Being Excerpts from: A DISCOURSE CONCERNING DILDOES: WHEREIN FALSE CONCEPTIONS ARE REPREHENDED, AND THEIR TRUE AND PROPER ENDS ASSERTED AND VINDICATED. THE SECOND EDITION CORRECTED AND INLARGED. TO WHICH IS ADDED A GENERAL HISTORY OF DILDOES. WHEREIN SOME CHARACTERS OF DISTINCTION BETWEEN TRUE AND PRETENDING DILDOES ARE LAID DOWN AND BY MANY THOUSANDS OF EXAMPLES IS SHEWED WHAT THE DILDO HATH BEEN FROM THE FIRST AGES OF THE WORLD TO THESE TIMES. IN RESPECT OF HIS BODY, SENSES, PASSIONS, AFFECTIONS: His Virtues and Perfections, his Vices and Defects, his Quality, Vocation and Profession; and many other particulars. Collected from the Writings of the most approved Historians, Philosophers, Physicians, Philologists and others, by ANONYMOUS, London: Printed for F. Basset, at the Rose and Crown in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1678.*
What is a dildo? The question is very obscure, according to Paterculus, full of controversy and ambiguity. Saith Dandinus, I confess I am not able to understand it; we can sooner determine with Tully, what they are not than what they are.
In former times, the Sadducees denied that dildoes existed. So did Galen the Physician, the Peripateticks, even Aristotle himself, because they never saw them, and if any man shall stoutly maintain that he hath seen them, they account him a timorous fool, a melancholy dizzard, and a dreamer, and yet Ummidius of his credit told Psellus that he had once seen one. And Leo Soup, a Frenchman, will have the world to be as full of them as flies, and that they may be seen, and withal sets down the means how men may see them.
Wecker relates of his father that after the accustomed solemnities, in 1491, 13 August, he conjured up 7 dildoes, some ruddy of complexion, some black and saturnine, and some pale. The same author will have some of them to be desirous of men’s company, very affable, and familiar with them, as dogs are; others again to abhor them, as serpents do.
Fiery dildoes or dildis fatui lead men often into rivers or precipices, saith Lipsius, whom, if travellers wish to keep off, they must pronounce the name of God with a clear voice, or adore him with their faces prone on the ground. Likeways these sit on ship masts, and never appear but they signify some mischief or other to come unto men. The Polonian Duke calls this apparition the Heavenly Brothers. The King of Sweden had an enchanted dildo, by virtue of which he could command spirits, trouble the air, and make the wind stand which way he would, insomuch that when there is any great wind or storm, the common people are wont to say, the king has on his conjuring dildo.
Of a woman’s fair hand, which rose out of a lake, holding a shining dildo, we read in many of the Ancients, such that it may not be doubted; and to this dildo many noble deeds are credited, many a citadel vanquished through its unimpeachable might, etc. And again of a dildo we read, which appeared to the daughter of the melancholy Duke of Cleve in a dream, which was so beautiful, that upon waking she pined for it, and tore her hair, and could not be comforted, and her only recourse, though that unavailing, was to sleep, and hope the dream would come again; this dildo really existed, as Necromancers learned, but in far foreign lands, but the Duke so loved his daughter, that he set out on a quest, in great peril of his life, and bested many monsters, as is told in the Epic, to win the dildo and bring it back to her, and when she beheld this apple of her eye, she sat up in bed completely cured. And Weenus tells of a lady that so loved her dildo, that she begged to marry it, and when the pope spoke against it, she ran mad, and dressed in rags, and fled to the greenwood, and there lived in sin with her paramour. There are also sad tales of dildoes who fell in love with their keepers and were given horns by mortal lovers, and humorous tales of dildoes in nunneries that went limp at last from surfeit. In Eastern parts, as travellers tell, a certain dildo was recognized by infallible signs as a reincarnated holy man, and was dressed in fine robes and gold dust was put on its head and it was treated with all honor once paid the man himself, and gave comfort to many and, some said, cured women suffering from melancholia and other nervous afflictions.
There is a foolish opinion, which some hold, that dildoes are mortal, live and die, that they are nourished and have excrements, that they feel pain if they be hurt (which Dr. Guin confirms, and Rivet justly laughs him to scorn for), and, if their bodies be cut, with admirable celerity they come together again. The cautious Godefridus sets this condition, that the dildo must in such cases be possessed, for that this does occur is common knowledge, and also well set forth in reliable Histories by Gellius and others.
A dildo may be made of air, as Suetonius confirms, which is a supple and lasting substance, and a very gentle fricative; it may be of coal, or hammered copper, in which case the inferior workman may yet prove the better friend, for what delights in a candlestick may disappoint in a dildo, says Busbequius, as cited by Pigiron, namely delicacy, sheen, and regularity. A dildo may be of fired clay and sprung from a catapult, “at a fixed or moving Target-very moving,” as the wag Pistol has it. It may be of clotted cream or curl papers. A lead dildo is called a Dutch Uncle, a dildo proceeding unnoticed past a sentry post is called a silent partner, a dildo spoken about but not yet seen is called a summons-to-court or a man about town. A wicker dildo is popular in equatorial climates, as Kornmannus relates, and this is called a windlass or an airy fairy. Nicknames for dildoes are too numerous to list here; some in common use are: dried haddock, welsh rarebit, gay blade, abigail, alderman, woodpecker, bum steer bed-post, and beau-nasty.
A blue dildo is for remembrance, a red one for truth, the rare silver dildo is for the first-born son on reaching his majority. In ancient texts it may be seen that a dildo of Moroccan leather is suitable for a lady of the merchant class, while her husband may sport one of Cordovan leather. If it be made of pigskin, the lady is said to be “high on the hog.” Gentlewomen, however, use ivory if their husbands can afford it; often this becomes an heirloom, passed down from mother to daughter, kept in pride of place above the mantel, and passed over while many another ancestral treasure is borne away to be sold. Often these are finely figured, in low relief, though this practise is condemned by the stern Schottus, who calls it “a vanity, a species of idolatry, and injurious to the liver.” A charming variant with an ancient history is the little horn dildo, imprinted with the alphabet in upper and lower case, the nine digits, and the Lord’s Prayer. A hole was bored through the handle, and a cord was inserted so that the dildo could be hung from the neck, wrist, or waist.
The little dildo in daily use may seem like a distant relation of the ancient stone dildoes engraved with the names of dead kings that are still standing in parts of Abyssinia, but this range of uses and styles is intrinsic to the dildo. A dildo may be somber as a memorial statue, or playful and quick as a minnow. It may come together in an instant like a surprising sound and then dissolve. It may be made of pride, or compassion, or cat-gut, it may lace up or inflate. A tree-stump used as a dildo will later sprout. A man’s parts make a fine dildo, as Pompon stiffly maintains, and Bonius the Jesuit concurs. A doll may be a dildo, or a pillar of salt; there are dildoes of wrought iron, of brick, of water, of stitched horsehide packed with straw, of knotted string, ink, and ice, of gears turned by a tiny water wheel, of hint or innuendo, tar, sugar, and sal ammoniac, of vanity, of lamb’s wool, of pig’s bladders, of giant blocks of sandstone smoothed by the passage of time, of stuffed tapirs, sundials, mirrors, or bridges. A dildo may be blown out of glass. A charm or a coin may be sealed inside; ask a glassblower how this is done. A model ship may be tweaked erect inside the dildo by means of threads. This signifies the voyage that is sex, and the danger of capsizing. A memory of a lover is also a dildo, however fleeting. Be careful when you say the words mildew, Bilbao, bibelot, billet-doux, or even peccadillo, that you do not accidentally summon a dildo, for truly, you do not know what will answer your call.
thrown into woman’s lap controls her will, 128, 220 n. 6
propounds riddles, 68-9
baffling malice with ready answers, 41-2
hung at every corner of a ship, 61
girl sold for a, 26, 205 n. 18
and the Pricke of Conscience, 179
nix flies from, 42
with ae stamp o the melten goud, another o silver clear, 63, 178
emits blood on being approached by murderer, 162
displayed, to embarrass a gallant, 202 n.7
shot six score paces (three score rod, a hundred rod, two north country miles and an inch) to cleave apple on boy’s head, 2, 4, 162-3
or ring, choice given to maid, signifying death of violator or marriage with him, 62
bridegroom accidentally but fatally wounded by bride’s dildo on wedding night, 28
diminutive, but nimble, defeats huge and dangerous antagonist, 181
knight obliges lady to go off with him by sticking dildo in her sleeve, 35
desired by pregnant women, 46
running with milk, 74-5
fathers nine pups, a pig and a boy, 127
enchanted, returned to human form by gaining girl’s love, by being admitted to maid’s bed, by a kiss, 4, 64, 72-3
enchanted, which will serve four-and-twenty maids at once, 137
exhibited, as token of conquest of mistress’s virtue, 38
wrung in grief, 32
sea king’s daughter has one of sixty ell’s length, 93
used to draw a man out of a well, 182
made from drowned maid’s bones and skin, or from reeds or tree into which drowned girl had grown up; tells of murder, 107-110
made of hot iron, as punishment for infidelity, 31
its love for the body, 104
Debates between Bodie and Dildo, 99
as king’s ransom, demanded by fairy queen, by Elfen Knight, 156-7
halved by husband and wife at parting, serves to identify husband or lover returned after long absence; parts join of themselves on meeting, 29, 142
straking troth on, three times, 31
and dowsing, 99
secret revealed to, after oath of silence, and overheard, 33, 61
whetted on straw, grass, a stone, the ground, wiped or dried on sleeve, grass before using, 2, 21, 29, 56
which by rusting or dimming shows giver is dead, 68
sent to jailor as warrant of queen’s authority, 197
called for by girls about to be executed, 49
brought to life by immersion in water, holy water, milk, blood, 65
laid in bed between man and woman, 28
milk-white, four-and-twenty, demanded by bride, 88
ridden by witches, 165
in battle, 79, 83, or gladiatorial combat, 81
as murder weapon, daubd wi blude, 168
og den lille Pigge, Danish, 32
given back to dying man by maid, 32
euphemisms for, gude neighbor, good damsel, auld wee man, 191
transformation of, into beautiful lady, youth, linden-worm, king’s son, fish, wolf, ugly worm, lost lover, fiend, fause knicht, 20, 136-7, 150, 164, 168, 179
Conjunctions:37 Twentieth Anniversary Issue
* Shortly after the printing of the first edition a warrant was issued for “Francis Basset, Stationer” for the publication of this “immoderate and deranged” work. Basset was imprisoned and lost his shop and two years of trade. It cost him some 300 pounds before he was able to prove that he, “had not any knowledge nor never heard of it, contributed to it, read it, nor delivered it out.”