Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 128
Context: Rabelais, the author, addresses the "indefatigable topers, and you thrice-precious martyrs of the smock" on the question whether "men are not such sots nowadays as they were in the days of yore," in other words, "that formerly men were fools, and in this generation are grown wise." Shakespeare uses the expression in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, as does Robert Burton in The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621-1651). Rabelais says that fools "shall go to pot" and "all manner of folly shall have an end." He adds:
Folly having been driven back and hidden towards the centre during the rigour of the winter, 'tis now to be seen on the surface, and buds out like the trees. This is as plain as a nose in a man's face. . . .
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