— Cyrano de Bergerac French novelist, dramatist, scientist and duelist 1619 - 1655
The Other World (1657), Context: I spoke to my young host: "If you would, tell me the meaning of the bronze figure in the shape of shameful parts hanging from the man's belt.
I had seen a number of them at court when I was living in a cage, but as I was almost always in the company of the Queen's daughters, I was afraid I might show disrespect to the women and their social status if I brought up such a gross subject of conversation in their presence.
"Here, neither females nor males are so ungrateful as to blush at the sight of what has given them being; and virgins are not ashamed to like to see us wear the only thing that goes by that name, as a token of mother nature.
"The sash that honors that man carries a medallion in the form of a virile member. It is the sign of a nobleman and distinguishes the noble from the commoner."
I admit that this paradox seemed so outlandish that I could not keep from laughing at it. "This custom seems quite extraordinary to me," I said to my young host, "because in our world the mark of nobility is to wear a sword."
He replied calmly, "O little man, how insane the nobles of your world must be if they pride themselves on a tool used by executioners, one that is made only to destroy and that is, in the end, the sworn enemy of all that lives. And they hide, on the contrary, a part of the body without which we would not exist, one that is the Prometheus of every animal and tirelessly repairs the weaknesses of nature! How unfortunate a country is where the marks of generation are ignominious and those of annihilation are honorable! And you call that member one of the 'shameful parts', as though anything were more glorious than to give life and anything more infamous than to take it away."