Bollocks in 16th century Spanish writing

Where arse turns up regularly in jokes, proverbs and stories, bollocks–cojones–in CORDE’s version of sixteenth century Spain seem to be confined to medical treatises and to a verse novel of quite extraordinary and possibly unsurpassed filth. The anonymous Carajicomedia (1519) consists of the adventures of the noble Diego Fajardo’s one-eyed trouser snake, which is said not to have observed the sky for some 40 years, and apparently parodies Laberinto de Fortuna (which I have not read), “replacing allegories with notorious prostitutes.” I guess you could classify it as a nightly romance.

Leora Lev writes that Linde M Brocato sees it as a “literary [text] in which social constructions of legitimacy vs. queerness are mapped onto cities and the bodies who inhabit them.” Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo (Historia de los heterodoxos españoles), on the other hand, describes the Cancionero de burlas, of which it forms a part, as “immoral and licentious, cynical, crude and vile, although of some curiosity in terms of the history of language and customs.” I know who I’d want to write my back flap blurb.

Unfortunately I don’t feel up to translating verse at the moment–I may attempt some of it later–so to avoid offence I’ll leave you with one of my favourite music jokes, which I have heard in both English and Dutch:

An unemployed pianist with a somewhat wild air goes into the Ritz to see if there’s any work available. The maître de looks him over, scratches his chins, and says, “Hmm, ply mi wan of zeze balladz,” so the pianist trots over to the grand on the podium and runs off a lovely little number.
“Hmm,” murmurs the maître de appreciatively, “vat vaz zat cold?”
“I CRAP ALL OVER YOUR DRESS,” shouts the pianist, I WROTE IT MYSELF.”
“Hmm, intrezting, says the maître de. “Ply mi zomzing elz.”
Piano man launches into another number, and the maître de is obviously impressed.
“DID YOU LIKE THAT? THAT WAS CALLED I COME IN YOUR FACE. I WROTE IT MYSELF.”
“Hmm,” says the maître de, “yor hide. Zchenge into a smeuking–ze vaiterz hev zem–an be raidy in ten minutz. Ve hev emportant guestz, zo bi kayful vot yu say.”
Anyway, the guests come in, and the pianist makes his way over to the podium in a pair of trousers obviously two sizes too small and starts playing. At the end of the first number, the maître de sidles over to him and mutters in his ear, “Do you knaw your bollocks er hanging out?”
“YOUR BOLLOCKS ARE HANGING OUT,” yells the pianist, launching into a haunting, slow foxtrot, “I WROTE IT MYSELF.”

Given the comparative shortage of the afore-mentioned parts in jokes of all ages from these parts, I suspect that this particular example’s origins are not Iberian.

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