish at At the request of his father, Rabelais entered the priest- Paris about the year 1553, aged serenty years. hood, becoming first a brother of the Franciscan con- The following is his Epitaph written by his contemvent of Fontenay le Comte, in 1519. He now began to porary, Baif : display that enthusiasm for study which made him per

Pluton, prince du noir Empiro, haps the most erudite man of his age. His studies em

Où les tiens ne rient jamais, braced the whole range of the sciences, especially

Recois aujourd'huy Rabelais, me licine, and a mastery of the Latin, Greek, Italian,

Et les tiens auront, de quoy rire. Spanish, German English, Hebrew, and Arabic languages. His learning, however, provoked the jealousy and hatred of the monks, who suspected that his

The scientific works of Rabelais are forGreek was a cover for heresy. On one occasion, in gotten; but bis romance of Gargantua and 1523, his cell was searched for suspicious books, and to Pantagruel ranks as one of the world's mas. avoid severer persecution he fled. His wit and learn. terpieces of humor and grotesque invention. ing having gained him influential friends, he obtained “In the form of a sportive and extrava. by their exertions a papal indulgence authorizing his gant fiction, it is, in fact, a satirical crititravsfer from the order of St. Francis to that of st. cism of the corrupt society of the period, Benedict, upon which he became an inmate of the the prevalent follies and vices of which are monastery of Maillezay. Here his condition appears parodied with surprising effect and ingenu. to have been little improved; for after a few

ity;" abruptly quitted the monastery without ecclesiastical

'The work of Rabelais,” says Leigh sanction. In 1530, he settled at Montpellier, and, tak- Hunt, “is a wild but profound burlesque ing a degree in medicine at the University, was ap- 1 of some of the worst abuses in government pointed a lecturer therein. At Lyons, whither he and religion; and it has had a correspondwent as hospital physician in 1532, he published several works on medical science, archæology, jurisprudence

, ing effect on the feeling, or unconscious etc. In 1534, he accompanied Du Bellay to Rome, as

reasonings of the world. This must be its travelling physician. He obtained from Pope Paul III.

excuse for a coarseness which was perhaps on the occasion, a remission of the penalties attached its greatest recommendation in the good old to his monastic misdemeanor, with permission to return

times,' though at present one is astonished to the order of St. Benedict. He continued, however, how people could bear it. Rabelais' combito practice medicine at Montpellier and elsewhere until nation of work and play, of merriment and 1538, when he became canon of Du Bellay's abbey of study, of excessive animal spirits and St. Maur des Fosses, near Paris. On Cardinal Du Bel- prodigious learning would be a perpetual lay's loss of influence, Rabelais at first shared the ef- ! marvel, if we did not reflect that nothing is VOL. II.-W, H.

1

years he

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