François Rabelais

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Speak the truth and shame the Devil.

François Rabelais (ca. 1493 -1553-04-09) was a French humanist writer of satirical romances.


  • Je m'en vais chercher un grand peut-être; tirez le rideau, la farce est jouée.
    • Translation: I am going to seek a grand perhaps; draw the curtain, the farce is played.
    • Alleged last words. From MOTTEUX, Life of Rabelais
  • Je n'ai rien vaillant; je dois beaucoup; je donne le reste aux pauvres.
    • Translation: I have nothing, owe a great deal, and the rest I leave to the poor.
    • His one line will.

Pantagruel (Les horribles et espouvantables faictz & prouesses du tres renommé Pantagruel Roy des Dipsodes, filz du grand géant Gargantua) (1532)

  • [Mais par ce que selon le sage Salomon,] Sapience n’entre point en ame malivole, & science sans conscience n’est que ruyne de l’ame.
    • Translation: [But as wise Solomon said,] Wisdom entereth not into a malicious mind, and science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul.
    • Ch. 8

Gargantua (La vie inestimable du grand Gargantua, père de Pantagruel) (1534)

  • Pour ce que rire est le propre de l'homme.
    • Translation: To laugh is proper to man.
    • Rabelais to the Reader (prefatory note on leading page)
  • [Puis pour curieuse leczon, & meditation frequente] rompre l'os, & sugcer la substantificque mouelle.
    • Translation: [And then for strange lesson and frequent meditation,] break the bone and suck out the substantific marrow.
    • Prologue
  • Les heures sont faictez pour l'homme, & non l'homme pour les heures.
    • Translation: I never follow the clock: hours were made for man, not man for hours.
    • Ch. 39 (frère Iean des Entommeures)
  • Et guerre faicte sans bonne provision d'argent, n'a qu'un souspirail de vigueur. Les nerfz des batailles sont les pecunes.
    • Translation: War begun without good provision of money beforehand for going through with it is but as a breathing of strength and blast that will quickly pass away. Coin is the sinews of war.
    • Ch. 44

Le Tiers-Livre des faicts et dicts héroïques du bon Pantagruel (1546)

Le Quart-Livre des faicts et dicts héroïques du bon Pantagruel (1548, 1552)

  • Certaine gayeté d'esprit conficte en mespris des choses fortuites.
    • Translation: a certain jollity of mind, pickled in the scorn of fortune.
    • Prologue de l'autheur
  • A son [Timon le Misanthrope] exemple ie denonce à ces calumniateurs diaboliques, que tous ayent à se pendre dedans le dernier chanteau de ceste lune. Ie les fourniray de licolz.
  • Translation: Following his example, I encourage all these diabolical calumniators to go hang themselves before the last moon's quarter is done. I will supply the rope.
    • Prologue of the 1548 "old" edition
  • ...l'estomach affamé n'a poinct d'aureilles, il n'oyt goutte.
    • Translation: The belly has no ears nor is it to be filled with fair words.
    • Ch. LXIII


  • Appetite comes with eating...but the thirst goes away with drinking.
    • Book I, Ch. 5
  • How shall I be able to rule over others, that have not full power and command of myself?
    • Book I, Ch. 52
  • Fais ce que voudras.
    • Translation: Do what thou wilt.
    • Book I, Ch. 57
  • Subject to a kind of disease, which at that time they called lack of money.
    • Book II, Ch. 16
  • So much is a man worth as he esteems himself.
    • Book II, Ch. 29
  • He that has patience may compass anything.
    • Book IV (1548), Ch. 48
  • We will take the good will for the deed.
    • Book IV, Ch. 49
  • Speak the truth and shame the Devil.
    • Book V (1552), author's prologue
  • Plain as the nose in a man's face.
    • Book V, author's prologue
  • Looking as one pea does like another.
    • Book V, Ch. 2

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