Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[448]-

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 XXXV: Wherein is continued the Account of the Method prescribed to Don Quixote for the disenchanting Dulcinea, with other wonderful Events.

 

Keeping exact time with the agreeable music, they perceived advancing towards them one of those cars they call triumphal, drawn by six grey mules, covered with white linen; and mounted upon each of them came a penitent of the light,(180) clothed also in white, and a great wax torch lighted m his hand. The car was thrice as big as any of the former, and the sides and top were occupied by twelve other penitents as white as snow, and all carrying lighted torches; a sight which at once caused admiration and affright. Upon an elevated throne sat a nymph clad in a thousand veils of silver tissue, bespangled with numberless leaves of gold tinsel; which made her appear, if not very rich, yet very gorgeous. Her face was covered with a transparent, delicate tiffany; so that, without any impediment from its threads or plaits, you might discover through it the face of a very beautiful damsel; and the multitude of lights gave an opportunity of distinguishing her beauty, and her age, which seemed not to reach twenty years, nor to be under seventeen. Close by her sat a figure arrayed in a gown like a robe of state, down to the feet, and his head covered with a black veil. The moment the car came opposite the spot where the duke and duchess and Don Quixote stood, the music of the attendants ceased, and presently after the harps and lutes, which played in the car; and the figure in the gown standing up, and throwing open the robe, and taking the veil from off his face, discovered plainly the very figure and skeleton of Death, so ugly, that Don Quixote was startled, and Sancho affrighted at it, and the duke and duchess made a show of some timorous concern. This living Death, raised and standing up, with a voice somewhat drowsy, and a tongue not quite awake, began in the following manner:

    "Merlin I am, miscall'd the devil's son
In lying annals, authoriz'd by time;
Monarch supreme and great depositary
Of magic art and Zoroastic skill;
Rival of envious ages, that would hide
The glorious deeds of errant cavaliers,
Favour'd by me, and my peculiar charge.
Though vile enchanters still on mischief bent,
To plague mankind their baleful art employ,
Merlin's soft nature, ever prone to good,
His pow'r inclines to bless the human race.      -[449]-

    In hell's dark chambers, where my busied ghost
Was forming spells and mystic characters,
Dulcinea's voice (peerless Tobosian maid)
With mournful accents reach'd my pitying ears.
I knew her woe, her metamorphos'd form,
From high-born beauty in a palace grac'd,
To the loath'd features of a cottage wench.
With sympathising grief I straight revolv'd
The numerous tomes of my detested art,
And, in the hollow of this skeleton
My soul inclosing, hither am I come,
To tell the cure of such uncommon ills.

    O glory thou of all that case their limbs
In polish'd steel and fenceful adamant,
Light, beacon, polar star, and glorious guide,
Of all, who, starting from the lazy down,
Banish ignoble sleep for the rude toil
And hardy exercise of errant arms;
Spain's boasted pride, La Mancha's matchless knight,
Whose valiant deeds outstrip pursuing fame!
Would'st thou to beauty's pristine state restore
Th'enchanted dame, Sancho, thy faithful squire,
Must to his brawny buttocks, bare expos'd,
Three thousand and three hundred stripes apply,
Such as may sting, and give him smarting pain.
The authors of her change have thus decreed,
And this is Merlin's errand from the shades."

 "I vow to God," quoth Sancho at this period, "I say not three thousand, but I will as soon give myself three stabs as three lashes: the devil take this way of disenchanting; I cannot see what my buttocks have to do with enchantments. Before God, if Signor Merlin can find out no other way to disenchant the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, enchanted she may go to her grave for me." "I shall take you, Don Peasant stuft with garlic," cried Don Quixote, "and tie you to a tree, naked as your mother bore you, and I say not three thousand and three hundred, but six thousand six hundred lashes will I give you, and those so well laid on, that you shall not be able to let them off at three thousand three hundred hard tugs: so answer me not a word; for I will tear out your very soul." Merlin hearing this, said, "It must not be so; for the lashes that honest Sancho is to receive must be with his good-will, and not by force, and at what time he pleases; for there is no term set: but he is allowed, if he pleases, to save himself the pain of one half of this flogging, by suffering the other half to be laid on by another hand, although it be somewhat weighty." "Neither another's hand, nor my own, nor one weighty, nor to be weighed, shall touch me," quoth Sancho; "did I bring forth the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso that my posteriors must pay for the transgressions of her eyes? My master, indeed, who is part of her, since at every step he is calling her his life, his soul, his support, and stay, he can, and ought to lash himself for her, and take all the necessary measures for her disenchantment; but for me to whip myself, I pronounce it."

Scarcely had Sancho said this, when the silvered nymph, who sat close by the shade of Merlin, standing up, and throwing aside her thin veil, discovered her face, in every one's opinion more than excessively beautiful; and with a manly assurance, and no very amiable voice, addressing herself directly to Sancho Panza, she said, "O unlucky squire! soul of a pitcher! -[450]- heart of a cork-tree! and of bowels full of gravel and flints! had you been bid, nose-slitting thief, to throw yourself headlong from some high tower; had you been desired, enemy of human kind, to eat a dozen of toads, two of lizards, and three of snakes; had anybody endeavoured to persuade you to kill your wife and children with some bloody and sharp scimitar, no wonder if you had betrayed an unwillingness and aversion; but to make a stir about three thousand three hundred lashes, which every puny schoolboy receives every month, it amazes, stupefies, and affrights the tender bowels of all who hear it, and even of all who shall hereafter be told it. Cast, miserable and hard-hearted animal, cast, I say, those huge goggle eyes of thine upon the balls of mine, compared to glittering stars, and you will see them weep, drop after drop, and stream after stream, making furrows, tracks, and paths, down the beauteous fields of my cheeks. Relent, subtle and ill-intentioned monster, at my blooming youth, still in its teens, for I am past nineteen, and not quite twenty, pining and withering under the bark of a coarse country wench; and, if at this time I appear otherwise, it is by the particular favour of Signor Merlin here present, merely that my charms may soften you; for the tears of afflicted beauty turn rocks into cotton, and tigers into lambs. Lash, untamed beast, lash that brawny flesh of thine, and rouse from base sloth that courage which only inclines you to eat, and eat again, and set at liberty the sleekness of my skin, the gentleness of my temper, and the beauty of my face; and if, for my sake, you will not be mollified, nor come to any reasonable terms, be so for the sake of that poor knight there by your side; your master, I mean, whose soul I see sticking crosswise in his throat, not ten inches from his lips, expecting nothing but your rigid or mild answer, either to jump out of his mouth, or to return to his stomach."

Don Quixote hearing this, put his finger to his throat to feel, and turning to the duke, said, "Before God, Sir, Dulcinea has said the truth for here I feel my soul sticking in my throat like the stopper of a crossbow." "What say you to this, Sancho?" cried the duchess. "I say, Madam," answered Sancho, "what I have already said, that, as to the lashes, I pronounce them." "Renounce, you should say, Sancho," replied the duke, "and not pronounce." "Please your grandeur to let me alone,"' answered Sancho; "for at present I cannot stand to mind niceties, nor a letter more or less; for these lashes, which are to be given me, or I must give myself, keep me so disturbed that I know not what I say, or what I do. But one thing I would fain know from the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, where she learned the way of entreaty she uses. She comes to desire me to tear my flesh with stripes, and at the same time calls me soul of a pitcher and untamed beast, with such a bead-roll of ill names that the devil may bear them for me. What! does she think my flesh is made of brass? Or is it anything to me whether she be disenchanted or no? Instead of bringing a basket of fine linen, shirts, night-caps, and socks, though I wear none, to mollify me, here is nothing but reproach upon reproach, when she might have known the common proverb, that An ass loaden with gold mounts nimbly up the hill; and, Presents break rocks; and, Prey to God devoutly, and hammer on stoutly; and, One take is worth two I'll give thee's. Then my master, instead of wheedling and coaxing me, to make myself of wool and carded cotton, says, if he takes me in hand, he will tie me naked with a rope to a tree, and double me the dose of stripes. Besides, these compassionate gentlefolks ought to consider, that they do not only desire to have -[451]- a squire whipped, but a governor, as if it were, like drinking after cherries, a thing of course. Let them learn, let them learn, in an ill hour, how to ask and entreat, and to have breeding; for all times are not alike, nor are men always in a good humour. I am at this time just ready to burst with grief to see my green jacket torn; and people come to desire me to whip myself of my own good-will; I having as little mind to it as to turn Indian Prince." "In truth, friend Sancho," said the duke, "if you do not relent, and become softer than a ripe fig, you finger no government. It were good indeed, that I should send my islanders a cruel, flinty-hearted governor; one who relents not at the tears of afflicted damsels, nor at the entreaties of wise, awful, and ancient enchanters and sages. In short, Sancho, either you must whip yourself, or let others whip you, or be no governor." "My lord," answered Sancho, "may I not be allowed two days to consider what is best for me to do?" "No," answered Merlin; "here, at this instant, and upon this spot, the business must be settled; or Dulcinea must return to Montesinos's cave, and to her former condition of a country wench; or else in her present form be carried to the Elysian fields, where she must wait till the number of the lashes be fulfilled." "Come, honest Sancho," said the duchess, "be of good cheer, and show gratitude for the bread you have eaten of your master Don Quixote's, whom we are all bound to serve for his good qualities and his high chivalries. Say Yes, son, to this whipping bout, and the devil take the devil, and let the wretched fear; for a good heart breaks bad fortune, as you well know."

To these words Sancho answered with these extravagances; for, speaking to Merlin, he said: "Pray tell me, Signor Merlin, the court-devil, who came hither, delivered my master a message from Signor Montesinos, bidding him wait for him here, for he was coming to give directions about the disenchantment of the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso; and to this hour we have neither seen Montesinos nor any likeness of his; pray, where is he?" To which Merlin answered: "The devil, friend Sancho, is a blockhead and a very great rascal; I sent him in quest of your master, with a message, not from Montesinos, but from me; for Montesinos is still in his cave, plotting, or, to say better, expecting his disenchantment; for the worst is still behind: if he owes you aught, or you have any business with him, I will fetch him hither, and set him wherever you think fit; and therefore come to a conclusion, and say Yes to this discipline; and, believe me, it will do you much good, as well for your soul as your body; for your soul, in regard of the charity with which you will perform it; for your body, because I know you to be of a sanguine complexion, and letting out a little blood can do you no harm." "What a number of doctors there are in the world! the very enchanters are doctors," replied Sancho. "But since everybody tells me so, though I see no reason for it myself, I say, I am contented to give myself the three thousand three hundred lashes, upon condition that I may lay them on whenever I please, without being tied to days or times; and I will endeavour to get out of debt the soonest that I possibly can, that the world may enjoy the beauty of the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, since, contrary to what I thought, it seems she is in reality beautiful. I article likewise, that I will not be bound to draw blood with the whip, and if some lashes happen only to fly-flap, they shall be taken into the account. Item, if I should mistake in the reckoning, Signor Merlin, who knows everything, shall keep the account, and give me notice how many I want, or have exceeded." "As for exceedings, there is no need of keeping -[452]- account," answered Merlin; "for, as soon as you arrive at the complete number, the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso will be instantly disenchanted, and will come, in a most grateful manner, to seek honest Sancho, to thank, and even reward him for the good deed done. So that there need be no scruple about the surpluses or deficiencies; and Heaven forbid I should cheat anybody of so much as a hair of their head." "Go to then, in God's name," quoth Sancho; "I submit to my ill fortune; I say, I accept of the penance upon the conditions stipulated."

Scarcely had Sancho uttered these words, when the music struck up, and a world of muskets were again discharged; and Don Quixote clung about Sancho's neck, giving him a thousand kisses on the forehead and cheeks. The duke and duchess, and all the bystanders gave signs of being mightily pleased, and the car began to move on; and, in passing by, the fair Dulcinea bowed her head to the duke and duchess, and made a low courtesy to Sancho. By this time the cheerful and joyous dawn came apace; the flowerets of the field expanded their fragrant bosoms, and erected their heads; and the liquid crystals of the brooks, murmuring through the white and grey pebbles, went to pay their tribute to the rivers that expected them. The earth rejoiced, the sky was clear, and the air serene; each singly, and altogether, giving manifest tokens that the day, which trod upon Aurora's heels, would be fair and clear. The duke and duchess, being satisfied with the sport, and having executed their design so ingeniously and happily, returned to their castle, with an intention of seconding their jest; since nothing real could afford them more pleasure.

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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