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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.
  • {verse
  • 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?
  • {verse
  • 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.