Chapter 8 Why the codpiece is held to be the chief piece of armour amongs_arriors
Will you maintain, quoth Pantagruel, that the codpiece is the chief piece of _ilitary harness? It is a new kind of doctrine, very paradoxical; for we say,
At spurs begins the arming of a man. Sir, I maintain it, answered Panurge, an_ot wrongfully do I maintain it. Behold how nature, having a fervent desire,
after its production of plants, trees, shrubs, herbs, sponges, and plant-
animals, to eternize and continue them unto all succession of ages (in thei_everal kinds or sorts, at least, although the individuals perish) unruinable,
and in an everlasting being, hath most curiously armed and fenced their buds,
sprouts, shoots, and seeds, wherein the above-mentioned perpetuity consisteth,
by strengthening, covering, guarding, and fortifying them with an admirabl_ndustry, with husks, cases, scurfs and swads, hulls, cods, stones, films,
cartels, shells, ears, rinds, barks, skins, ridges, and prickles, which serv_hem instead of strong, fair, and natural codpieces. As is manifestly apparen_n pease, beans, fasels, pomegranates, peaches, cottons, gourds, pumpions,
melons, corn, lemons, almonds, walnuts, filberts, and chestnuts; as likewis_n all plants, slips, or sets whatsoever, wherein it is plainly and evidentl_een, that the sperm and semence is more closely veiled, overshadowed,
corroborated, and thoroughly harnessed, than any other part, portion, o_arcel of the whole.
Nature, nevertheless, did not after that manner provide for the sempiternizin_f (the) human race; but, on the contrary, created man naked, tender, an_rail, without either offensive or defensive arms; and that in the estate o_nnocence, in the first age of all, which was the golden season; not as _lant, but living creature, born for peace, not war, and brought forth int_he world with an unquestionable right and title to the plenary fruition an_njoyment of all fruits and vegetables, as also to a certain calm and gentl_ule and dominion over all kinds of beasts, fowls, fishes, reptiles, an_nsects. Yet afterwards it happening in the time of the iron age, under th_eign of Jupiter, when, to the multiplication of mischievous actions,
wickedness and malice began to take root and footing within the then perverte_earts of men, that the earth began to bring forth nettles, thistles, thorns,
briars, and such other stubborn and rebellious vegetables to the nature o_an. Nor scarce was there any animal which by a fatal disposition did not the_evolt from him, and tacitly conspire and covenant with one another to serv_im no longer, nor, in case of their ability to resist, to do him any manne_f obedience, but rather, to the uttermost of their power, to annoy him wit_ll the hurt and harm they could. The man, then, that he might maintain hi_rimitive right and prerogative, and continue his sway and dominion over all,
both vegetable and sensitive creatures, and knowing of a truth that he coul_ot be well accommodated as he ought without the servitude and subjection o_everal animals, bethought himself that of necessity he must needs put o_rms, and make provision of harness against wars and violence. By the hol_aint Babingoose, cried out Pantagruel, you are become, since the last rain, _reat lifrelofre,—philosopher, I should say. Take notice, sir, quoth Panurge,
when Dame Nature had prompted him to his own arming, what part of the body i_as, where, by her inspiration, he clapped on the first harness. It wa_orsooth by the double pluck of my little dog the ballock and good Senor Do_riapos Stabo-stando—which done, he was content, and sought no more. This i_ertified by the testimony of the great Hebrew captain (and) philosophe_oses, who affirmeth that he fenced that member with a brave and gallan_odpiece, most exquisitely framed, and by right curious devices of a notabl_regnant invention made up and composed of fig-tree leaves, which by reason o_heir solid stiffness, incisory notches, curled frizzling, sleeked smoothness,
large ampleness, together with their colour, smell, virtue, and faculty, wer_xceeding proper and fit for the covering and arming of the satchels o_eneration—the hideously big Lorraine cullions being from thence onl_xcepted, which, swaggering down to the lowermost bottom of the breeches,
cannot abide, for being quite out of all order and method, the stately fashio_f the high and lofty codpiece; as is manifest by the noble Valentin_iardiere, whom I found at Nancy, on the first day of May—the more flauntingl_o gallantrize it afterwards—rubbing his ballocks, spread out upon a tabl_fter the manner of a Spanish cloak. Wherefore it is, that none shoul_enceforth say, who would not speak improperly, when any country bumpkin hiet_o the wars, Have a care, my roister, of the wine-pot, that is, the skull,
but, Have a care, my roister, of the milk-pot, that is, the testicles. By th_hole rabble of the horned fiends of hell, the head being cut off, that singl_erson only thereby dieth. But, if the ballocks be marred, the whole race o_uman kind would forthwith perish, and be lost for ever.
This was the motive which incited the goodly writer Galen, Lib. 1\. D_permate, to aver with boldness that it were better, that is to say, a les_vil, to have no heart at all than to be quite destitute of genitories; fo_here is laid up, conserved, and put in store, as in a secessive repositor_nd sacred warehouse, the semence and original source of the whole offsprin_f mankind. Therefore would I be apt to believe, for less than a hundre_rancs, that those are the very same stones by means whereof Deucalion an_yrrha restored the human race, in peopling with men and women the world,
which a little before that had been drowned in the overflowing waves of _oetical deluge. This stirred up the valiant Justinian, L. 4. De Cagoti_ollendis, to collocate his Summum Bonum, in Braguibus, et Braguetis. For thi_nd other causes, the Lord Humphrey de Merville, following of his king to _ertain warlike expedition, whilst he was in trying upon his own person a ne_uit of armour, for of his old rusty harness he could make no more use, b_eason that some few years since the skin of his belly was a great way remove_rom his kidneys, his lady thereupon, in the profound musing of _ontemplative spirit, very maturely considering that he had but small care o_he staff of love and packet of marriage, seeing he did no otherwise arm tha_art of the body than with links of mail, advised him to shield, fence, an_abionate it with a big tilting helmet which she had lying in her closet, t_er otherwise utterly unprofitable. On this lady were penned these subsequen_erses, which are extant in the third book of the Shitbrana of Paltry Wenches.
When Yoland saw her spouse equipp'd for fight,
And, save the codpiece, all in armour dight,
My dear, she cried, why, pray, of all the rest
Is that exposed, you know I love the best?
Was she to blame for an ill-managed fear,—
Or rather pious, conscionable care?
Wise lady, she! In hurlyburly fight,
Can any tell where random blows may light?
Leave off then, sir, from being astonished, and wonder no more at this ne_anner of decking and trimming up of myself as you now see me.