Chapter 3.VII. How Panurge had a flea in his ear, and forbore to wear any longer his magnificent codpiece.

Panurge, the day thereafter, caused pierce his right ear after the Jewish fashion, and thereto clasped a little gold ring, of a ferny-like kind of workmanship, in the beazil or collet whereof was set and enchased a flea;

...

He then took four French ells of a coarse brown russet cloth, and therein apparelling 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 his cap. In this equipage did he present himself before Pantagruel; to whom this disguise appeared the more strange, that he did not, as before, see that goodly, fair, and stately codpiece, which was the sole anchor of hope wherein he was wonted to rely, and last refuge he had midst all the waves and boisterous billows which a stormy cloud in a cross fortune would raise up against him. Honest Pantagruel, not understanding the mystery, asked him, by way of interrogatory, what he did intend to personate in that new-fangled prosopopoeia. I have, answered Panurge, a flea in mine ear, and have a mind to marry. In a good time, quoth Pantagruel, you have told me joyful tidings. Yet would not I hold a red-hot iron in my hand for all the gladness of them. But it is not the fashion of lovers to be accoutred in such dangling vestments, so as to have their shirts flagging down over their knees, without breeches, and with a long robe of a dark brown mingled hue, which is a colour never used in Talarian garments amongst any persons of honour, quality, or virtue. If some heretical persons and schismatical sectaries have at any time formerly been so arrayed and clothed (though many have imputed such a kind of dress to cosenage, cheat, imposture, and an affectation of tyranny upon credulous minds of the rude multitude), I will nevertheless not blame them for it, nor in that point judge rashly or sinistrously of them. Everyone overflowingly aboundeth in his own sense and fancy; yea, in things of a foreign consideration, altogether extrinsical and indifferent, which in and of themselves are neither commendable nor bad, because they proceed not from the interior of the thoughts and heart, which is the shop of all good and evil; of goodness, if it be upright, and that its affections be regulated by the pure and clean spirit of righteousness; and, on the other side, of wickedness, if its inclinations, straying beyond the bounds of equity, be corrupted and depraved by the malice and suggestions of the devil. It is only the novelty and new-fangledness thereof which I dislike, together with the contempt of common custom and the fashion which is in use.

The colour, answered Panurge, is convenient, for it is conform to that of my council-board carpet; therefore will I henceforth hold me with it, and more narrowly and circumspectly than ever hitherto I have done look to my affairs and business. Seeing I am once out of debt, you never yet saw man more unpleasing than I will be, if God help me not. Lo, here be my spectacles. To see me afar off, you would readily say that it were Friar (John) Burgess. I believe certainly that in the next ensuing year I shall once more preach the Crusade. Bounce, buckram. Do you see this russet? Doubt not but there lurketh under it some hid property and occult virtue known to very few in the world. I did not take it on before this morning, and, nevertheless, am already in a rage 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 the hard push of a bull-horned devil.

...

I took the mode, shape, and form thereof in Trajan's Column at Rome, as also in the Triumphant Arch of Septimus Severus. I am tired of the wars, weary of wearing buff-coats, cassocks, and hoquetons.

Citation Type  Prose
Citation Year 1534