Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[341]-

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 XII: Of the strange Adventure which befell the valorous Don Quixote, with the brave Knight of the Looking-Glasses.

 

Don Quixote and his squire passed the night ensuing the encounter with Death under some lofty and shady trees. Don Quixote, at Sancho's persuasion, refreshed himself with some of the provisions carried by Dapple; and, during supper, Sancho said to his master: "Sir, what a fool should I have been had I chosen, as a reward for my good news, the spoils of the first adventure your worship should achieve, before the three ass-colts? Verily, verily, A sparrow in the hand is better than a vulture upon the wing." "However, Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "had you suffered me to attack, as I had a mind to do, your share of the booty would at least have been the emperor's crown of gold and Cupid's painted wings; for I would have plucked them off against the grain, and put them into your possession." "The crowns and sceptres of your theatrical emperors," answered Sancho, "never were of pure gold but of tinsel or copper." "It is true," replied Don Quixote; "nor would it be fit that the decorations of a play should be real, but counterfeit and mere show, as comedy itself is, which I would have you value and take into favour, and consequently the actors and authors; for they are all instruments of much benefit to the common-weal, setting at every step a looking-glass before our eyes, in which we see very lively representations of the actions of human life; and there are no comparisons which more truly present to us what we are, and what we should be, than comedy and comedians. Tell me; have you not seen a play acted, in which kings, emperors, popes, lords, and ladies are introduced, besides divers other personages? One acts the pimp, another the cheat, this the merchant, that the soldier, one a designing fool, another a foolish lover; and when the play is done, and the actors undressed, they are all again upon a level." "Yes, marry, have I," quoth Sancho. "Why, the very same thing," said Don Quixote, "happens on this stage of this world, whereon some play the part of emperors, others of popes; in short, all the parts that can be introduced in a comedy. But in the conclusion, that is, at the end of our life, death strips us of the robes which made the difference, and we remain upon the level and equal in the grave." "A brave comparison," quoth Sancho, "but not so new (for I have heard it many and different times) as that of the game at chess; in which, while the game lasts, every piece has its particular office, and when that game is ended, they are all huddled together, mixed, and put into a bag, which is just like being buried after we are dead." "Sancho," said Don Quixote, "you are every day growing less simple and more discreet." "And good reason why," answered Sancho; "for some of your worship's discretion must needs stick to me, as lands, that in themselves are barren and dry, by dunging and cultivating come to bear good fruit. My meaning is, that your worship's conversation has been the dung laid upon the barren soil of my dry understanding, and the cultivation has been the time I have been in your service and in your company; and by that I hope to produce fruit like any blessing, and such as will not disparage or deviate from the seeds of good breeding, which your worship has sown in my shallow understanding." Don Quixote smiled at Sancho's affected speeches, that -[342]- appearing to him to be true, which he had said of his improvement: for every now and then he surprised him by his manner of talking; though always, or for the most part, when Sancho would either speak in contradiction to, or in imitation of, the courtier, he ended his discourse with falling headlong from the height of his simplicity into the depth of his ignorance; and that, in which he most displayed his elegance and memory, was his bringing in proverbs, whether to the purpose or not of what he was discoursing about, as may be seen and observed throughout the progress of this history.

In these and other discourses they spent great part of the night, and Sancho had a mind to let down the portcullises of his eyes, as he used to say, when he was inclined to sleep; and so, unrigging Dapple, he turned him loose into abundant pasture. But he did not take off the saddle from Rozinante's back, it being the express command of his master, that he should continue saddled all the time they kept the field, or did not sleep under a roof; for it was an ancient established custom, and religiously observed among knights-errant, to take off the bridle, and hang it at the pommel of the saddle; but by no means to take off the saddle. Sancho observed this rule, and gave Rozinante the same liberty he had given Dapple; the friendship of which pair was so singular and reciprocal, that there is a tradition handed down from father to son, that the author of this faithful history compiled particular chapters upon that subject; but, to preserve the decency and decorum due to so heroic an history, he would not insert them; though, sometimes waving this precaution, he writes, that, as soon as the two beasts came together, they would fall to scratching one another with their teeth, and when they were tired or satisfied, Rozinante would stretch his neck at least half a yard across Dapple's, and both, fixing their eyes attentively on the ground, would stand three days in that manner, at least so long as they were let alone, or till hunger compelled them to seek some food. It is reported, I say, that the author had compared their friendship to that of Nisius and Euryalus, or that of Pylades and Orestes; whence it may appear, to the admiration of all people, how firm the friendship of these two peaceable animals must have been; to the shame of men, who so little know how to preserve the rules of friendship towards one another. Hence the sayings, A friend cannot find a friend; Reeds become darts; and, as the poet sings, From a friend to a friend, the bug, &c.(147) Let no one think that the author was at all out of the way, when he compared the friendship of these animals to that of men; for men have received divers wholesome instructions, and many lessons of importance, from beasts; such as the clyster from storks, the vomit and gratitude from dogs, vigilance from cranes, industry from ants, modesty from elephants, and fidelity from horses.

At length Sancho fell asleep at the foot of a cork-tree, and Don Quixote slumbered under an oak. But it was not long before he was awakened by a noise behind him; and starting up, he began to look about, and to listen from whence the noise came. Presently he perceived two men on horseback, one of whom, dismounting, said to the other, "Alight, friend, and unbridle the horses; for this place seems as if it would afford them pasture enough, and me that silence and solitude my amorous thoughts require." The saying this, and laying himself along on the ground, were both in one instant; and, at throwing himself down, his armour made a rattling noise; a. manifest token, from whence Don Quixote concluded he must be a -[343]- knight-errant; and going to Sancho, who was fast asleep, he pulled him by the arm, and having with some difficulty waked him, he said to him, with a low voice, "Brother Sancho, we have an adventure." "God send it be a good one," answered Sancho; "and pray, Sir, where may her ladyship Madam Adventure be?" "Where, Sancho!" replied Don Quixote; "turn your eyes and look, and you will see a knight-errant lying along, who, to my thoughts, does not seem to be over-pleased; for I saw him throw himself off his horse, and stretch himself on the ground, with some signs of discontent; and his armour rattled as he fell." "But by what do you gather," quoth Sancho, "that this is an adventure?" "I will not say," answered Don Quixote, "that this is altogether an adventure, but an introduction to one; for adventures usually begin thus. But hearken; for methinks he is tuning a lute of some sort or other, and by his spitting and clearing his pipes, he should be preparing himself to sing." "In good faith, so it is," answered Sancho, "and he must be some knight or other in love." "There is no knight-errant but is so," said Don Quixote; "and let us listen to him; for by the thread we shall guess at the bottom of his thoughts, if he sings; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Sancho would have replied to his master; but the Knight of the Wood's voice, which was neither very bad nor very good, hindered him; and, while they both stood amazed, they heard that what he sung was this:

SONNET.

" Appoint, O nymph, a quick returning hour,
      By which your utmost wishes I'll obey;
      With mine indeed they'll hold such even way,
  That strict compliance will proclaim your pow'r.
  If silent anguish, and, at last, to die,
      Will meet your wishes, count me even dead;
      Or if, by some strange means, my love to spread
  Will meet your fancy, such strange means I'll try.
  I'll swear, that of extremes my frame is made,
      Plastic like wax, or as the di'mond hard:
      My heart according to love's laws I'll guard,
  Which, hard or soft, shall at your feet be laid.
      Whatever form you print upon my breast,
      I swear shall always strongly be imprest."

With a deep "ah!" fetched, as it seemed, from the very bottom of his heart, the Knight of the Wood ended his song; and, after some pause, with a mournful and complaining voice, he said, "O the most beautiful and most ungrateful woman of the world! Is it then possible, Casildea de Vandalia, that you should suffer this your captive knight to consume and pine away in continual travels, and in rough and laborious toils? Is it not enough, that I have caused you to be acknowledged the most consummate beauty in the world, by all the knights of Navarre, all those of Leon, all the Andalusians, all the Castilians, ay, and all the knights of La Mancha too?" "Not so," said Don Quixote; "for I am of La Mancha, and never have acknowledged any such thing; neither could I, nor ought I, to confess a thing so prejudicial to the beauty of my mistress. Now you see, Sancho, how this knight raves; but let us listen; perhaps he will make some farther declaration." "Ay, marry will he," replied Sancho; "for he seems to be in a strain of complaining for a month to come." But it was not so; for the knight, overhearing somebody talk near him, proceeded no farther -[344]- in his lamentation, but stood up, and said, with an audible and courteous voice, "Who goes there? What are ye? Of the number of the happy, or of the afflicted?" "Of the afflicted," answered Don Quixote. "Come hither to me then," answered the Knight of the Wood, "and make account how you come to sorrow and affliction itself." Don Quixote, finding he returned so soft and civil an answer, went up to him, and Sancho did the same. The wailing knight laid hold of Don Quixote by the arm, saying, "Sit down here, Sir Knight; for, to know that you are such, and one of those who profess knight-errantry, it is sufficient to have found you in this place, where your companions are solitude and the night-dew, the natural beds and proper stations of knights-errant."

To which Don Quixote answered, "A knight I am, and of the profession you say; and although sorrows, disgraces, and misfortunes have got possession of my mind, yet they have not chased away that compassion I have for other men's misfortunes. From what you sung just now I gathered that yours are of the amorous kind; I mean, occasioned by the love you bear to that ungrateful fair you named in your complaint." Whilst they were thus discoursing they sat down together upon the hard ground, very peaceably and sociably, as if at daybreak they were not to break one another's heads. "Peradventure you are in love, Sir Knight," said he of the wood to Don Quixote. "Unfortunately I am," answered Don Quixote; "though the mischiefs arising from well-placed affections ought rather to be accounted blessings than disasters." "That is true," replied he of the wood, "supposing that disdains did not disturb our reason and understanding; but when they are many, they seem to have the nature of revenge." "I never was disdained by my mistress," answered Don Quixote. "No verily," quoth Sancho, who stood close by; "for my lady is as gentle as a lamb, and as soft as a print of butter." "Is this your squire?" demanded the Knight of the Wood." "He is," replied Don Quixote. "I never in my life saw a squire," replied the Knight of the Wood, "who durst presume to talk where his lord was talking: at least, yonder stands mine, as tall as his father, and it cannot be proved that he ever opened his lips where I was speaking." "In faith," quoth Sancho, "I have talked, and can talk, before one as good as and perhaps, but let that rest; for the more you stir, it "The Knight of the Wood's squire took Sancho by the arm, and said, "Let us two go where we may talk by ourselves, in squire-like discourse; all we have a mind to, and leave these masters of ours to have their bellies full of relating the histories of their loves to each other; for I warrant they will not have done before to-morrow morning." "With all my heart," quoth Sancho; "and I will tell you who I am, that you may see whether I am fit to make one among the most talkative squires." Hereupon the two squires withdrew; between whom there passed a dialogue as pleasant as that of their masters was grave.

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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