Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[42]-

The Life and Exploits
of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes, Translated by Charles Jarvis, Esq.

The First Part
 

CHAPTER XII: What a certain Goatherd related to those that were with Don Quixote.

 

While this passed there came another of those young lads who brought them their provisions from the village, and said, "Comrades, do you know what passes in the village?" "How should we know?" answered one of them. "Know then," continued the youth, "that this morning died that famous shepherd and scholar Chrysostom; and it is whispered that he died for love of that devilish untoward lass Marcela, daughter of William the Rich; she who rambles about these woods and fields in the dress of a shepherdess." "For Marcela, say you?" quoth one. "For her, I say," answered the goatherd: "and the best of it is, he has ordered by his will that they should bury him in the fields, as if he had been a Moor, and that it should be at the foot of the rock by the cork-tree fountain; for according to report, and what they say he himself declared, that was the very place where he first saw her. He ordered also other things so extravagant, that the clergy say they must not be performed; nor is it fit they should, for they seem to be heathenish. To all which that great friend of his, Ambrosio the Student, who accompanied him likewise in the dress of a shepherd, answers, that the whole must be fulfilled without omitting anything, as Chrysostom enjoined; and upon this the village is all in an uproar: but by what I can learn they will at last do what Ambrosio and all the shepherd's friends require; and to-morrow they come to inter him with great solemnity in the place I have already told you of. And I am of opinion it will be very well worth seeing; at least I will not fail to go, though I knew I should not return to-morrow to the village." "We will do so too," answered the goatherds, and let us cast lots to determine who shall stay behind to look after all our goats." "You say well, Pedro," quoth another: "but it will be needless to make use of this expedient, for I will stay for you all: and do not attribute this to virtue or want of curiosity in me, but to the thorn which struck into my foot the other day and hinders me from walking." "We are obliged to you, however," answered Pedro.

Chrysostom
Chrysostom

Don Quixote desired Pedro to tell him who the deceased was, and who that shepherdess. To which Pedro answered, that all he knew was, that the deceased was a wealthy gentleman of a neighbouring village among the hills thereabout, who had studied many years in Salamanca; at the end of which time he returned home with the character of a very knowing and well-read person: particularly it was said, he understood the science of the stars, and what the sun and moon are doing in the sky: for he told us punctually the clipse of the sun and moon." "Friend," quoth Don Quixote, "the obscuration of those two greater luminaries is called an Eclipse and not a Clipse." But Pedro, not regarding niceties, went on with his story, saying: "He also foretold when the year would be plentiful or estril." "Steril, you would say, friend," quoth Don Quixote, "Steril or estril," answered Pedro, "comes all to the same thing. And, as I was saying, his father and friends who gave credit to his words, became very rich thereby; for they followed his advice in everything. This year he would say, sow barley and not wheat; in this you may sow vetches, and not barley: the next year there will be plenty of oil; the three following there will not be a drop." "This science they call -[43]- Astrology," said Don Quixote. "I know not how it is called," replied Pedro; "but I know that he knew all this, and more too. In short, not many months after he came from Salamanca, on a certain day he appeared dressed like a shepherd, with his crook and sheep-skin jacket, having thrown aside his scholar's gown; and with him another, a great friend of his called Ambrosio, who had been his fellow-student, and now put himself into the same dress of a shepherd. I forgot to tell you how the deceased Chrysostom was a great man at making verses; insomuch that he made the carols for Christmas-eve, and the religious plays for Corpus Christi, which the boys of our village represented, and everybody said they were most excellent. When the people of the village saw the two scholars so suddenly habited like shepherds, they were amazed, and could not guess at the cause that induced them to make that strange alteration in their dress. About this time the father of Chrysostom died, and he inherited a large estate in lands and goods, flocks, herds, and money; all of which the youth remained dissolute master; and indeed he deserved it all, for he was a very good companion, a charitable man, and a friend to those that were good, and had a face like any blessing. Afterwards it came to be known that he changed his habit, for no other purpose but that he might wander about those desert places after that shepherdess Marcela, whom our lad told you of before, and with whom the poor deceased Chrysostom was in love. And I will now tell you, for it is fit you should know who this young slut is; for perhaps, and even without a perhaps, you may never have heard the like in all the days of your life, though you were as old as the itch." "Say, as old as Sarah," replied Don Quixote, not being able to endure the goatherd's mistaking words. "The itch is old enough," answered Pedro, "and, Sir, if you must at every turn be correcting my words, we shall not have done this twelvemonth." "Pardon me, friend," said Don Quixote, "I told you of it, because there is a wide difference between the itch and Sarah: (39) and so go on with your story; for I will interrupt you no more."

"I say then, dearest Sir," quoth the goatherd, "that in our village there was a farmer richer than the father of Chrysostom, called William, on whom God bestowed besides much and great wealth a daughter, of whom her mother died in childbed, and she was the most respected woman of all our country. I cannot help thinking I see her now, with that presence, looking as if she had the sun on one side of her and the moon on the other: and above all, she was a notable housewife, and a friend to the poor; for which I believe her soul is at this very moment enjoying God in the other world. Her husband William died for grief at the death of so good a woman, leaving his daughter Marcela young and rich, under the care of an uncle a priest, and beneficed in our village. The girl grew up with so much beauty, that it put us in mind of her mother's, who had a great share, and for all that it was judged that her daughter's would surpass hers. And so it fell out; for when she came to be fourteen or fifteen years of age, nobody beheld her without blessing God for making her so handsome, and most men were in love with and undone for her. Her uncle kept her very carefully and very close: notwithstanding which the fame of her extraordinary beauty spread itself so, that partly for her person, partly for her great riches, her uncle was applied to, solicited, and importuned, not only by those of our own village, but by many others, and those the better sort too, for several leagues round, to dispose of her in -[44]- marriage. But he, who to do him justice is a good Christian, though he was desirous to dispose of her as soon as she was marriageable, yet would not do it without her consent, having no eye to the benefit and advantage he might have made of the girl's estate by deferring her marriage. And In good truth this has been told in praise of the good priest, in more companies than one in our village. For I would have you to know, Sir- errant, that in these little places everything is talked of and everything censured; and my life for yours, that clergyman must be over and above good who obliges his parishioners to speak well of him, especially in country towns."

"It is true," said Don Quixote; "and proceed: for the story is excellent, and, honest Pedro, you tell it with a good grace." "May the grace of the Lord never fail me, which is most to the purpose. And farther know," quoth Pedro, "that, though the uncle proposed to his niece, and acquainted her with the qualities of everyone in particular of the many who sought her in marriage, advising her to marry, and choose to her liking, she never returned any other answer but that she was not disposed to marry at present, and that being so young, she did not find herself able to bear the burden of matrimony. Her uncle, satisfied with these seemingly just excuses, ceased to importune her, and waited till she was grown a little older, and knew how to choose a companion to her taste. For, said he, and he said very well, parents ought not to settle their children against their will. But behold! when we least imagined it, on a certain day the coy Marcela appears a shepherdess, and, without the consent of her uncle, and against the persuasions of all the neighbours, would needs go into the fields with the other country lasses, and tend her own flock. And now that she appeared in public, and her beauty was exposed to all beholders, it is impossible to tell you how many wealthy youths, gentlemen, and farmers, have taken Chrysostom's dress, and go up and down these plains, making their suit to her: one of whom, as is said already, was the deceased, of whom it is said, that he rather adored than loved her. But think not, that, because Marcela has given herself up to this free and unconfined way of life, and that with so little, or rather no reserve, she has any the least colour of suspicion to the prejudice of her modesty and discretion: no, rather so great and strict is the watch she keeps over her honour, that of all those who serve and solicit her, no one has boasted, or can boast with truth, that she has given him the least hope of obtaining his desire. For though she does not fly nor shun the company and conversation of the shepherds, but treats them with courtesy, and in a friendly manner, yet upon any one's beginning to discover his intention, though it be as just and holy as that of marriage, she casts him from her as out of a stone-bow. And by this sort of behaviour she does more mischief in this country, than if she carried the plague about with her; for her affability and beauty attract the hearts of those who converse with her, to serve and love her; but her disdain and frank dealing drive them to terms of despair: and so they know not what to say to her, and can only exclaim against her, calling her cruel and ungrateful, with such other titles as plainly denote her character. And were you to abide here, Sir, awhile, you would hear these mountains and valleys resound with the complaints of those undeceived wretches that yet follow her. There is a place not far from hence, where there are about two dozen of tall beeches, and not one of them but has the name of Marcela written and engraved on its smooth bark; and over some -[45]- of them is a crown carved in the same tree, as if the lover would more clearly express that Marcela bears away the crown, and deserves it above all human beauty. Here sighs one shepherd, there complains another: here are heard amorous sonnets, there despairing ditties. You shall have one pass all the hours of the night, seated at the foot of some oak or rock; and there, without closing his weeping eyes, wrapped up and transported in his thoughts, the sun finds him in the morning. You shall have another without cessation or truce to his sighs, in the midst of the most irksome noon-day heat of the summer, extended on the burning sand, and sending up his complaints to all-pitying heaven. In the meantime the beautiful Marcela, free and unconcerned, triumphs over them all. We, who know her, wait with impatience to see what her haughtiness will come to, and who is to be the happy man that shall subdue so intractable a disposition, and enjoy so incomparable a beauty. All that I have recounted being so assured a truth, I the more easily believe what our companion told us concerning the cause of Chrysostom's death. And therefore I advise you, Sir, that you do not fail to-morrow to be at his funeral, which will be very well worth seeing: for Chrysostom has a great many friends; and it is not half a league from this place to that, where he ordered himself to be buried."

"I will certainly be there," said Don Quixote, "and I thank you for the pleasure you have given me by the recital of so entertaining a story." "Oh," replied the goatherd, "I do not yet know half the adventures that have happened to Marcela's lovers; but to-morrow, perhaps, we shall meet by the way with some shepherd who may tell us more: at present it will not be amiss that you get to sleep under some roof; for the cold dew of the night may do your wound harm, though the salve I have put to it is such that you need not fear any cross accident." Sancho Panza, who for his part gave this long-winded tale of the goatherd's to the devil, pressed his master to lay himself down to sleep in Pedro's hut. He did so, and passed the rest of the night in remembrances of his Lady Dulcinea, in imitation of Marcela's lovers. Sancho Panza took up his lodging between Rozinante and his ass, and slept it out, not like a discarded lover but like a person well rib-roasted.

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

Gavilan Spanish Questions or comments Bibliographic Record Index page Previous page Top Next page