Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[325]-

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

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

The Second Part
 

CHAPTER VIII: Wherein is related what befell Don Quixote as he was going to visit his Lady Dulcinea del Toboso.

 

"Praised be the mighty Allah!" says Hamet Benengeli, at the beginning of this sixtieth chapter: "praised be Allah!" repeating it thrice, and saying he gave these praises to find that Don Quixote and Sancho had again taken the field, and that the readers of their delightful history may make account that, from this moment, the exploits and witty sayings of Don Quixote and his squire begin. He persuades them to forget the former chivalries of the ingenious gentleman, and fix their eyes upon his future achievements, which now begin upon the road to Toboso, as the former began in the fields of Montiel; and this is no very unreasonable request, considering what great things he promises; and he goes on thus:

Don Quixote and Sancho remained by themselves; and scarcely was Sampson parted from them, when Rozinante began to neigh and Dapple to sigh; which was held by both knight and squire for a good sign, and a most happy omen, though, if the truth were to be told, the sighs and brayings of the ass exceeded the neighings of the steed; from whence Sancho gathered that his good luck was to surpass and get above that of his master. But whether he drew this inference from judicial astrology, I cannot say, it not being known whether he was versed in it, since the history says nothing of it; only he had been heard to say, when he stumbled or fell, that he would have been glad he had not gone out of doors; for, by a stumble or a fall, nothing was to be got but a torn shoe or a broken rib; and, though he was a simpleton, he was not much out of the way in this.

Don Quixote said to him, "Friend Sancho, the night is coming on apace, and with too much darkness for us to reach Toboso by daylight; -[326]- whither I am resolved to go, before I undertake any other adventure: there will I receive the blessing, and the good leave, of the peerless Dulcinea, with which I am well assured of finishing and giving a happy conclusion to every perilous adventure; for nothing in this world inspires knights-errant with so much valour, as the finding themselves favoured by their mistresses." "I believe it," answered Sancho; "but I am of opinion it will be difficult for your worship to come to the speech of her, or be alone with her, at least in any place where you may receive her benediction, unless she tosses it over the pales of the yard, from whence I saw her the time before, when I carried her the letter with the news of the follies and extravagances which your worship was playing in the heart of the Sable Mountain." "Pales, did you fancy them to be, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "over which you saw that paragon of gentility and beauty? Impossible! you must mean galleries, arcades, or cloisters of some rich and royal palace." "All that may be," answered Sancho, "but to me they seemed pales, or I have a shallow memory." "However, let us go thither, Sancho," replied Don Quixote;" for so I do but see her, be it through pales, through windows, through crannies, or through the rails of a garden, this I shall gain by it, that, how small soever a ray of the sun of her beauty reaches my eyes, it will so enlighten my understanding and fortify my heart, that I shall remain without a rival either in wisdom or valour." "In truth, Sir," answered Sancho, "when I saw this sun of the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, it was not so bright as to send forth any rays; and the reason must be, that, as her ladyship was winnowing that wheat I told you of, the great quantity of dust that flew out of it overcast her face like a cloud, and obscured it." "What! Sancho," said Don Quixote, "do you persist in saying and believing that my Lady Dulcinea was winnowing wheat; a business and employment quite foreign to persons of distinction, who are designed and reserved for other exercises and amusements, which distinguish their high quality a bowshot off? You forget, Sancho, our poet's verses, in which he describes the labours of those four nymphs, in their crystal mansions, when they raised their heads above the delightful Tagus, and seated themselves in the green meadow, to work those rich stuffs, which, as the ingenious poet there describes them, were all embroidered with gold, silk, and pearls. And in this manner must my lady have been employed when you saw her; but the envy some wicked enchanter bears me changes and converts into different shapes everything that should give me pleasure; and therefore in that history, said to be published, of my exploits, if peradventure, the author was some sage my enemy, he has, I fear, put one thing for another, with one truth mixing a thousand lies, and amusing himself with relating actions foreign to what is requisite for the continuation of a true history. O envy! thou root of infinite evils and canker-worm of virtues! All other vices, Sancho, carry somewhat of pleasure along with them; but envy is attended with nothing but distaste, rancour, and rage." "That is what I say too," replied Sancho; "and I take it for granted, in that same legend or history of us the Bachelor Carrasco tells us he has seen, my reputation is tossed about like a tennis-ball. Now, as I am an honest man, I never spoke ill of any enchanter, nor have I wealth enough to be envied. It is true, indeed, I am said to be somewhat sly, and to have a little spice of the knave; but the grand cloak of my simplicity, always natural and never artificial, hides and covers all. And if I had nothing else to boast of, but the believing, as I do always, firmly and truly in God, and in all that the -[327]- holy Catholic Roman Church holds and believes, and the being, as I really am, a mortal enemy to the Jews, the historians ought to have mercy upon me, and treat me well in their writings. But let them say what they will; naked was I born, and naked I am: I neither lose nor win; and, so my name be put in print, and go about the world from hand to hand, I care not a fig, let people say of me whatever they list."

"That, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "is just like what happened to a famous poet of our times, who, having wrote an ill-natured satire upon the court-ladies, a certain lady, who was not expressly named in it, so that it was doubtful whether she was implied in it or not, complained to the poet, asking him what he had seen in her that he had not inserted her among the rest, telling him he must enlarge his satire, and put her in the supplement, or woe be to him. The poet did as he was bid, and set her down for such a one as duennas will not name. As for the lady, she was satisfied to find herself infamously famous. Of the same kind is the story they tell of that shepherd, who set fire to and burnt down the famous temple of Diana, reckoned one of the seven wonders of the world, only that his name might live in future ages; and, though it was ordered by public edict that nobody should name or mention him either by word or writing, that he might not attain the end he proposed, yet still it is known he was called Erostratus. To the same purpose may be alleged what happened to the great Emperor Charles the Fifth with a Roman knight. The emperor had a mind to see the famous church of the Rotunda, which by the ancients was called the Pantheon, or temple of all the gods, and now, by a better name, the Church of All Saints, and is one of the most entire edifices remaining of heathen Rome, and which most preserves the fame of the greatness and magnificence of its founders. It is made in the shape of a half-orange, very spacious and very light, though it has but one window, or rather a round opening at top; from whence the emperor having surveyed the inside of the structure, a Roman knight, who stood by his side, showing him the beauty and ingenious contrivance of that vast machine and memorable piece of architecture, when they were come down from the skylight, said to the emperor, 'Sacred Sir, a thousand times it came into my head to clasp your majesty in my arms, and cast myself down with you from the top to the bottom of the church, merely to leave an eternal name behind me.' 'I thank you,' answered the emperor, 'for not putting so wicked a thought in execution, and henceforward I will never give you an opportunity of making the like proof of your loyalty, and therefore command you never to speak to me more, or come into my presence.' And after these words he bestowed some great favour upon him. What I mean, Sancho, is, that the desire of fame is a very active principle in us. What, think you, cast Horatius down from the bridge, armed at all points, into the depth of the Tiber? What burnt the arm and hand of Mutius? What impelled Curtius to throw himself into the flaming gulf, that opened itself in the midst of Rome? What made Caesar pass the Rubicon in opposition to all presages? And, in more modern examples, what bored the ships and stranded those valiant Spaniards, conducted by the most courteous Cortez, in the new world? All these, and other great and very different exploits, are, were, and shall be, the works of fame, which mortals desire as the reward and earnest of that immortality their noble deeds deserve; though we Christian and Catholic knights-errant ought to be more intent upon the glory of the world to come, which is eternal in the ethereal and celestial regions, than -[328]- upon the vanity of fame, acquired in this present and transitory world; for, let it last never so long, it must end with the world itself, which has its appointed period. Therefore, O Sancho, let not our works exceed the bounds prescribed by the Christian religion, which we profess. In killing giants we are to destroy pride; we must overcome envy by generosity and good nature, anger by sedateness and composure of mind, gluttony and sleep by eating little and watching much, lust and lasciviousness by the fidelity we maintain to those we have made mistresses of our thoughts, laziness by going about all parts of the world, and seeking occasions which may make us, besides being Christians, renowned knights. These, Sancho, are the means of obtaining those extremes of praise which a good name brings along with it."

"All that your worship has hitherto told me," quoth Sancho, "I very well understand; but, for all that, I wish you would be so kind as to dissolve me one doubt which is this moment come into my mind." "Resolve, you would say, Sancho," replied Don Quixote;" out with it, in God's name; for I will answer as far as I know." "Pray tell me, Sir," proceeded Sancho, "those Julys and Augusts, and all those feat-doing knights you spoke of, that are dead, where are they now?" "The Gentiles," answered Don Quixote, "are doubtless in hell; the Christians, if they were good Christians, are either in purgatory or in Heaven." "Very well," quoth Sancho; "but let us know now whether the sepulchres, in which the bodies of those great lords lie interred have silver lamps burning before them, and whether the walls of their chapels are adorned with crutches, winding-sheets, old perukes, legs, and eyes;(143) and, if not with these, pray, with what are they adorned?" To which Don Quixote answered: "The sepulchres of the heathens were for the most part sumptuous temples. The ashes of Julius Caesar were deposited in an urn, placed on the top of a pyramid of stone, of a prodigious bigness, which is now called the obelisk of St Peter. The sepulchre of the Emperor Adrian was a castle as big as a good village, called Moles Adriani, and now the castle of St Angelo in Rome. Queen Artemisia buried her husband Mausolus in a tomb, reckoned one of the seven wonders of the world. But none of these sepulchres, nor many others of the Gentiles, were hung about with winding-sheets, or other offerings or signs, to denote those to be saints who were buried in them." "That is what I am coming to," replied Sancho; "and now, pray tell me, which is the more difficult, to raise a dead man to life, or to slay a giant?" "The answer is very obvious," answered Don Quixote;" to raise a dead man." "There I have caught you," quoth Sancho. "His fame, then, who raises the dead, gives sight to the blind, makes the lame walk, and cures the sick; before whose sepulchre lamps are continually burning, and whose chapels are crowded with devotees, adoring his relics upon their knees; his fame, I say, shall be greater both in this world and the next, than that which all the heathen emperors and knights-errant in the world ever had, or ever shall have." "I grant it," answered Don Quixote. "Then," replied Sancho, "the bodies and relics of saints have this fame, these graces, these prerogatives, or how do you call them, with the approbation and license of our holy Mother Church, and also their lamps, winding-sheets, crutches, pictures, perukes, eyes, and legs, whereby they increased people's devotion, and spread their own Christian fame. Besides, kings themselves carry the bodies or relics of saints upon their shoulders, kiss bits of their bones, and -[329]- adorn and enrich their chapels and most favourite altars with them." "What would you have me infer, Sancho, from all you have been saying?" said Don Quixote. "I would infer," quoth Sancho, "that we had better turn saints immediately, and we shall then soon attain to that renown we aim at. And pray take notice, Sir, that yesterday, or t'other day (for it is so little a while ago, that I may so speak) a couple of poor bare-footed friars(144) were beatified, or canonised, whose iron chains, wherewith they girded and disciplined themselves, people now reckon it a great happiness to touch or kiss; and they are now held in greater veneration than Orlando's sword in the armoury of our lord the king, God bless him. So that, master of mine, it is better being a poor friar of the meanest order, than the valiantest knight-errant whatever; for a couple of dozen of penitential lashes are more esteemed in the sight of God, than two thousand tilts with a lance, whether it be against giants, goblins, or dragons." "I confess," answered Don Quixote, "all this is just as you say; but we cannot be all friars; and many and various are the ways by which God conducts his elect to Heaven. Chivalry is a kind of religious profession; and some knights are now saints in glory." "True," answered Sancho; "but I have heard say, there are more friars in Heaven than knights-errant." "It may well be so," replied Don Quixote, "because the number of the religious is much greater than that of the knights-errant." "And yet," quoth Sancho, "there are abundance of the errant sort." "Abundance indeed," answered Don Quixote;" but few who deserve the name of knights."

In these and the like discourses they passed that night and the following day, without any accident worth relating, at which Don Quixote was not a little grieved. Next day they descried the great city of Toboso, at sight of which Don Quixote's spirits were much elevated, and Sancho's as much dejected, because he did not know Dulcinea's house, and had never seen her in his life, no more than his master had; so that they were both equally in pain, the one to see her, and the other for not having seen her; and Sancho knew not what to do, when his master should send him to Toboso. In short, Don Quixote resolved to enter the city about nightfall; and, till that hour came, they stayed among some oak-trees near the town; and the time appointed being come, they went into the city, where things befell them, that were things indeed.

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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