Chapter 7 How Panurge had a flea in his ear, and forbore to wear any longe_is magnificent codpiece
Panurge, the day thereafter, caused pierce his right ear after the Jewis_ashion, and thereto clasped a little gold ring, of a ferny-like kind o_orkmanship, in the beazil or collet whereof was set and enchased a flea; and,
to the end you may be rid of all doubts, you are to know that the flea wa_lack. O, what a brave thing it is, in every case and circumstance of _atter, to be thoroughly well informed! The sum of the expense hereof, bein_ast up, brought in, and laid down upon his council-board carpet, was found t_mount to no more quarterly than the charge of the nuptials of a Hircania_igress; even, as you would say, 600,000 maravedis. At these vast costs an_xcessive disbursements, as soon as he perceived himself to be out of debt, h_retted much; and afterwards, as tyrants and lawyers use to do, he nourishe_nd fed her with the sweat and blood of his subjects and clients.
He then took four French ells of a coarse brown russet cloth, and therei_pparelling himself, as with a long, plain-seamed, and single-stitched gown,
left off the wearing of his breeches, and tied a pair of spectacles to hi_ap. In this equipage did he present himself before Pantagruel; to whom thi_isguise appeared the more strange, that he did not, as before, see tha_oodly, fair, and stately codpiece, which was the sole anchor of hope wherei_e was wonted to rely, and last refuge he had midst all the waves an_oisterous billows which a stormy cloud in a cross fortune would raise u_gainst him. Honest Pantagruel, not understanding the mystery, asked him, b_ay of interrogatory, what he did intend to personate in that new-fangle_rosopopoeia. I have, answered Panurge, a flea in mine ear, and have a mind t_arry. In a good time, quoth Pantagruel, you have told me joyful tidings. Ye_ould not I hold a red-hot iron in my hand for all the gladness of them. Bu_t is not the fashion of lovers to be accoutred in such dangling vestments, s_s to have their shirts flagging down over their knees, without breeches, an_ith a long robe of a dark brown mingled hue, which is a colour never used i_alarian garments amongst any persons of honour, quality, or virtue. If som_eretical persons and schismatical sectaries have at any time formerly been s_rrayed and clothed (though many have imputed such a kind of dress t_osenage, cheat, imposture, and an affectation of tyranny upon credulous mind_f the rude multitude), I will nevertheless not blame them for it, nor in tha_oint judge rashly or sinistrously of them. Everyone overflowingly aboundet_n his own sense and fancy; yea, in things of a foreign consideration,
altogether extrinsical and indifferent, which in and of themselves are neithe_ommendable nor bad, because they proceed not from the interior of th_houghts and heart, which is the shop of all good and evil; of goodness, if i_e upright, and that its affections be regulated by the pure and clean spiri_f righteousness; and, on the other side, of wickedness, if its inclinations,
straying beyond the bounds of equity, be corrupted and depraved by the malic_nd suggestions of the devil. It is only the novelty and new-fanglednes_hereof which I dislike, together with the contempt of common custom and th_ashion which is in use.
The colour, answered Panurge, is convenient, for it is conform to that of m_ouncil-board carpet; therefore will I henceforth hold me with it, and mor_arrowly and circumspectly than ever hitherto I have done look to my affair_nd business. Seeing I am once out of debt, you never yet saw man mor_npleasing than I will be, if God help me not. Lo, here be my spectacles. T_ee me afar off, you would readily say that it were Friar (John) Burgess. _elieve certainly that in the next ensuing year I shall once more preach th_rusade. Bounce, buckram. Do you see this russet? Doubt not but there lurket_nder it some hid property and occult virtue known to very few in the world. _id not take it on before this morning, and, nevertheless, am already in _age of lust, mad after a wife, and vehemently hot upon untying the codpiece-
point; I itch, I tingle, I wriggle, and long exceedingly to be married, that,
without the danger of cudgel-blows, I may labour my female copes-mate with th_ard push of a bull-horned devil. O the provident and thrifty husband that _hen will be! After my death, with all honour and respect due to my frugality,
will they burn the sacred bulk of my body, of purpose to preserve the ashe_hereof, in memory of the choicest pattern that ever was of a perfectly war_nd complete householder. Cops body, this is not the carpet whereon m_reasurer shall be allowed to play false in his accounts with me, by settin_own an X for a V, or an L for an S. For in that case should I make a hail o_isticuffs to fly into his face. Look upon me, sir, both before and behind,—i_s made after the manner of a toga, which was the ancient fashion of th_omans in time of peace. I took the mode, shape, and form thereof in Trajan'_olumn at Rome, as also in the Triumphant Arch of Septimus Severus. I am tire_f the wars, weary of wearing buff-coats, cassocks, and hoquetons. M_houlders are pitifully worn and bruised with the carrying of harness. Le_rmour cease, and the long robe bear sway! At least it must be so for th_hole space of the succeeding year, if I be married; as yesterday, by th_osaic law, you evidenced. In what concerneth the breeches, my great-aun_aurence did long ago tell me, that the breeches were only ordained for th_se of the codpiece, and to no other end; which I, upon a no less forcibl_onsequence, give credit to every whit, as well as to the saying of the fin_ellow Galen, who in his ninth book, Of the Use and Employment of our Members,
allegeth that the head was made for the eyes. For nature might have placed ou_eads in our knees or elbows, but having beforehand determined that the eye_hould serve to discover things from afar, she for the better enabling them t_xecute their designed office, fixed them in the head, as on the top of a lon_ole, in the most eminent part of all the body—no otherwise than we see th_hares, or high towers erected in the mouths of havens, that navigators ma_he further off perceive with ease the lights of the nightly fires an_anterns. And because I would gladly, for some short while, a year at least,
take a little rest and breathing time from the toilsome labour of the militar_rofession, that is to say, be married, I have desisted from wearing any mor_ codpiece, and consequently have laid aside my breeches. For the codpiece i_he principal and most especial piece of armour that a warrior doth carry; an_herefore do I maintain even to the fire (exclusively, understand you me),
that no Turks can properly be said to be armed men, in regard that codpiece_re by their law forbidden to be worn.