Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[337]-

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 XI: Of the strange Adventure which befell the valorous Don Quixote, with the Wain, or Cart of the Parliament of Death.

 

Don Quixote went on his way exceedingly pensive, to think what a base trick the enchanters had played him, in transforming his Lady Dulcinea into the homely figure of a country wench; nor could he devise what course to take to restore her to her former state. And these meditations so distracted him, that, without perceiving it, he let drop the bridle on Rozinante's neck; who, finding the liberty that was given him, at every step turned aside to take a mouthful of the fresh grass, with which those fields abounded. Sancho brought him back out of his maze by saying to him, "Sir, sorrow was made, not for beasts, but men; but if men give too much way to it, they become beasts: rouse, Sir, recollect yourself, and gather up Rozinante's reins; cheer up, awake, and exert that lively courage so befitting a knight-errant. What the devil is the matter? -What dejection is this? Are we here, or in France? Satan take all the Dulcineas in the world, since the welfare of a single knight-errant is of more worth than all the enchantments and transformations of the earth." — "Peace, Sancho," answered Don Quixote, with no very faint voice;" peace, I say, and do not utter blasphemies against that enchanted lady, whose disgrace and misfortune are owing to me alone, since they proceed entirely from the envy the wicked bear to me." — "I say so too," quoth Sancho; "whoever saw her then and sees her now, his heart must melt with grief." — "Well may you say so, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "you, who saw her in the full lustre of her beauty; for the enchantment extended not to disturb your sight, nor to conceal her perfections from you; against me alone, and against my eyes, was the force of its poison directed. Nevertheless I have hit upon one thing, Sancho, which is, that you did not give me a true description of her beauty; for if I remember right, you said her eyes were of pearl; now eyes that look like pearl are fitter for a seabream than a lady. I rather think Dulcinea's eyes must be of verdant emeralds arched over with two celestial bows, that serve for eyebrows. Take therefore those pearls from her eyes, and apply them to her teeth; for, doubtless, Sancho, you -[338]- mistook eyes for teeth." — "It may be so," answered Sancho; "for her beauty confounded me, as much as her deformity did your worship. But let us recommend all to God, who alone knows what shall befall, in this vale of tears, this evil world we have here, in which there is scarce anything to be found without some mixture of iniquity, imposture, or knavery. One thing, dear Sir, troubles me more than all the rest; which is, to think what must be done when your worship shall overcome some giant, or some other knight-errant, and send him to present himself before the beauty of the Lady Dulcinea. Where shall this poor giant, or miserable vanquished knight be able to find her? Methinks I see them sauntering up and down Toboso, and looking about, like fools, for my Lady Dulcinea; and though they should meet her in the middle of the street, they will no more know her than they would my father." — "Perhaps, Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "the enchantment may not extend so far as to conceal Dulcinea from the knowledge of the vanquished knights, or giants, who shall present themselves before her; and we will make the experiment upon one or two of the first I overcome, and send them with orders to return and give me an account of what happens with respect to this business." — "I say, Sir," replied Sancho, "that I mightily approve of what your worship has said; for by this trial we shall come to the knowledge of what we desire; and, if she is concealed from your worship alone, the misfortune will be more yours than hers; but, so the Lady Dulcinea have health and contentment, we, for our parts, will make a shift, and bear it as well as we can, pursuing our adventures, and leaving it to time to do his work, who is the best physician for these and other greater maladies."

Don Quixote would have answered Sancho, but was prevented by a cart's crossing the road before him, laden with the strangest and most different figures and personages imaginable. He who guided the mules and served for carter was a frightful demon. The cart was uncovered, and opened to the sky, without awning or wicker sides. The first figure that presented itself to Don Quixote's eyes, was that of Death itself, with a human visage. Close by him sat an angel with large painted wings. On one side stood an emperor with a crown, seemingly of gold, on his head. At Death's feet sat the god, called Cupid, not blindfolded, but with his bow, quiver, and arrows. There was also a knight completely armed, excepting only that he had no morion, or casque, but a hat with a large plume of feathers of divers colours. With these came other persons differing both in habits and countenances. All this appearing on a sudden, in some sort startled Don Quixote, and frightened Sancho to the heart. But Don Quixote presently rejoiced at it, believing it to be some new and perilous adventure; and with this thought, and a courage prepared to encounter any danger whatever, he planted himself just before the cart, and, with a loud voice, said, "Carter, coachman, or devil, or whatever you are, delay not to tell me who you are, whither you are going, and who are the persons you are carrying in that coach-waggon, which looks more like Charon's ferry-boat than any cart now in fashion." To which the devil, stopping the cart, calmly replied, "Sir, we are strollers belonging to Ángulo el Malo's company: this morning, which is the octave of Corpus Christi, we have been performing in a village on the other side of yon hill, a piece representing the 'Cortes,' or 'Parliament of Death '; and this evening we are to play it again in that village just before us; which being so near, to save ourselves the trouble of dressing and undressing, we come in the clothes -[339]- we are to act our parts in. That lad there acts Death; that other an angel; yonder woman, our author's wife, a queen; that other a soldier; he an emperor, and I a devil; and I am one of the principal personages of the drama; for in this company I have all the chief parts. If your worship would know any more of us, ask me, and I will answer you most punctually; for, being a devil, I know everything." — "Upon the faith of a knight-errant," answered Don Quixote, "when I first espied this cart, I imagined some grand adventure offered itself; and I say now, that it is absolutely necessary, if one would be undeceived, to lay one's hand upon appearances. God be with you, good people; go and act your play, and, if there be anything in which I may be of service to you, command me; for I will do it readily, and with a good will, having been, from my youth, a great admirer of masques and theatrical representations."

While they were thus engaged in discourse, fortune so ordered it, that there came up one of the company in an antic dress, hung round with abundance of bells, and carrying at the end of a stick three blown ox-bladders. This masque, approaching Don Quixote, began to fence with the stick, and to beat the bladders against the ground, jumping, and tinkling all his bells; which horrid apparition so startled Rozinante, that, taking the bit between his teeth, Don Quixote not being able to hold him in, he began to run about the field with a greater pace than the bones of his anatomy seemed to promise. Sancho, considering the danger his master was in of getting a fall, leaped from Dapple, and ran to help him; but, by that time he was come up to him, he was already upon the ground, and close by him Rozinante, who fell together with his master, the usual end and upshot of Rozinante's frolics and adventurings. But scarcely had Sancho quitted his beast to assist Don Quixote, when the bladder-dancing devil jumped upon Dapple, and, thumping him with the bladders, fear and the noise, more than the smart, made him fly through the field toward the village, where they were going to act. Sancho beheld Dapple's career, and his master's fall, and did not know which of the two necessities he should apply to first; but, in short, like a good squire and good servant, the love he bore his master prevailed over his affection for his ass; though, every time he saw the bladders hoisted in the air, and fall upon the buttocks of his Dapple, they were to him so many tortures and terrors of death, and he could have wished those blows had fallen on the apple of his own eyes, rather than on the least hair of his ass's tail. In this perplexity and tribulation he came up to Don Quixote, who was in a much worse plight than he could have wished; and helping him to get upon Rozinante, he said to him, "Sir, the devil has run away with Dapple." — "What devil?" demanded Don Quixote. "He with the bladders," answered Sancho. "I will recover him," replied Don Quixote, "though he should hide him in the deepest and darkest dungeons of hell. Follow me, Sancho; for the cart moves but slowly, and the mules shall make satisfaction for the loss of Dapple." — "There is no need," answered Sancho, "to make such haste: moderate your anger, Sir; for the devil, I think, has already abandoned Dapple, and is gone his way." And so it was; for the devil, having fallen with Dapple, in imitation of Don Quixote and Rozinante, trudged on foot toward the town, and the ass turned back to his master. "Nevertheless," said Don Quixote, "it will not be amiss to chastise the unmannerliness of this devil at the expense of some of his company, though it were the emperor himself." — "Good your worship," quoth Sancho, "never think of -[340]- it, but take my advice, which is, never to meddle with players; for they are a people mightily beloved. I have seen a player taken up for two murders, and get off scot-free. Your worship must know, that, as they are merry folks and give pleasure, all people favour them; everybody protects, assists, and esteems them; and especially if they are of his majesty's company of comedians, or that of some grandee, all, or most of whom, in their manner and garb, look like any princess." — "For all that," answered Don Quixote, "that farcical devil shall not escape me, nor have cause to brag, though all humankind favoured him."

And so saying he rode after the cart, which was by this time got very near the town, and, calling aloud, he said: "Hold, stop a little, merry Sirs, and let me teach you how to treat asses and cattle which serve to mount the squires of knights-errant." Don Quixote's cries were so loud that the players heard him, and judging of his design by his words, in an instant out jumped Death, and after him the emperor, the carter-devil, and the angel; nor did the queen or the god Cupid stay behind; and all of them, taking up stones, ranged themselves in battle-array, waiting to receive Don Quixote at the points of their pebbles. Don Quixote, seeing them posted in such order, and so formidable a battalion, with arms uplifted ready to discharge a ponderous volley of stones, checked Rozinante with the bridle, and set himself to consider how he might attack them with least danger to his person. While he delayed, Sancho came up, and seeing him in a posture of attacking that well-formed brigade, he said to him: "It is mere madness, Sir, to attempt such an enterprise; pray, consider, there is no fencing against a flail, nor defensive armour against stones and brick-bats, unless it be thrusting oneself into a bell of brass. Consider also, that it is rather rashness than courage, for one man alone to encounter an army, where Death is present, and where emperors fight in person, and are assisted by good and bad angels. But if this consideration does not prevail with you to be quiet, be assured, that, among all those who stand there, though they appear to be princes, kings, and emperors, there is not one knight-errant." — "Now, indeed," said Don Quixote, "you have hit the point, Sancho, which only can, and must, make me change my determinate resolution. I neither can nor ought to draw my sword, as I have often told you, against any who are not dubbed knights. To you it belongs, Sancho, to avenge the affront offered to your Dapple; and I from hence will encourage and assist you with my voice, and with salutary instructions." — "There is no need, Sir, to be revenged on anybody," answered Sancho; "for good Christians should not take revenge for injuries; besides, I will settle it with my ass to submit the injury done him to my will, which is to live peaceably all the days that Heaven shall give me of life." — "Since this is your resolution, good Sancho, discreet Sancho, Christian Sancho, and pure Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "let us leave these phantoms, and seek better and more substantial adventures; for this country, I see, is likely to afford us many and very extraordinary ones. Then he wheeled Rozinante about; Sancho took his Dapple; Death and all his flying squadron returned to their cart, and pursued their way. And this was the happy conclusion of the terrible adventure of Death's cart; thanks to the wholesome advice Sancho Panza gave his master, to whom, the day following, there fell out an adventure, no less surprising than the former, with an enamoured knight-errant.

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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