Dialogue on the Threshold

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Friday, 23 July 2010

Like another Sisyphus

... and giving to one of his old acquaintances his wallet, books, and opistographs, away went he out of town towards a little hill or promontory of Corinth called Craneum: and there on the strand, a pretty level place, did he roll his jolly tub, which served him for an house to shelter him from injuries of the weather; there, I say, in a great vehemency of spirit, did he turn it, veer it, wheel it, whirl it, frisk it, jumble it, shuffle it, huddle it, tumble it, hurry it, justle it, jumble it, joult it, evert it, overthrow it, subvert it, beat it, thwack it, bump it, knock it, thrust it, push it, batter it, shock it, shake it, throw it, toss it, jerk it, overthrow it upside-down, topsy-turvy, arsiversy, tread it, trample it, stamp it, slamp it, tap it, ting it, ring it, tingle it, towl it, sound it, resound it, shut it, unbung it, stop it, close it, unstopple it. He hurled it, slid it down the hill, precipitated it from the very height of the Craneum; heaved it, transfigured it, bespattered it, garnished it, furnished it, bored it, bewrayed it, parched it, bedashed, tottered it, adorned, staggered it, transformed it, brangled it, heaved it, carried it, bedashed it, hacked it; then from the foot to the top, like another Sisyphus with his stone, bore it up again, slid it down the hill, and every way so banged it and belaboured it that it was ten thousand to one he had not struck the bottom of it out.

François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel, trans. Sir Thomas Urquhart (1653, 1693)

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