Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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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 XXVIII: Of Things, which, Benengeli says, he who reads them will know, if he reads them with attention.


When the valiant flies it is plain he is overmatched; for it is the part of the wise to reserve themselves for better occasions. This truth was verified in Don Quixote, who, giving way to the fury of the people, and to the evil intentions of that resentful squadron, took to his heels, and, without bethinking him of Sancho, or of the danger in which he left him, got as -[417]- far on as he deemed sufficient for his safety. Sancho followed him on his beast, as has been said. At last he came up to him, having recovered his senses; and, at coming up, he fell from Dapple at the feet of Rozinante, all in anguish, all bruised, and all beaten. Don Quixote alighted to examine his wounds; but finding him whole from head to foot, with much choler he said, "In an unlucky hour, Sancho, must you needs show your skill in braying; where did you learn that it was fitting to name a halter in the house of a man that was hanged? To the music of braying, what counterpoint could you expect but that of a cudgel? Give God thanks, Sancho, that, instead of crossing your back with a cudgel, they did not make the sign of the cross on you with a scimitar." "I am not now in a condition to answer," replied Sancho; "for methinks I speak through my shoulders; let us mount and begone from this place; as for braying, I will have done with it, but I shall not with telling that knights-errant fly and leave their faithful squires to be beaten to powder by their enemies." "To retire is not to fly," answered Don Quixote; "for you must know, Sancho, that the valour which has not prudence for its basis is termed rashness, and the exploits of the rash are ascribed rather to their good fortune than their courage. I confess I did retire, but not fly; and herein I imitated sundry valiant persons, who have reserved themselves for better times; and of this histories are full of examples, which, being of no profit to you or pleasure to me, I omit at present."

By this time, Sancho was mounted, with the assistance of Don Quixote, who likewise got upon Rozinante; and so they gently took their way toward a grove of poplars which they discovered about a quarter of a league off. Sancho every now and then fetched most profound signs and doleful groans. Don Quixote asking him the cause of such bitter moaning, he answered that he was in pain from the lowest point of his backbone to the nape of his neck, in such manner that he was ready to swoon. "The cause of this pain," said Don Quixote, "must doubtless be that the pole they struck you with, being a long one, took in your whole back, where lie all the parts that give you pain, and, if it had reached further, it would have pained you more." "Before God!" quoth 'Sancho, "your worship has brought me out of a grand doubt, and explained it in very fine terms. Body of me! was the cause of my pain so hid that it was necessary to tell me that I felt pain in all those parts which the pole reached? If my ankles ached, you might not, perhaps, so easily guess why they pained me; but to divine that I am pained because beaten is no great business. In faith, master of mine, other men's harms hang by a hair; I descry land more and more every day, and what little I am to expect from keeping your worship company; for if this bout you let me be basted, we shall return again, and a hundred times again, to our old blanket-tossing and other follies; which, if this time they have fallen upon my back, the next they will fall upon my eyes. It would be much better for me, but that I am a barbarian, and shall never do anything that is right while I live; I say again, it would be much better for me to return to my own house, and to my wife and children, to maintain and bring them up with the little God shall be pleased to give me, and not be following your worship through roadless roads and pathless paths, drinking ill and eating worse. Then for sleeping, measure out, brother squire, seven feet of earth, and, if that is not sufficient, take as many more; it is in your own power to dish up the mess, and stretch yourself out to your heart's content. I wish I may see -[418]- the first who set on foot knight-errantry burnt to ashes, or at least the first that would needs be squire to such idiots as all the knights-errant of former times must have been. I say nothing of the present; for, your worship being one of them, I am bound to pay them respect, and because I know your worship knows a point beyond the devil in all you talk and think."

"I would lay a good wager with you, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "that, now you are talking, and without interruption, you feel no pain in all your body. Talk on, my son, all that comes into your thoughts, and whatever comes uppermost; for, so you feel no pain, I shall take pleasure in the very trouble your impertinences give me; and if you have so great a desire to return home to your wife and children, God forbid I should hinder you! You have money of mine in your hands; see how long it is since we made this third sally from our town, and how much you could or ought to get each month, and pay yourself." "When I served Thomas Carrasco, father of the Bachelor Sampson Carrasco, whom your worship knows full well," said Sancho, "I got two ducats a month, besides my victuals; with your worship I cannot tell what I may get; though I am sure it is a greater drudgery to be squire to a knight-errant than servant to a farmer; for, in short, we who serve husbandmen, though we labour never so hard in the daytime, let the worst come to the worst, at night we have a supper from the pot, and we sleep in a bed, which is more than I have done since I have served your worship, excepting the short time we were at Don Diego de Miranda's house, the good cheer I had with the skimming of Camacho's pots, and while I ate, drank, and slept at Basilius's house. All the rest of the time I have lain on the hard ground, in the open air, subject to what people call the inclemencies of Heaven, living upon bits of bread and scraps of cheese, and drinking water, sometimes from the brook, and sometimes from the fountain, such as we met with up and down by the way."

"I confess, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "that all you say is true; how much think you I ought to give you more than Thomas Carrasco gave you?" "I think," quoth Sancho, "if your worship adds two reals a month, I shall reckon myself well paid. This is to be understood as to wages due for my labour; but as to the promise your worship made of bestowing on me the government of an island, it would be just and reasonable you should add six reals more; which make thirty in all." "It is very well," replied Don Quixote; "according to the wages you have allotted yourself, it is five and twenty days since we sallied from our town; reckon, Sancho, in proportion, and see what I owe you, and pay yourself, as I have already said, with your own hand." "Body of me!" quoth Sancho, "your worship is clean out in the reckoning; for, as to the business of the promised island, we must compute from the day you promised me to the present hour." "Why, how long is it since I promised it you?" said Don Quixote. "If I remember right," answered Sancho, "it is about twenty years and three days, more or less." Don Quixote gave himself a good clap on the forehead with the palm of his hand, and began to laugh very heartily, and said, "Why, my rambling up and down the Sable Mountain, with the whole series of our sallies, scarcely take up two months, and say you, Sancho, it is twenty years since I promised you the island? Well, I perceive you have a mind your wages should swallow up all the money you have of mine; if it be so, and such is your desire, from henceforward I give it you, and much good may it do you; for so I -[419]- may get rid of so worthless a squire, I shall be glad to be left poor and penniless. But tell me, perverter of the squirely ordinances of knight-errantry, where have you seen or read that any squire to a knight-errant ever presumed to article with his master, and say, So much and so much per month you must give me to serve you? Launch, launch out, cut-throat, scoundrel, and hobgoblin, for thou art all these; launch, I say, into the mare magnum of their histories, and if you can find that any squire has said or thought what you have now said, I will give you leave to nail it on my forehead, and over and over to write fool upon my face in capitals. Turn about the bridle or halter of Dapple, and be gone home; for one single step farther you go not with me. O bread ill bestowed! O promises ill placed! O man, that hast more of the beast than of the human creature! Now, when I thought of settling you, and in such a way, that in spite of your wife, you should have been styled your lordship, do you now leave me? Now you are for going, when I have taken a firm and effectual resolution to make you lord of the best island in the world I But, as you yourself have often said, honey is not for an ass's mouth. An ass you are, an ass you will continue to be, and an ass you will die; for I verily believe your life will reach its final period before you will perceive or be convinced that you are a beast."

Sancho looked very wistfully at Don Quixote all the time he was thus rating him; and so great was the compunction he felt, that the tears stood in his eyes, and, with a doleful and faint voice he said, "Dear Sir, I confess that to be a complete ass, I want nothing but a tail; if your worship will be pleased to put me on one I shall deem it well placed, and will serve your worship in the quality of an ass all the remaining days of my life. Pardon me, Sir; have pity on my ignorance, and consider, that, if I talk much, it proceeds more from infirmity than malice; but, He who errs and mends, himself to God commends." "I should wonder. Sancho," said Don Quixote, "if you did not mingle some little proverb with your talk. Well, 1 forgive you, upon condition of your amendment, and that henceforward you show not yourself so fond of your interest, but that you endeavour to enlarge your heart; take courage, and strengthen your mind to expect the accomplishment of my promises, which, though they are deferred, are not therefore desperate." Sancho answered he would, though he should draw force from his weakness. On which they entered the poplar grove. Don Quixote accommodated himself at the foot of an elm, and Sancho at the foot of a beech; for this, and similar kinds of trees, have always feet but never hands. Sancho passed the night uneasily, the cold renewing the pain of his bruises. Don Quixote passed it in his wonted meditations; but for all that they both slept, and at break of day they pursued their way towards the banks of the famous Ebro, where befell them what shall be related in the ensuing chapter.


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