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 Bottom Next page   


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 XIII: The Conclusion of the Story of the Shepherdess Marcela,
with other Incidents.


But scarce had the day begun to discover itself through the balconies of the east, when five of the six goatherds got up and went to awake Don Quixote, and asked him whether he continued in his resolution of going to see the famous funeral of Chrysostom, for they would bear him company. Don Quixote, who desired nothing more, got up, and bid Sancho saddle and pannel immediately, which he did with great expedition: and with the same despatch they all presently set out on their way.

They had not gone a quarter of a league when upon crossing a pathway they saw six shepherds making towards them, clad in black sheep-skin jerkins, and their heads crowned with garlands of cypress and bitter -[46]- rosemary. Each of them had a thick holly club in his hand. There came also with them two cavaliers on horseback in very handsome riding-habits, attended by three lacqueys on foot. When they had joined companies they saluted each other courteously; and asking one another whither they were going, they found they were all going to the place of burial; and so they began to travel in company.

One of those on horseback speaking to his companion, said, "I fancy, Signor Vivaldo, we shall not think the time mis-spent in staying to see this famous funeral: for it cannot choose but be extraordinary considering the strange things these shepherds have recounted, as well of the deceased shepherd as of the murdering shepherdess." — "I think so too," answered Vivaldo; "and I do not only think much of spending one day, but I would even stay four to see it." Don Quixote asked them what it was they had heard of Marcela and Chrysostom. The traveller said they had met those shepherds early that morning, and that seeing them in that mournful dress they had asked the occasion of their going clad in that manner; and that one of them had related the story, telling them of the beauty and unaccountable humour of a certain shepherdess called Marcela, and the loves of many that wooed her; with the death of Chrysostom, to whose burial they were going: in short, he related all that Pedro had told to Don Quixote.

This discourse ceased and another began; he who was called Vivaldo asking Don Quixote what might be the reason that induced him to go armed in that manner through a country so peaceable. To which Don Quixote answered, "The profession I follow will not allow or suffer me to go in any other manner. The dance, the banquet, and the bed of down, were invented for soft and effeminate courtiers; but toil, disquietude, and arms, were designed for those whom the world calls knights-errant, of which number I, though unworthy, am the least." Scarcely had they heard this when they all concluded he was a madman. And for the more certainty, and to try what kind of madness his was, Vivaldo asked him what he meant by knights-errant?" Have you not read, Sir," answered Don Quixote, "the annals and histories of England, wherein are recorded the famous exploits of King Arthur, whom in our Castilian tongue we perpetually call King Artus, of whom there goes an old tradition and a common one all over that kingdom of Great Britain, that this King did not die, but that by magic art he was turned into a raven; and that in process of time he shall reign again and recover his kingdom and sceptre; for which reason it cannot be proved that from that time to this any Englishman hath killed a raven. Now in this good king's time was instituted that famous order of the Knights of the Round Table, and the amours therein related of Sir Lancelot of the Lake with the Queen Ginebra, passed exactly as they are recorded, that honourable Duenna Quintaniona being their go-between and confidante, which gave birth to that well-known ballad so cried up here in Spain of— "Never was knight by ladies so well served as was Sir Lancelot when he came from Britain:" with the rest of that sweet and charming recital of his amours and exploits. Now from that time the order of chivalry has been extending and spreading itself through many and divers parts of the world: and in this profession many have been distinguished and renowned for their heroic deeds, as the valiant Amadis de Gaul, with all his sons and nephews to the fifth generation; the valorous Felixmarte of Hircania; and the never-enough-to-be-praised -[47]- Tirante the White: and we in our days have in a manner seen, heard, and conversed with the invincible and valorous knight Don Belianis of Greece. This, gentlemen, it is to be a knight-errant, and what I have told you of is the order of chivalry; of which, as I said before, I, though a sinner, have made profession; and the very same thing that the aforesaid knights professed, I profess. And so I travel through these solitudes and deserts seeking adventures, with a determined resolution to oppose my arm and my person to the most perilous that fortune shall present, in aid of the weak and the needy."

By these discourses the travellers were fully convinced that Don Quixote was out of his wits, and what kind of madness it was that influenced him, which struck them with the same admiration that it did all others at the first hearing. And Vivaldo, who was a very discerning person, and also of a mirthful disposition, that they might pass without irksomeness the little of the way that remained before they came to the funeral mountain, resolved to give him an opportunity of going on in his extravagances; and therefore he said to him: "Methinks, Sir Knight-errant, you have taken upon you one of the strictest professions upon earth: and I verily believe that of the Carthusian monks themselves is not so rigid." — "It may be as strict, for aught I know," answered our Don Quixote; "but that it is so necessary to the world, I am within two fingers' breadth of doubting; for to speak the truth, the soldier who executes his captain's orders does no less than the captain himself who gives him the orders. I would say, that the religious with all peace and quietness implore heaven for the good of the world; but we soldiers and knights really execute what they pray for, defending it with the strength of our arms and the edge of our swords: and that not under covert, but in open field, exposed to the insufferable beams of summer's sun and winter's horrid ice. So that we are God's ministers upon earth, and the arms by which he executes his justice in it. And considering that matters of war and those relating thereto cannot be put in execution without sweat, toil, and labour, it follows that they who profess it do unquestionably take more pains than they who in perfect peace and repose are employed in praying to heaven to assist those who can do but little for themselves. I mean not to say, nor do I so much as imagine that the state of the knight-errant is as good as that of the recluse religious: I would only infer from what I suffer, that it is doubtless more laborious, more bastinadoed, more hungry and thirsty, more wretched, more ragged, and more lousy. For there is no doubt but that the knights-errant of old underwent many misfortunes in the course of their lives; and if some of them rose to be emperors by the valour of their arm, in good truth they paid dearly for it in blood and sweat; and if those who arrived to such honour had wanted enchanters and sages to assist them, they would have been mightily deceived in their hopes, and much disappointed in their expectations."

"I am of the same opinion," replied the traveller: "but there is one thing in particular, among many others, which I dislike in knights-errant, and it is this: when they are prepared to engage in some great and perilous adventure, in which they are in manifest danger of losing their lives in the very instant of the encounter, they never once remember to commend themselves to God, as every Christian is bound to do in the like perils, but rather commend themselves to their mistresses, and that with as much fervour and devotion as if they were their God; a thing which to me -[48]- savours strongly of paganism." — "Signor," answered Don Quixote, "this can by no means be otherwise; and the knight-errant who should act in any other manner would digress much from his duty: for it is a received maxim and custom in chivalry, that the knight-errant who being about to attempt some great feat of arms, has his lady before him, must turn his eyes fondly and amorously toward her, as if by them he implored her favour and protection in the doubtful moment of distress he is just entering upon. And though nobody hears him, he is obliged to mutter some words between his teeth, by which he commends himself to her with his whole heart, and of this we have innumerable examples in the histories. And you must not suppose by this that they are to neglect commending themselves to God; for there is time and leisure enough to do it in the progress of the work." — "But for all that," replied the traveller, "I have one scruple still remaining, which is, that I have often read that words arising between two knights-errant, and choler beginning to kindle in them both, they turn their horses round, and fetching a large compass about the field, immediately without more ado encounter at full speed; and in the midst of their career they commend themselves to their mistresses: and what commonly happens in the encounter is, that one of them tumbles back over his horse's crupper, pierced through and through by his adversary's lance, and if the other had not laid hold of his horse's mane, he could not have avoided coming to the ground. Now I cannot imagine what leisure the deceased had to commend himself to God in the course of this so hasty a work. Better it had been if the words he spent in commending himself to his lady in the midst of the career had been employed about that to which as a Christian he was obliged. And besides, it is certain that all knights-errant have not ladies to commend themselves to, because they are not all in love." — "That cannot be," answered Don Quixote: "I say there cannot be a knight-errant without a mistress; for it is as proper and as natural to them to be in love as to the sky to be full of stats. And I affirm, you cannot show me an history in which a knight-errant is to be found without an amour: and for the very reason of his being without one, he would not be reckoned a legitimate knight, but a bastard, and one that got into the fortress of chivalry, not by the door, but over the pales, like a thief and a robber."— "Yet for all that," said the traveller, "I think, if I am not much mistaken, I have read that Don Galaor, brother to the valorous Amadis de Gaul, never had a particular mistress to whom he might commend himself: notwithstanding which he was not the less esteemed, and was a very valiant and famous knight." To which our Don Quixote answered: "Signor, one swallow makes no summer. Besides, I very well know that this knight was in secret very deeply enamoured: he was a general lover, and could not resist his natural inclination towards all ladies whom he thought handsome. But in short, it is very well attested that he had one whom he had made mistress of his will, and to whom he often commended himself, though very secretly; for it was upon this quality of secrecy that he especially valued himself."

"If it be essential that every knight-errant must be a lover," said the traveller, "it is to be presumed that your worship is one, as you are of the profession: and if you do not pique yourself upon the same secrecy as Don Galaor, I earnestly entreat you, in the name of this good company, and in my own to tell us the name, country, quality, and beauty of your mistress, who cannot but account herself happy if all the world knew that she is -[49]- loved and served by so worthy a knight as your worship appears to be." Here Don Quixote fetched a deep sigh, and said: "I cannot positively affirm whether this sweet enemy of mine is pleased or not, that the world should know I am her servant: I can only say, in answer to what you so very courteously inquire of me, that her name is Dulcinea; her country Toboso, a town of la Mancha; her quality at least that of a princess, since she is my queen and sovereign lady; her beauty more than human, since in her all the impossible and chimerical attributes of beauty which the poets ascribe to their mistresses are realized: for her hairs are of gold, her forehead the Elysian fields, her eyebrows rainbows, her eyes suns, her cheeks roses, her lips coral, her teeth pearls, her neck alabaster, her bosom marble, her hands ivory, her whiteness snow; and the parts which modesty veils from human sight, such as to my thinking the most exalted imagination can only conceive, but not find a comparison for." — "We would know," replied Vivaldo, "her lineage, race, and family." To which Don Quixote answered: "She is not of the ancient Roman Curtii, Caii, and Scipios, nor of the modern Colonnas and Ursinis; nor of the Moneadas and Requesenes of Catalonia; neither is she of the Rebellas and Villanovas of Valentia; the Palafoxes, Nuzas, Rocabertis, Corellas, Lunas, Alagones, Urreas, Foces, and Gurreas of Arragon; the Cerdas, Manriques, Mendozas, and Gusmans of Castille; the Alencastros, Pallas and Meneses of Portugal: but she is of those of Toboso de la Mancha; a lineage, though modern, yet such as may give a noble beginning to the most illustrious families of the ages to come: and in this let no one contradict me, unless it be on the conditions that Cerbino fixed under Orlando's arms, where it was said: "Let no one remove these who cannot stand a trial with Orlando." — "Although mine be of the Cachopines of Laredo," replied the traveller, "I dare not compare it with that of Toboso de la Mancha; though, to say the truth, no such appellation hath ever reached my ears until now." — "Is it possible you should never have heard of it," replied Don Quixote.

All the rest went on listening with great attention to the dialogue between these two: and even the goatherds and shepherds perceived the notorious distraction of our Don Quixote. Sancho Panza alone believed all that his master said to be true, knowing who he was, and having been acquainted with him from his birth. But what he somewhat doubted of, was what concerned the fair Dulcinea dul Toboso; for no such a name or princess had ever come to his hearing, though he lived so near Toboso.

In these discourses they went on, when they discovered through an opening made by two high mountains, about twenty shepherds coming down, all in jerkins of black wool, and crowned with garlands, which, as appeared afterwards, were some of yew and some of cypress. Six of them carried a bier covered with great variety of flowers and boughs; which one of the goatherds espying, he said: "They who come yonder are those who bring the corpse of Chrysostom; and the foot of yonder mountain is the place where he ordered them to bury him." They made haste therefore to arrive, which they did just as the bier was set down on the ground: and four of them with sharp pickaxes were making the grave by the side of a hard rock. They saluted one another courteously, and presently Don Quixote and his company went to take a view of the bier; upon which they saw a dead body strewed with flowers, (40) in the dress of a shepherd, seemingly about thirty years of age: and though dead, you might perceive that he had been when alive of a beautiful countenance and hale -[50]- constitution. Several books, and a great number of papers, some open and others folded up, lay round about him on the bier. All that were present, as well those who looked on as those who were opening the grave, kept a marvellous silence, until one of those who brought the deceased said to another: "Observe carefully, Ambrosio, whether this be the place which Chrysostom mentioned, since you are so punctual in performing what he commanded in his will." — "This is it," answered Ambrosio; "for in this very place he often recounted to me the story of his misfortune. Here it was he told me that he first saw that mortal enemy of human race: here it was that he declared to her his no less honourable than ardent passion: here it was that Marcela finally undeceived and treated him with such disdain, that she put an end to the tragedy of his miserable life: and here, in memory of so many misfortunes, he desired to be deposited in the bowels of eternal oblivion."

Then turning himself to Don Quixote and the travellers, he went on saying, "This body, Sirs, which you are beholding with compassionate eyes, was the receptacle of a soul in which Heaven had placed a great part of its treasure: this is the body of Chrysostom, who was singular for wit, matchless in courtesy, perfect in politeness, a phoenix in friendship, magnificent without ostentation, grave without arrogance, cheerful without meanness; in short, the first in everything that was good, and second to none in everything that was unfortunate. He loved, he was abhorred: he adored, he was scorned; he courted a savage; he solicited marble; he pursued the wind; he called aloud to solitude; he served ingratitude; and the recompense he obtained was to become a prey to death in the midst of the career of his life, to which an end was put by a certain shepherdess whom he endeavoured to render immortal in the memories of men; as these papers you are looking at would sufficiently demonstrate had he not ordered me to commit them to the flames at the same time that his body was deposited in the earth." — "You would then be more rigorous and cruel to them," said Vivaldo, "than their master himself; for it is neither just nor right to fulfil the will of him who commands something utterly unreasonable. Augustus Caesar would not consent to the execution of what the divine Mantuan had commanded in his will. So that, Signor Ambrosio, though you commit your friend's body to the earth, do not therefore commit his writings to oblivion; and if he ordered it as a person injured, do not you fulfil it as one indiscreet; rather act so that by giving life to these papers the cruelty of Marcela may never be forgotten, but may serve for an example to those who shall live in times to come, that they may avoid falling down the like precipices; for I and all here present already know the story of this your enamoured and despairing friend: we know also your friendship, and the occasion of his death, and what he ordered on his deathbed: from which lamentable history may be gathered how great has been the cruelty of Marcela, the love of Chrysostom, and the sincerity of your friendship; as also the end of those who run headlong in the path that inconsiderate and ungoverned love sets before them. Last night we heard of Chrysostom's death, and that he was to be interred in this place: and so out of curiosity and compassion we turned out of our way, and agreed to come and behold with our eyes what had moved us so much in the recital; and in return for our pity and our desire to remedy it if we could, we beseech you, O discreet Ambrosio, at least I request it on my own behalf, that you will not burn the papers but let me carry away -[51]- some of them." And without staying for the shepherd's reply, he stretched out his hand, and took some of those that were nearest; which Ambrosio perceiving, he said, "Out of civility, Signor, I will consent to your keeping those you have taken; but to imagine that I shall forbear burning those that remain is a vain thought." Vivaldo, who desired to see what the papers contained, presently opened one of them, which had for its title, "The Song of Despair." Ambrosio hearing it, said, "This is the last paper which this unhappy man wrote; and that you may see, Signor, to what state he was reduced by his misfortunes, read it so as to be heard; for you will have leisure enough while they are digging the grave." — "That I will with all my heart," said Vivaldo; and as all the bye-standers had the same desire, they drew round about him, and he read in an audible voice as follows:

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