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 Second Part

CHAPTER XX: Giving an account of the Wedding of Camacho the Rich, with the Adventure of Basilius the Poor.


Scarcely had the fair Aurora given bright Phoebus room, with the heat of his warm rays, to dry up the liquid pearls on his golden hair, when Don Quixote, shaking off sloth from his drowsy members, got upon his feet, and called to his squire Sancho Panza, who still lay snoring; which being -[378]- perceived by Don Quixote, before he would awaken him, he said, "O happy thou, above all that live on the face of the earth, who, neither envying, nor being envied, sleepest on with tranquility of soul! neither do enchanters persecute nor enchantments affright thee. Sleep on, I say again, and will say a hundred times more, sleep on; for no jealousies on thy lady's account keep thee in perpetual watchings, nor do anxious thoughts of paying debts awaken thee; nor is thy rest broken with the thoughts of what thou must do to-morrow, to provide for thyself and thy little family. Ambition disquiets thee not, nor does the vain pomp of the world disturb thee; for thy desires extend not beyond the limits of taking care of thy ass; for that of thy person is laid upon my shoulders, a counterbalance and burden that nature and custom have laid upon masters. The servant sleeps, and the master is waking, to consider how he is to maintain, prefer, and do him kindness. The pain of seeing the obdurate Heaven made, as it were, of brass, and refusing convenient dews to refresh the earth, afflicts not the servant, but the master, who is bound to provide, in times of sterility and famine, for him who served him in times of fertility and abundance." To all this Sancho answered not a word, for he was asleep; nor would he have awakened so soon as he did, but that Don Quixote jogged him with the butt end of his lance. At last he awoke, drowsy and yawning; and, turning his face on all sides, he said, "From yonder shady bower, if I mistake not, there comes a steam and smell rather of broiled rashers of bacon than of thyme or rushes; by my faith, weddings that begin thus savourily, must needs be liberal and abundant."

"Have done, glutton," said Don Quixote, "and let us go and see this wedding, and what becomes of the disdained Basilius." "Marry, let what will become of him," answered Sancho, "he cannot be poor and marry Quiteria; a pleasant fancy, for one not worth a groat, to aim at marrying above the clouds! Faith, Sir, in my opinion, a poor man should be contented with what he finds, and not be looking for truffles at the bottom of the sea. I dare wager an arm, that Camacho can cover Basilius with reals from head to foot; and if it be so, as it must needs be, Quiteria would be a pretty bride indeed to reject the fine clothes and jewels that Camacho has given, and can give her, to choose instead of them a pitch of the bar, and a feint at foils, of Basilius. One cannot have a pint of wine at a tavern for the bravest pitch of the bar, or the cleverest push of the foil: abilities and graces that are not vendible, let the Count Dirlos have them for me; but when they light on a man that has wherewithal, may my life show as well as they do. Upon a good foundation a good building may be raised, and the best bottom and foundation in the world is money." "For the love of God, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "have done with your harangue; I verily believe, were you left alone to go on as you begin at every turn, you would have no time to eat or sleep, but would spend it all in talk." "If your worship had a good memory," replied Sancho, "you would remember the articles of our agreement, before we sallied from home this last time; one of which was, that you were to let me talk as much as I pleased, so it were not anything against my neighbour, or against your worship's authority; and hitherto I think I have not broken that capitulation." "I do not remember any such article, Sancho," answered Don Quixote; "and though it were so, it is my pleasure you hold your peace, and come along; for by this time the musical instruments we heard last night begin again to cheer the valleys; and doubtless the espousals will be -[379]- celebrated in the cool of the morning, and not put off till the heat of the day."

Sancho did as his master commanded him; and saddling Rozinante and pannelling Dapple, they both mounted, and marching softly entered the artificial shade. The first thing that presented itself to Sancho's sight, was a whole bullock spitted upon a large elm. The fire it was roasted by was composed of a middling mountain of wood, and round it were placed six pots, not cast in common moulds; for they were half-jars, each containing a whole shamble of flesh; and entire sheep were sunk and swallowed up in them, as commodiously as if they were only so many pigeons. The hares ready cased, and the fowls ready plucked, that hung about upon the branches, in order to be buried in the caldrons, were without number. Infinite was the wild fowl and venison hanging about the trees, that the air might cool them. Sancho counted above threescore skins, each of above twenty-four quarts, and all, as appeared afterwards, full of generous wines. There were also piles of the whitest bread, like so many heaps of wheat in a thrashing-floor. Cheeses, ranged like bricks, formed a kind of wall. Two caldrons of oil, larger than a dyer's vat, stood ready for frying all sorts of batter-ware; and with a couple of stout peels they took them out when fried, and dipped them in another kettle of prepared honey that stood by. The men and women cocks were above fifty, all clean, all diligent, and all in good humour. In the bullock's distended belly were a dozen of sucking pigs, sewed up in it to make it savoury and tender. The spices of various kinds seem to have been bought, not by the pound, but by the hundred, and stood free for everybody in a great chest. In short, the preparation for the wedding was all rustic, but in such plenty, that it was sufficient to have feasted an army.

Sancho beheld all, considered all, and was in love with everything. The first that captivated and subdued his inclinations were the flesh-pots, out of which he would have been glad to have filled a moderate pipkin. Then the wine-skins drew his affections; and, lastly, the products of the frying-pans, if such pompous caldrons may be so called. And, not being able to forbear any longer, and having no power to do otherwise, he went up to one of the busy cooks, and, with courteous and hungry words, desired leave to sop a luncheon of bread in one of the pots. To which the cook answered: "This is none of those days over which hunger presides, thanks to rich Camacho; alight, and see if you can find a ladle anywhere, and skim out a fowl or two, and much good may they do you." "I see none," answered Sancho. "Stay," said the cook;" God forgive me, what a nice and good-for-nothing fellow must you be!" And so saying, he laid hold of a kettle, and, sousing it into one of the half-jars, he fished out three pullets and a couple of geese, and said to Sancho: "Eat, friend, and make a breakfast of this scum, to stay your stomach till dinner-time." "I have nothing to put it in," answered Sancho. "Then take ladle and all," replied the cook;" for the riches and felicity of Camacho supply everything."

While Sancho was thus employed, Don Quixote stood observing how, at one side of the spacious arbour, entered a dozen countrymen upon as many beautiful mares, adorned with rich and gay caparisons, and their furniture hung round with little bells. They were clad in holiday apparel, and in a regular troop ran sundry careers about the meadow, with a joyful Moorish cry of, Long live Camacho and Quiteria, he as rich as she fair, and she the fairest of the world. Which Don Quixote hearing, said to himself: -[380]- "It is plain these people have not seen my Dulcinea del Toboso; for, had they seen her, they would have been a little more upon the reserve in praising this Quiteria of theirs." A little while after, there entered, at divers parts of the arbour, a great many different sets of dancers; among which was one consisting of four-and-twenty sword-dancers, handsome sprightly swains, all arrayed in fine white linen, with handkerchiefs(158) wrought with several colours of fine silk. One of those upon the mares asked a youth who led the sword-dance, whether any of his comrades were hurt. "As yet, God be thanked," replied the youth, "nobody is wounded; we are all whole;" and presently he entwined himself in among the rest of his companions, with so many turns, and so dexterously, that, though Don Quixote was accustomed to see such kind of dances, he never liked any so well as that. There was another, which pleased him mightily, of a dozen most beautiful damsels, so young, that none of them appeared to be under fourteen, nor any quite eighteen years old, all clad in green stuff of Cuenca, their locks partly plaited and partly loose, and all so yellow, that they might rival those of the sun itself; with garlands of jasmine, roses, and woodbine upon their heads. They were led up by a venerable old man and an ancient matron, but more nimble and airy than could be expected from their years. A bagpipe of Zamora(159) was their music; and they, carrying modesty in their looks and eyes, and lightness in their feet, approved themselves the best dancers in the world.

After these there entered an artificial dance, composed of eight nymphs, divided into two files. The god Cupid led one file, and Interest the other; the former adorned with wings, bow, quiver, and arrows; the other apparelled with rich and various colours of gold and silk. The nymphs, attendant on the God of Love, had their names written at their backs on white parchment, and in capital letters. Poetry was the title of the first; Discretion of the second; Good Family of the third; and Valour of the fourth. The followers of Interest were distinguished in the same manner. The title of the first was Liberality; Donation of the second, Treasure of the third; and that of the fourth Peaceable Possession. Before them all came a wooden castle, drawn by savages, clad in ivy and hemp dyed green so to the life, that they almost frightened Sancho. On the front, and on all the four sides of the machine was written, The Castle of Reserve.(160) Four skilful musicians played on the tabor and pipe. Cupid began the dance, and, after two movements, he lifted up his eyes, and bent his bow against a damsel that stood between the battlements of the castle, whom he addressed after this manner:


" I am the mighty God of Love;
      Air, earth, and seas my pow'r obey:
  O'er hell beneath, and Heav'n above,
      I reign with universal sway.

  I give, resume, forbid, command;
      My will is nature's general law;
  No force arrests my pow'rful hand,
      Nor fears my daring courage awe."

He finished this stanza, let fly an arrow to the top of the castle, and -[381]- retired to his post. Then Interest stepped forth, and made two other movements. The tabors ceased, and he said:


" Tho' love's my motive and my end,
      I boast a greater pow'r than Love;
  Who makes not Interest his friend,
      In nothing will successful prove.

  By all ador'd, by all pursu'd;
      Then own, bright nymph, my greater sway,
  And for thy gentle breast subdu'd
      With large amends shall Int'rest pay."

Then Interest withdrew, and Poetry advanced; and after she had made her movements like the rest, fixing her eyes on the damsel of the castle, she said:


" My name is Poetry; my soul,
      Wrapp'd up in verse, to thee I send:
  Let gentle lays thy will control,
      And be for once the Muse's friend.

  If, lovely maid, sweet Poetry
      Displease thee not, thy fortune soon,
  Envied by all, advanced by me,
      Shall reach the circle of the moon."

Poetry went off, and from the side of Interest stepped forth Liberality; and, after making her movements, said:


" Me Liberality men call;
      In me the happy golden mean,
  Not spendthrift-like to squander all,
      Nor niggardly to save, is seen.

  But, for thy honour, I begin,
      Fair nymph, a prodigal to prove:
  To lavish here's a glorious sin;
      For who'd a miser be in love?

"In this manner all the figures of the two parties advanced and retreated, and each made its movements and recited its verses, some elegant, and some ridiculous; of which Don Quixote, who had a very good memory, treasured up the foregoing only. Presently they mixed all together in a kind of country-dance, with a genteel grace and easy freedom; and when Cupid passed before the castle, he shot his arrows aloft; but Interest flung gilded balls against it. In conclusion, after having danced some time, Interest drew out a large purse of Roman catskin, which seemed to be full of money; and throwing it at the castle, the boards were disjointed, and tumbled down with the blow, leaving the damsel exposed, and without any defence at all. Then came Interest with his followers, and, clapping a great golden chain about her neck, they seemed to take her prisoner, and lead her away captive: which Love and his adherents perceiving, they made a show as if they would rescue her; and all their seeming efforts were adjusted to the sound of the tabors. They were parted by the -[382]- savages, who with great agility rejoined the boards, and reinstated the castle, and the damsel was again enclosed in it as before: and so the dance ended, to the great satisfaction of the spectators.

Don Quixote asked one of the nymphs who it was that had contrived and ordered the show? She answered: "A beneficed clergyman of that village, who had a notable headpiece for such kind of inventions." "I will lay a wager," said Don Quixote, "that this bachelor or clergyman is more a friend to Camacho than to Basilius, and understands satire better than vespers; for he has ingeniously interwoven in the dance the abilities of Basilius with the riches of Camacho." Sancho Panza, who listened to all this, said, "The king is my cock; I hold with Camacho." "In short," replied Don Quixote, "it is plain you are an arrant bumpkin, and one of those who cry, Long live the conqueror! " "I know not who I am one of," answered Sancho; "but I know very well I shall never get such elegant scum from Basilius's pots as I have done from Camacho's." Here he showed the caldron full of geese and hens; and, laying hold of one, he began to eat with no small degree of good humour and appetite, and said: "A fig for Basilius's abilities! for you are worth just as much as you have, and you have just as much as you are worth. There are but two families in the world, as my grandmother used to say; the Haves and the Havenots, and she stuck to the former: and now-a-days, Master Don Quixote, people are more inclined to feel the pulse of Have than of Know. An ass with golden furniture makes a better figure than a horse with a pack-saddle; so,' that I tell you again, I hold with Camacho, the abundant scum of whose pots are geese and hens, hares and rabbits; whilst that of Basilius's, if ever it comes to hand, must be mere dish-water." "Have you finished your harangue, Sancho?" said Don Quixote. "I must have done," answered Sancho, "because I perceive your worship is going to be in a passion at what I am saying; for, were it not for that, there was work enough cut out for three days." "God grant," replied Don Quixote, "I may see you dumb before I die." "At the rate we go on," answered Sancho, "before you die I shall be mumbling cold clay; and then perhaps I may be so dumb, that I may not speak a word till the end of the world, or at least till doomsday." "Though it should fall out so," answered Don Quixote, "your silence, O Sancho, will never rise to the pitch of your talk, past, present, and to come: besides, according to the course of nature, I must die before you, and therefore never can see you dumb, not even when drinking or sleeping, which is the most I can say."

"In good faith, Sir," answered Sancho, "there is no trusting to Madam Skeleton, I mean Death, who devours lambs as well as sheep; and I have heard our vicar say, she treads with equal foot on the lofty towers of kings and the humble cottages of the poor. That same gentlewoman is more powerful than nice; she is not at all squeamish; she eats of everything, and lays hold of all; and stuffs her wallets with people of all sorts, of all ages, and pre-eminences. She is not a reaper that sleeps away the noonday heat; for she cuts down and mows at all hours, the dry as well as the green grass; nor does she stand to chew, but devours and swallows down all that comes in her way; for she has a canine appetite that is never satisfied; and, though she has no belly, she makes it appear that she has a perpetual dropsy, and a thirst to drink down the lives of all that live, as one would drink a cup of cool water." "Hold, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "while you are well, and do not spoil all; for, in truth, what you -[383]- have said of death, in your rustic phrases, might become the mouth of a good preacher. I tell you, Sancho, if you had but discretion equal to your natural abilities, you might take a pulpit in your hand, and go about the world preaching fine things." "A good liver is the best preacher," answered Sancho, "and that is all the divinity I know." "Or need know," said Don Quixote; "but I can in no wise understand, nor comprehend, how, since the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, you, who are more afraid of a lizard than of him, should be so knowing." "Good your worship, judge of your own chivalries," answered Sancho, "and meddle not with judging of other men's fears or valours; for perhaps I am as pretty a fearer of God as any of my neighbours; and pray let me whip off this scum; for all besides is idle talk, of which we must give an account in the next world." And so saying, he fell to afresh, and assaulted his kettle with so long- winded an appetite, that he awakened that of Don Quixote, who doubtless would have assisted him, had he not been prevented by what we are under a necessity of immediately telling.


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