Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[267]-

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 XLVII: Of the strange and wonderful Manner in which Don Quixote de la Mancha was enchanted; with other remarkable Occurrences.

 

Don Quixote, finding himself cooped up in this manner, and placed upon a cart, said: "Many and most grave histories have I read of knights-errant; but I never read, saw, or heard of enchanted knights being carried away after this manner, and so slowly as these lazy, heavy animals seem to promise. For they always used to be carried through the air with wonderful speed, wrapped up in some thick and dark cloud, or in some chariot of fire, or mounted upon a hippogriff, or some such beast. But to be carried upon a waggon drawn by oxen, by the living God, it puts me into confusion. But, perhaps, the chivalry and enchantments of these our times may have taken a different turn from those of the ancients; and perhaps, also, as I am a new knight in the world, and the first who have revived the long-forgotten exercise of knight-errantry, there may have been lately invented other kinds of enchantments, and other methods of carrying away those that are enchanted. What think you of this, son Sancho?" "I do not know what I think," answered Sancho, "not being so well read as your worship in scriptures-errant. Yet I dare affirm and swear, that these hobgoblins here about us are not altogether Catholic." "Catholic indeed!" answered Don Quixote; "how can they be Catholic, being devils, who have assumed fantastic shapes, on purpose to come and put me into this state? And if you would be convinced of this, touch them and feel them, and you will find they have no bodies but of air, consisting in nothing but appearance only." "Before God, Sir," replied Sancho, "I have already touched them, and this devil, who is so very busy here about us, is as plump as a partridge, and has another property very different from what people say your devils are wont to have; for it is said, they all smell of brimstone, and other worse scents; but this spark smells of amber at half a league's distance." Sancho meant this of Don Fernando, who, being a cavalier of such quality, must have smelt as Sancho hinted. "Wonder not at it, friend Sancho," answered Don Quixote; "for you must know, that the devils are a knowing sort of people; and, supposing they do carry perfumes about them, they have no scents in themselves, because they are spirits; or, if they do smell, it can be of nothing that is good, but of something bad and stinking; and the reason is, because, let them be where they will, they carry their hell about them, and can receive no kind of ease from their torments; now, a perfume being a thing delightful and pleasing, it is not possible they should smell of so good a thing; and if you think that this devil smells of amber, either you deceive yourself, or he would deceive you, that you may not take him for a devil." All this discourse passed between the master and the man; and Don Fernando and Cardenio, fearing lest Sancho, who already had no small suspicion, should discover their plot, they resolved to hasten their departure, and calling the innkeeper aside, they ordered him to saddle Rozinante and pannel the ass, which he did with great expedition.

In the meanwhile the priest had agreed for so much a day with the troopers of the Holy Brotherhood, that they should accompany Don Quixote home to his village. Cardenio took care to hang the buckler on one side, and the basin on the other, of the pommel of Rozinante's saddle, -[268]- and made signs to Sancho to mount his ass, and take Rozinante by the bridle, and placed two troopers with their carbines on each side of the waggon. But, before the car moved forward, the hostess, her daughter, and Maritornes, came out to take their leaves of Don Quixote, pretending to shed tears for grief at his misfortune, to whom Don Quixote said: "Weep not, my good ladies; for these kinds of misfortunes are incident to those who profess what I profess; and if such calamities did not befall me I should not take myself for a knight-errant of any considerable fame; for such accidents as these never happen to knights of little name and reputation, since nobody in the world thinks of them at all: but to the valorous, indeed, they often fall out; for many princes and other knights, envious of their extraordinary virtue and courage, are constantly endeavouring, by indirect ways, to destroy them. Notwithstanding all which, so powerful is virtue, that of herself alone, in spite of all the necromancy that its first inventor, Zoroaster, ever knew, she will come off victorious from every encounter, and spread her lustre round the world, as the sun does over the heavens. Pardon me, fair ladies, if I have, through inadvertency, done you any displeasure; for willingly and knowingly I never offended any body; and pray to God that He would deliver me from these bonds, into which some evil-minded enchanter has thrown me; for if ever I find myself at liberty, I shall not forget the favours you have done me in this castle, but shall acknowledge and requite them as they deserve."

While this passed between the ladies of the castle and Don Quixote, the priest and the barber took their leave of Don Fernando and his companions, and of the captain, and his brother the judge, and of all the now happy ladies, especially of Dorothea and Lucinda. They all embraced, promising to give each other an account of their future fortunes. Don Fernando gave the priest directions where to write to him, and acquaint him with what became of Don Quixote, assuring him that nothing would afford him a greater pleasure than to know it; and that, on his part, he would inform him of whatever might amuse or please him, either in relation to his own marriage, or the baptizing of Zoraida, as also concerning Don Louis's success, and Lucinda's return to her parents. The priest promised to perform all that was desired of him, with the utmost punctuality. They again embraced, and renewed their mutual offers of service. The innkeeper came to the priest, and gave him some papers, telling him he found them in the lining of the wallet in which the novel of the "Curious Impertinent "was found, and since the owner had never come back that way, he might take them all with him; for, as he could not read, he had no desire to keep them. The priest thanked him, and, opening the papers, found at the head of them this title, "The Novel of Rinconete and Cortadillo;"(108) from whence he concluded it must be some tale; and imagined, because that of the "Curious Impertinent "was a good one, this must be so too, it being probable they were both written by the same author; and therefore he kept it with a design to read it, when he had an opportunity. Then he and his friend the barber mounted on horseback, with their masks on, that Don Quixote might not know them, and placed themselves behind the waggon; and the order of the cavalcade was this: first marched the car, guided by the owner; on each side went the troopers with their fire-locks, as has been already said; then followed Sancho upon his ass, leading Rozinante by the bridle; the priest and the barber brought up the rear on their puissant mules, and their faces masked with a grave and solemn air -[269]- marching no faster than the slow pace of the oxen allowed. Don Quixote sat in the cage, with his hands tied, and his legs stretched out, leaning against the bars, with as much patience and silence as if he had not been a man of flesh and blood, but a statue of stone. And thus, with the same slowness and silence, they travelled about two leagues, when they came to a valley, which the waggoner thought a convenient place for resting and baiting his cattle; and acquainting the priest with his purpose, the barber was of opinion they should travel a little farther, telling them, that behind a rising ground not far off there was a vale, which afforded more and much better grass than that in which they had a mind to stop. They took the barber's advice, and so went on.

Now the priest happening to turn his head about, perceived behind them about six or seven horsemen, well mounted and accoutred, who soon came up with them; for they travelled, not with the phlegm and slowness of the oxen, but as persons mounted on ecclesiastic mules, and in haste to arrive quickly, and pass the heat of the day in the inn, which appeared to be not a league off. The speedy overtook the slow, and the companies saluted each other courteously; and one of the travellers, who, in short, was a canon of Toledo, and master of the rest, observing the orderly procession of the waggon, the troopers, Sancho, Rozinante, the priest, and the barber, and especially Don Quixote caged up and imprisoned, could not forbear inquiring what was the meaning of carrying that man in that manner: though he already guessed, by seeing the badges of the Holy Brotherhood, that he must be some notorious robber, or other criminal, the punishment of whom belonged to that fraternity. One of the troopers to whom the question was put, answered thus: "Sir, if you would know the meaning of this gentleman's going in this manner, let him tell you himself; for we know nothing of the matter." Don Quixote overheard the discourse, and said: "If perchance, gentlemen, you are versed and skilled in matters in chivalry, I will acquaint you with my misfortunes; but if not I need not trouble myself to recount them." By this time, the priest and barber perceiving the travellers were in discourse with Don Quixote de la Mancha, were come close up, to be ready to give such an answer as might prevent the discovery of their plot. The canon, in answer to what Don Quixote said, replied: "In truth, brother, I am more conversant in books of chivalry, than in Villalpando's Summaries; so that, if that be all, you may safely communicate to me whatever you please." "With Heaven's permission," replied Don Quixote, "since it is so, you must understand, Signor Cavalier, that I am enchanted in this cage, through the envy and fraud of wicked necromancers; for virtue is more persecuted by the wicked, than beloved by the good. I am a knight-errant; not one of those whose names fame has forgotten to eternize, but one of those who, maugre and in despite of envy itself, and of all the magicians Persia ever bred, the Brahmins of India, and the gymnosophists of Ethiopia, shall enrol his name in the temple of immortality, to serve as an example and mirror to future ages, in which knights-errant may see the track they are to follow, if they are ambitious of reaching the honourable summit and pinnacle of arms." "Signor Don Quixote de la Mancha says the truth," cried the priest at this time; "for he goes enchanted in this waggon, not through his own fault or demerit, but through the malice of those, to whom virtue is odious, and courage offensive. This, Sir, is the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure, if ever you have heard him spoken of, whose valorous exploits and -[270]- heroic deeds shall be written on solid brass and everlasting marble, though envy take never so much pains to obscure, and malice to conceal them." When the canon heard him that was imprisoned, and him at liberty, both talk in such a style, he was ready to cross himself with amazement, not being able to imagine what had befallen him; and all his followers were in equal admiration.

Now Sancho being come up to them, and overhearing their discourse to set all to rights, said, "Look ye, gentlemen, let it be well or ill taken, I will out with it: the truth of the case is, my master Don Quixote is just as much enchanted as my mother; he is in his perfect senses, he eats and drinks, and does his occasions like other men, and as he did yesterday before they cooped him up. This being so, will you persuade me he is enchanted? Have I not heard many people say, that persons enchanted neither eat, sleep, nor speak? And my master, if nobody thwarts him, will talk ye more than thirty barristers." And, turning his eyes on the priest, he went on saying: "Ah, Master Priest, Master Priest, do you think I do not know you? And think you I do not perceive and guess what these new enchantments drive at? Let me tell you, I know you, though you disguise your face never so much; and I would have you to know, I understand you, though you manage your contrivances never so slily. In short, virtue cannot live, where envy reigns, nor liberality subsist with niggardliness. Evil befall the devil! had it not been for your reverence, my master had been married by this time to the Infanta Micomicon, and I had been an earl at least; for I could expect no less, as well from the generosity of my master, the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure, as from the greatness of my services. But I find the proverb true, that the wheel of fortune turns swifter than a mill-wheel, and they, who were yesterday at the top, are to-day on the ground. I am grieved for my poor wife and children; for when they might reasonably expect to see their father come home a governor or viceroy of some island or kingdom, they will now see him return a mere groom. All this that I have said, Master Priest, is only intended to put your paternity in mind to make a conscience of the evil treatment of my master; and take heed, that God does not call you to an account in the next life for this imprisonment of my lord, and require at your hands all those succours, and all the good he might have done, during this time of his confinement." "Snuff me these candles," cried the barber at this juncture; "what! Sancho, are you also of your master's confraternity? As God shall save me, I begin to think you are likely to keep him company in the cage, and to be as much enchanted as he for your share of his humour and his chivalry. In an evil hour were you with child by his promises, and in an evil hour the island you so long for entered into your pate." "I am not with child by anybody," answered Sancho, "nor am I a man to suffer myself to be got with child by the best king that may be; and though I am a poor man, I am an old Christian, and owe nobody anything; and if I covet islands, there are others who covet worse things; and everyone is the son of his own works, and being a man, I may come to be pope, and much more easily governor of an island, especially since my master may win so many, that he may be at a loss on whom to bestow them. Pray, Master Barber, take heed what you say; for shaving of beards is not all, and there is some difference between Pedro and Pedro. I say this, because we know one another, and there is no putting false dice upon me: as for my master's enchantment, -[271]- God knows the truth, and let that rest; for it is the worse for stirring." The barber would not answer Sancho, lest, by his simplicity, he should discover what he and the priest took so much pains to conceal; and for the same reason, the priest desired the canon to get on a little before, and he would let him into the secret of the encaged gentleman, with other particulars that would divert him.

The canon did so, and rode on before, with his servants, listening to all the priest had to tell him of the quality, manner of life and customs of Don Quixote; recounting to him briefly the beginning and cause of his distraction, with the whole progress of his adventures, to the putting him into that cage; and the design they had to carry him home, and try if by any means they might find a cure for his madness. The servants admired afresh, and the canon also, to hear the strange history of Don Quixote; and when he had heard it all, he said to the priest: "Truly, Sir, I am convinced that those they call books of chivalry are prejudicial to the common-weal; and though, led away by an idle and false taste, I have read the beginning of almost all that are printed, I could never prevail with myself to read any of them from the beginning to the end, because to me they appear to be all of the same stamp, and this to have no more in it than that, nor that than the other. And, in my opinion, this kind of writing and composition falls under the denomination of the fables they call Milesian, which are extravagant stories, tending only to please, and not to instruct; quite contrary to the moral fables, which at the same time both delight and instruct. And though the principal end of such books is to please, I know not how they can attain it, being stuffed with so many and such monstrous absurdities. For the pleasure which is conceived in the mind must proceed from the beauty and harmony it sees or contemplates in the things which the sight or the imagination sets before it; and nothing in itself ugly or deformed can afford any real satisfaction. For what beauty can there be, or what proportion of the parts to the whole, and of the whole to the parts, in a book or fable, in which a youth of sixteen years hews down with his sword a giant as big as a steeple, and splits him in two, as if he were made of paste? And when they would give us a description of a battle, after having said that on the enemies' side there are a million of combatants, let but the hero of the book be against them, we must of necessity, and in spite of our teeth, believe that such or such a knight carried the victory by the single valour of his strong arm. Then what shall we say to that facility with which a queen or an empress throws herself into the arms of an errant and unknown knight? What genius, not wholly barbarous and uncultivated, can be satisfied with reading that a vast tower, full of knights, scuds through the sea like a ship before the wind, and this night is in Lombardy, and the next morning in the country of Prester John in the Indies, or in some other, that Ptolemy never discovered, nor Marcus Paulus(109) ever saw? And if it should be answered, that the authors of such books write them professedly as lies, and therefore are not obliged to stand upon niceties, or truth; I reply, that fiction is so much the better the nearer it resembles truth, and pleases so much the more the more it has of the doubtful and possible. Fables should be suited to the reader's understanding, and so contrived, that by facilitating the impossible, lowering the vast, and keeping the mind in suspense, they may at once surprise, delight, amuse, and so entertain, that admiration and pleasure may be united, and go hand in hand; all which cannot be performed by him who pays no regard to -[272]- probability and imitation, in which the perfection of writing consists. I have never yet seen any book of chivalry which makes a complete body of fable with all its members, so that the middle corresponds to the beginning, and the end to the beginning and middle: on the contrary, they are composed of so many members, that the authors seem rather to design a chimera or monster than to intend a well-proportioned figure. Besides all this, their style is harsh, their exploits incredible, their amours lascivious, their civility impertinent, their battles tedious, their reasonings foolish, and their voyages extravagant; and, lastly, they are devoid of all ingenious artifice, and therefore deserve to be banished the Christian commonwealth, as an unprofitable race of people."

The priest listened to him with great attention, and took him to be a man of good understanding, and in the right in all he said; and therefore he told him, that being of the same opinion, and bearing an old grudge to books of chivalry, he had burnt all those belonging to Don Quixote, which were not a few. Then he gave him an account of the scrutiny he had made, telling him which of them he had condemned to the fire, and which he had reprieved; at which the canon laughed heartily, and said, notwithstanding all the ill he had spoken of such books, he found one thing good in them, which was the subject they presented for a good genius to display itself, affording a large and ample field in which the pen may expatiate without any let or incumbrance, describing shipwrecks, tempests, encounters and battles; delineating a valiant captain with all the qualifications requisite to make him such, showing his prudence in preventing the stratagems of his enemy, his eloquence in persuading or dissuading his soldiers; mature in council, prompt in execution, equally brave in expecting as in attacking the enemy: sometimes painting a sad and tragical accident, then a joyful and unexpected event; here a most beautiful lady, modest, discreet, and reserved; there a Christian knight, valiant and courteous; now an unruly and barbarous braggadocio; then an affable, valiant, and good-natured, prince: describing the goodness and loyalty of subjects, the greatness and generosity of nobles. Then again he may show himself an excellent astronomer or geographer, a musician, or a statesman; and some time or other, he may have an opportunity, if he pleases, of showing himself a necromancer. He may set forth the subtility of Ulysses, the piety of neas, the bravery of Achilles, the misfortunes of Hector, the treachery of Sinon, the friendship of Euryalus, the liberality of Alexander, the valour of Caesar, the clemency and probity of Trajan, the fidelity of Zopyrus, the wisdom of Cato, and finally all those actions which may serve to make an illustrious person perfect; sometimes placing them in one person alone, then dividing them among many; and this being done in a smooth and agreeable style, and with ingenious invention, approaching as near as possible to truth, will doubtless weave a web of such various and beautiful contexture, that, when it is finished, the perfection and excellency of it may attain to the ultimate end of writing; that is, both to instruct and delight, as I have already said: because the unconfined way of writing these books gives an author room to show his skill in the epic or lyric, in tragedy or comedy, with all the parts included in the sweet and charming sciences of poetry and oratory; for the epic may be written as well in prose as in verse."

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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