Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[478]-

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 XLIV: How Sancho Panza was carried to his Government, and of the strange Adventure which befell Don Quixote in the Castle.

 

We are told, that, in the original of this history, it is said, Cid Hamete coming to write this chapter, the interpreter did not translate it as he had written it; which was a kind of complaint the Moor made of himself, for having undertaken a history so dry and so confined as that of Don Quixote, thinking he must be always talking of him and Sancho, without daring to launch into digression or episodes of more weight and entertainment. And he said, that, to have his invention, his hand, and his pen always tied down to write upon one subject only, and to speak by the mouths of few characters, was an insupportable toil, and of no advantage to the author; and that, to avoid this inconvenience, he had, in the first part, made use of the artifice of introducing novels, such as that of the "Curious Impertinent," and that of the "Captive"; which are in a manner detached from the history; though most of what is related in that part are accidents which happened to Don Quixote himself, and could not be omitted. He also thought, as he tells us, that many readers, carried away by their attention to Don Quixote's exploits, could afford none to the novels, and would either run them over in haste, or with disgust, not considering how fine and artificial they were in themselves, as would have been very evident, -[479]- had they been published separately, without being tacked to the extravagances of Don Quixote and the simplicities of Sancho. And therefore, in this second part, he would introduce no loose nor unconnected novels; but only some episodes, resembling them, and such as flow naturally from such events as the truth offers; and even these with great limitation, and in no more words than are sufficient to express them; and, since he restrains and confines himself within the narrow limits of the narration, though with ability, genius, and understanding sufficient to treat of the whole universe, he desires his pains may not be undervalued, but that he may receive applause, not for what he writes, but what he has omitted to write; and then he goes on with his history, saying:

Don Quixote, in the evening of the day he gave the instructions to Sancho, gave them him in writing, that he might get somebody to read them to him; but scarcely had he delivered them to Sancho, when he dropped them, and they fell into the duke's hands, who communicated them to the duchess; and they both admired afresh at the madness and capacity of Don Quixote; and so, going on with their jest, that evening they despatched Sancho with a large retinue to the place which, to him, was to be an island. The person who had the management of the business was a steward of the duke's, a man of pleasantry and discretion (for there can be no true pleasantry without discretion), and who had already personated the Countess Trifaldi with the humour already related; and with these qualifications, and the instructions of his lord and lady how to behave to Sancho, he performed his part to admiration. Now it fell out, that Sancho no sooner cast his eyes on the same steward, but he fancied he saw in his face the very features of the Trifaldi; and, turning to his master, he said, "Sir, either the devil shall run away with me from the place where I stand for an honest man and a believer, or your worship shall confess to me that the countenance of this same steward of the duke's is the very same with that of the Afflicted." Don Quixote beheld him attentively, and having viewed him, said to Sancho: "There is no need of the devil's running away with you, Sancho, either as an honest man or a believer; for, though I know not what you mean, I see plainly the steward's face is the same with the Afflicted's, and yet the steward is not the Afflicted; for that would imply a palpable contradiction. But this is no time to enter into these inquiries, which would involve us in an intricate labyrinth. Believe me, friend, we ought earnestly to pray to our Lord to deliver us from wicked wizards and enchanters." "It is no jesting matter, Sir," replied Sancho;" for I heard him speak before, and methought the Trifaldi's voice sounded in my ears. Well, I say no more; but I will not fail to be upon the watch henceforward, to see whether I can discover any other sign to confirm or remove my suspicion." "Do so, Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "and give me advice of all you discover in this affair, and all that happens to you in your government."

At length Sancho set out with a great number of followers. He was habited like one of the gown, having on a wide surtout of murrey-coloured camlet, with a cap of the same, and mounted, a la gineta,(190) upon a mule. And behind him, by the duke's order, was led his Dapple, with ass-like furniture, all of flaming fine silk. Sancho turned back his head every now and then to look at his ass, with whose company he was so delighted, that he would not have changed conditions with the emperor of Germany. At taking leave of the duke and duchess, he kissed their hands, and -[480]- begged his master's blessing, which he gave with tears, and Sancho received blubbering. Now, loving reader, let honest Sancho depart in peace, and in a good hour, and expect two bushels of laughter from the accounts how he demeaned himself in his employment; and, in the meantime, attend to what befell his master that night; which, if it does not make you laugh, you will at least open your lips with the grin of a monkey for the adventures of Don Quixote must be celebrated either with admiration or laughter.

It is related, then, that scarcely was Sancho departed, when Don Quixote began to regret his own solitary condition, and, had it been possible for him to have recalled the commission, and taken the government from him, he would certainly have done it. The duchess soon perceived his melancholy, and asked him why he was so sad: if for the absence of Sancho, there were squires, duennas, and damsels enough in her house, ready to serve him to his heart's desire. "It is true, Madam." answered Don Quixote, "that I am concerned for Sancho's absence; but that is not the principal cause that makes me appear sad; and, of all your excellency's kind offers, I accept and choose that only of the goodwill with which they are tendered; and for the rest I humbly beseech your excellency, that you would be pleased to consent and permit that I alone may wait upon myself in my chamber." "Truly, Signor Don Quixote,' said the duchess, "it must not be so, but you shall be served by four of my damsels, all beautiful as flowers." "To me," answered Don Quixote, "they will not be flowers, but very thorns, pricking me to the soul; they shall no more come into my chamber, nor anything like it, than they shall fly. If your grandeur would continue your favours to me, without my deserving them, suffer me to be alone, and let me serve myself within my own doors, that I may keep a wall betwixt my passions and my modesty; a practice I would not forego for all your highness's liberality towards me. In short, I will sooner lie in my clothes, than consent to let anybody help to undress me." "Enough, enough, Signor Don Quixote," replied the duchess: "I promise you I will give orders that not so much as a fly shall enter your chamber, much less a damsel. I would by no means be accessory to the violation of Signor Don Quixote's decency; for, by what I can perceive, the most conspicuous of his many virtues is his modesty. Your worship, Sir, may undress and dress by yourself, your own way, when and how you please; for nobody shall hinder you, and in your chamber you will find all the necessary utensils; so that you may sleep with the doors locked, and no natural want need oblige you to open them. A thousand ages live the grand Dulcinea del Toboso, and be her name extended over the whole globe of the earth, for meriting the love of so valiant and so chaste a knight; and may indulgent Heaven infuse into the heart of Sancho Panza, our governor, a disposition to finish his whipping speedily, that the world may again enjoy the beauty of so great a lady!" To which Don Quixote said, "Your highness has spoken like yourself, and from the mouth of such good ladies nothing that is bad can proceed; and Dulcinea will be more happy, and more known in the world, by the praises your grandeur bestows on her, than by those of the most eloquent on earth." "Signor Don Quixote," replied the duchess, "the hour of supper draws near, and the duke may be staying for us: come, Sir, let us sup, and to bed betimes; for your yesterday's journey from Candaya was not so short, but it must have somewhat fatigued you." "Not at all, Madam," -[481]- answered Don Quixote; for I can safely swear to your excellency, that in all my life I never bestrid a soberer beast, nor of an easier pace, than Clavileno; and I cannot imagine what possessed Malambruno to part with so swift and so gentle a steed, and burn him so, without more ado." "We may suppose," answered the duchess, "that, repenting of the mischief he had done to the Trifaldi and her companions, and to other persons, and of the iniquities he had committed as a wizard and an enchanter, he had a mind to destroy all the instruments of his art, and as the principal, and that which gave him the most disquiet, by having carried him up and down from country to country, he burnt Clavileno; and thus, with his ashes, and the trophy of the parchment, has eternalised the valour of the grand Don Quixote de la Mancha." Don Quixote gave thanks afresh to the duchess, and, when he had supped, he retired to his chamber alone, not consenting to let anybody come in to wait upon him; so afraid was he of meeting with temptations to move or force him to transgress that modest decency he had preserved towards his lady Dulcinea; bearing always in mind the chastity of Amadis, the flower and mirror of knights-errant. He shut his door after him, and by the light of two wax candles, pulled off his clothes, and, at stripping off his stockings (O mishap unworthy of such a personage!) forth burst, not sighs, nor anything else that might discredit his cleanliness, but some two dozen stitches of a stocking, which made it resemble a lattice-window. The good gentleman was extremely afflicted, and would have given an ounce of silver to have had there a drachm of green silk; I say green, because his stockings were green.

Here Benengeli exclaims, and, writing on, says, "O poverty! poverty! I cannot imagine what moved the great Cordovan poet to call thee 'a holy thankless gift.' I, though a Moor, know very well, by the intercourse I have had with the Christians, that holiness consists in charity, humility, faith, obedience, and poverty. But, for all that, I say, a man must have a great share of the grace of God, who can bring himself to be contented with poverty, unless it be that kind of it, of which one of their greatest saints speaks, saying, Possess all things as not possessing them. And this is called poverty in spirit. But thou, O second poverty! (which is that I am speaking of), why dost thou choose to pinch gentlemen, and such as are well-born, rather than other people? Why dost thou force them to cobble their shoes, and to wear one button of their coats of silk, one of hair, and one of glass? Why must their ruffs be, for the most part, ill-ironed, and worse starched?" By this you may see the antiquity of the use of ruffs and starch. Then he goes on: "Wretched well-born gentleman! who is administering jelly-broths to his honour, while he is starving his carcass, dining with his door locked upon him, and making a hypocrite of his toothpick, with which he walks out into the street, after having eaten nothing to oblige him to this cleanliness. Wretched he, I say, whose skittish honour is always ready to start, apprehensive that everybody sees, a league off, the patch upon his shoe, the sweating-through of his hat, the threadbareness of his cloak, and the hunger of his stomach!"

All these melancholy reflections recurred to Don Quixote's thoughts upon the rent in his stocking; but his comfort was, that Sancho had left him behind a pair of travelling boots, which he resolved to put on next day. Finally, he laid himself down, pensive and heavy-hearted, as well for lack of Sancho, as for the irreparable misfortune of his stocking, whose -[482]- stitches he would gladly have darned, though with silk of another colour; which is one of the greatest signs of misery a gentleman can give in the course of his tedious neediness. He put out the lights; the weather was hot, and he could not sleep; he got out of bed, and opened the casement of a grate-window, which looked into a fine garden, and, at opening it, he perceived and heard somebody walking and talking in the garden. He set himself to listen attentively; and those below raised their voice so high that he could distinguish these words: "Press me not, O Emerencia, to sing; for you know, ever since this stranger came into this castle, and my eyes beheld him, I cannot sing, but weep. Besides, my lady sleeps not sound, and I would not have her find us here for all the treasure of the world. But suppose she should sleep, and not awake, my singing will still be in vain, if this new neas, who is arrived in my territories to leave me forlorn, sleeps on, and awakes not to hear it." "Do not fancy so, dear Altisidora," answered the other; "for doubtless the duchess, and everybody else in the house is asleep, excepting the master of your heart and disturber of your repose; for even now I heard him open his casement, and, without doubt, he must be awake. Sing, my afflicted creature, in a low and sweet voice, to the sound of your harp; and, if the duchess should hear us, we will plead the excessive heat of the weather." "This is not the point, O Emerencia," answered Altisidora, "but that I am afraid my song should betray my heart, and so I may be taken for a light longing hussy by those who are unacquainted with the powerful effects of love. But come what will: better a blush in the face, than a blot in the heart;" and presently she began to touch a harp most sweetly; which Don Quixote hearing, he was surprised; and in that instant came into his mind an infinite number of adventures of the like kind, of casements, grates, and gardens, serenades, courtships, and faintings away, of which he had read in his idle books of chivalry. He straight imagined that some damsel of the duchess's had fallen in love with him, and that modesty obliged her to conceal her passion. He was a little afraid of being captivated, but resolved in his own thoughts not to yield; and so, commending himself with all his soul and with all might to his mistress Dulcinea del Toboso, he determined to listen to the music; and, to let them know he was there, he gave a feigned sneeze; at which the damsels were not a little glad, desiring nothing more than that Don Quixote should hear them. Now the harp being tuned and put in order, Altisidora began this song:

SONG.       

" Gentle knight, La Mancha's glory,
  Fam'd in never-dying story;
  Of a purer, finer, mould,
  Than Arabia's finest gold:
  Thou that in thy downy bed,
  Wrapt in Holland sheets, art laid,
  And with outstretch'd legs art yawning,
  Or asleep till morrow's dawning:
  Hear a woeful maid complaining,
  Who must die by thy disdaining,
  Since thy eyes have scorch'd her soul,
  And have burnt it to a coal.
  If the aim of thy adventures
  In relieving damsels enters,
  Canst thou wound a tender maid,
  And refuse thy wonted aid?        -[483]-
  Tell, O tell me, I conjure thee,
  (So may heav'nly help secure thee),
  Wert thou born where lions roar
  On remotest Afric's shore?
  Wert thou some bleak mountain's care,
  And did'st suck, thy nurse, a bear?
  Fair Dulcinny, tall and slender,
  Well may boast thy heart's surrender,
  Since those charms must stand confest,
  That could tame a tiger's breast:
  And henceforth she shall be known
  From the Tagus to the Rhone.
  Could I take Dulcinny's place,
  And but swap with hers my face,
  Oh! I'd give my Sunday's suit,
  And fring'd petticoat to boot.
  Happy she, that, in those arms.
  Clasp'd, enjoys thy manly charms,
  Or but, sitting by thy bed,
  Chafes thy feet, or rubs thy head!
  Ah! I wish and ask too much:
  Let me but thy great toe touch;'
  Twere to humble me a blessing,
  And reward beyond expressing.
  Oh! how I would lavish riches,
  Satin vests, and damask breeches,
  To adorn and dress my dear!
  Oh! what night-caps he should wear!
  I'm a virgin, neat and clean,
  And, in faith, not quite fifteen!
  Tall and straight, and very sound,
  And my ringlets brush the ground.
  Though my mouth be somewhat wide,
  In my coral teeth I pride;
  And the flatness of my nose
  Here for finish'd beauty goes.
  How I sing, I need not say,
  If perchance thou hear'st this lay.
  These, and twenty graces more-a,
  Court thee to Altisidora."

Here ended the song of the sore-wounded Altisidora, and began the alarm of the courted Don Quixote, who, fetching a deep sigh, said within himself, "Why am I so unhappy a knight-errant, that no damsel can see me but she must presently fall in love with me? Why is the peerless Dulcinea so unlucky, that she must not be suffered singly to enjoy this my incomparable constancy? Queens! what would you have with her? Empresses! why do you persecute her? Damsels from fourteen to fifteen! why do ye plague her? Leave, leave the poor creature; let her triumph, glory, and plume herself in the lot, which love bestowed upon her in the conquest of my heart, and the surrender of my soul. Take notice, enamoured multitude, that to Dulcinea alone I am paste and sugar, and to all others flint; to her I am honey, and to the rest of ye aloes. To me Dulcinea alone is beautiful, discreet, lively, modest, and well-born; and the rest of her sex foul, foolish, fickle, and base-born. To be hers, and hers alone, nature threw me into the world. Let Altisidora weep or sing; let the lady despair, on whose account I was buffeted in the castle of the enchanted Moor.(191) Boiled or roasted, Dulcinea's I must be, clean, well-bred, and chaste, in spite of all the necromantic powers on earth." This said, he clapped to the casement, and, in despite and sorrow, as if some great -[484]- misfortune had befallen him, threw himself upon his bed; where at present, we will leave him, to attend the great Sancho Panza, who is desirous of beginning his famous government.

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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