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 LVIII: Showing how adventures crowded so fast upon Don Quixote, that they trod upon one another's heels.


Don Quixote, seeing himself in the open field free, and delivered from the courtship of Altisidora, thought himself in his proper element, and that his spirits were reviving in him to prosecute afresh his scheme of knight-errantry; and turning to Sancho, he said: "Liberty, Sancho, is one of the most valuable gifts Heaven has bestowed upon men; the treasures which the earth encloses, or the sea covers, are not to be compared with it. Life may, and ought to be risked for liberty, as well as for honour; and, on the contrary, slavery is the greatest evil that can befall us. tell you this, Sancho, because you have observed the civil treatment and plenty we enjoyed in the castle we have left. In the midst of those seasoned banquets, those icy draughts, I fancied myself starving, because I did not enjoy them with the same freedom I should have done had they been my own. For the obligations of returning benefits and favours received are ties that obstruct the free agency of the mind. Happy the man to whom Heaven has given a morsel of bread, without laying him under the obligation of thanking any other for it than Heaven itself." "Notwithstanding all your worship has said," quoth Sancho, "it is fit there should be some small acknowledgment on our part for the two hundred crowns in gold, which the duke's steward gave me in a little purse; which, as a cordial and comfortative, I carry next my heart, against whatever may happen, for we shall not always find castles where we shall be made much of; now and then we must expect to meet with inns, where we may be soundly thrashed."

In these, and other discourses, our errants, knight and squire, went jogging on, when, having travelled a little above a league, they espied a dozen men clad like peasants sitting at dinner upon the grass, and their cloaks spread under them, in a little green meadow. Close by them were certain white sheets, as it seemed, under which something lay concealed. They were raised above the ground, and stretched out at some little distance from each other. Don Quixote approached the eaters, and first courteously saluting them, asked them what they had under those sheets. One of them answered: "Sir, under that linen are certain wooden images, designed to be placed upon an altar we are erecting in our village. We carry them covered, that they may not be sullied, and upon our shoulders, that they may not be broken." "If you please," answered Don Quixote, "I should he glad to see them; for images that are carried with so much precaution must doubtless be good ones." "Ay, and very good ones too," said another, "as their price will testify; for, in truth, there is not one of them but stands us in above fifty ducats. And, to convince your worship of this truth, stay but a little while, and you shall see it with your own eyes." And rising up from eating, he went and took off the covering from the first figure, which appeared to be a St George on horseback, with a serpent coiled up at his feet, and his lance run through its mouth, with all the fierceness it is usually painted with. The whole image seemed to be, as we say, one blaze of gold. Don Quixote seeing it, said: "This knight was one of the best errants the divine warfare ever had. He was called Don St George, and was besides a defender of damsels; let us see this other." -[540]- The man uncovered it, and it appeared to be that of St Martin on horse-back, dividing his cloak with the poor man. And scarcely had Don Quixote seen it, when he said: "This knight also was one of the Christian adventurers; and I take it he was more liberal than valiant, as you may perceive, Sancho, by his dividing his cloak with the beggar, and giving him half of it; and doubtless it must have been then winter; otherwise he would have given it him all, so great was his charity." "That was not the reason," quoth Sancho; "but he had a mind to keep to the proverb, which  says: What to give, and what to keep, requires an understanding deep." Don Quixote smiled, and desired another sheet might be taken off, underneath which was discovered the image of the patron of Spain on horse-back, his sword all bloody, trampling on Moors, and treading upon heads. And, at sight of it, Don Quixote said: "Ay, marry, this is a knight indeed, one of Christ's own squadron. He is called Don St Diego, the Moor-killer, one of the most valiant saints and knights the world had formerly, or Heaven has now." Then they removed another sheet, which covered St Paul falling from his horse, with all the circumstances that are usually drawn in the picture of his conversion. When Don Quixote saw it represented in so lively a manner, that one would almost say Christ was speaking to him, and St Paul answering, he said: "This was the greatest enemy the Church of God our Lord had in his time, and the greatest defender it will ever have; a knight-errant in his life, and a steadfast saint in his death; an unwearied labourer in the Lord's vineyard; a teacher of the Gentiles; whose school was Heaven, and whose professor and master Jesus Christ himself." There were no more images, and so Don Quixote bid them cover them up again, and said: "I take it for a good omen, brethren, to have seen what I have seen; for these saints and knights professed what I profess, which is the exercise of arms; the only difference between them and me is that they were saints, and fought after a heavenly manner, and I am a sinner, and fight after an earthly manner. They conquered Heaven by force of arms (for Heaven suffers violence), and I hitherto cannot tell what I conquer by force of my sufferings. But, could my Dulcinea del Toboso get out of hers, my condition being bettered, and my understanding directed aright, I might perhaps take a better course than I do." "God hear him," quoth Sancho straight, "and let sin be deaf." The men wondered as well at the figure, as at the words of Don Quixote, without understanding half what he meant by them. They finished their repast, packed up their images, and taking their leave of Don Quixote, pursued their journey.

Sancho remained as much in admiration at his master's knowledge, as if he had never known him before, thinking there was not an history nor event in the world, which he had not at his fingers' ends, and fastened down to his memory, and he said: "Truly, master of mine, if this that has happened to us to-day may be called an adventure, it has been one of the softest and sweetest that has befallen us in the whole course of our peregrinations; we are got clear of it without blows, or any heart-beating; we have neither laid our hands to our swords, nor beaten the earth with our bodies, nor are we starved with hunger. Blessed be God for letting me see this with my own eyes!" "You say well, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "but you must consider that all times are not alike, nor do they take the same course; and what the vulgar commonly call omens, though not founded upon any natural reason, a discreet man will yet look upon as lucky encounters. One of these superstitions rises and goes abroad early -[541]- in the morning, and meeting with a friar of the Order of the blessed St Francis, turns his back, as if he had met a griffin, and goes home again. Another, a Mendoza, spills the salt upon the table, and presently melancholy overspreads his heart, as if nature was bound to show signs of ensuing mischances, by such trivial accidents as the afore-mentioned. The wise man and good Christian ought not to pry too curiously into the counsels of Heaven. Scipio, arriving in Africa, stumbled at jumping ashore; his soldiers took it for an ill omen; but he, embracing the ground, said: Africa, thou canst not escape me, for I have thee fast between my arms.' So that, Sancho, the meeting with these images has been a most happy encounter to me." "I verily believe it," answered Sancho, "and I should be glad your worship would inform me why the Spaniards, when they join battle, invoke that saint Diego the Moor-killer, and cry, Saint Jago, and Close Spain. Is Spain, peradventure, so open as to want closing? Or what ceremony is this?" "You are a very child, Sancho," answered Don Quixote; "for take notice, God gave this great knight of the red cross to Spain for its patron and protector, especially in those rigorous conflicts the Spaniards have had with the Moors; and therefore they pray to, and invoke him as their defender, in all the battles they fight; and they have frequently seen him, visibly overthrowing, trampling down, destroying, and slaughtering the Hagarene squadrons;(208) and of this I could produce many examples recorded in the true Spanish histories."

Sancho changed the discourse, and said to his master: "I am amazed, Sir, at the assurance of Altisidora, the duchess's waiting-woman. He they call Love must surely have wounded her sorely, and pierced her through and through. They say he is a boy, who, though blear-eyed, or, to say better, without sight, if he takes aim at any heart, how small soever, he hits and pierces it through and through with his arrows. I have also heard say, that the darts of Love are blunted and rendered pointless by the modesty and reserve of maidens; but, in this same Altisidora, methinks, they are rather whetted than blunted." "Look you, Sancho," answered Don Quixote, 'Love regards no respects, nor observes any rules of reason in his proceedings, and is of the same nature with Death, which assaults the stately palaces of kings, as well as the lowly cottages of shepherds; and when he takes entire possession of a soul, the first thing he does is to divest it of fear and shame; and thus Altisidora, being without both, made an open declaration of her desires, which produced rather confusion than compassion in my breast." "Notorious cruelty!" quoth Sancho; "unheard-of ingratitude! I dare say for myself, that the least amorous hint of hers would have subdued me, and made me her vassal. O whoreson! what a heart of marble, what bowels of brass, and what a soul of plaster of Paris! But I cannot conceive what it is this damsel saw in your worship that subdued and captivated her to that degree. What finery, what gallantry, what gaiety, what face; which of these, jointly or severally, made her fall in love with you? for, in truth, I have often surveyed your worship, from the tip of your toe to the top of your head, and I see in you more things to cause affright than love. And having also heard say, that beauty is the first and principal thing that enamours, your worship having none at all, I wonder what the poor thing was in love with." "Look you, Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "there are two sorts of beauty the one of the mind, the other of the body. That of the mind shines and discovers itself in the understanding, in modesty, good behaviour, liberality and good - breeding; and all these -[542]- qualities may subsist and be found in an ill-favoured man; and when the aim is at this beauty, and not at that of the body, it produces love with impetuosity and advantage. 1 know very well, Sancho, that I am not handsome; but I know also that I am not deformed; and an honest man, who is not a monster, may be beloved, provided he has the qualities of the mind I have mentioned."

Amidst these discourses they entered into a wood, not far out of the road; and on a sudden Don Quixote found himself entangled in some nets of green thread, which hung from one tree to another; and not being able to imagine what it might be, he said to Sancho: "The business of these nets, Sancho, must, I think, be one of the newest adventures imaginable; let me die, if the enchanters who persecute me have not a mind to entangle me in them, and stop my journey, by way of revenge for the rigorous treatment Altisidora received from me. But I would have them to know, that, though these nets, as they are made of thread, were made of the hardest diamonds, or stronger than that in which the jealous god of blacksmiths entangled Venus and Mars, I would break them as easily as if they were made of bulrushes or yarn." And as he was going to pass forward, and break through all, unexpectedly, from among some trees, two most beautiful shepherdesses presented themselves before him; at least they were clad like shepherdesses, excepting that their waistcoats and petticoats were of fine brocade. Their habits were of rich gold tabby; their hair, which for brightness might come in competition with the rays of the sun, hanging loose about their shoulders, and their heads crowned with garlands of green laurel and red flower-gentles interwoven. Their age seemed to be not under fifteen, nor above eighteen. This was a sight which amazed Sancho, surprised Don Quixote, made the sun stop in his career to behold them, and held them all in marvellous silence. At length one of the shepherdesses spoke, and said to Don Quixote: "Stop, Signor Cavalier, and break not the nets placed here, not for your hurt, but our diversion; and because I know you will ask us why they are spread, and who we are, I will tell you in a few words. In a town about two leagues off, where there are several people of quality, and a great many gentlemen, and those rich, it was agreed among several friends and relations, that their sons, wives, and daughters, neighbours, friends, and relations should all come to make merry in this place, which is one of the pleasantest in these parts, forming among ourselves a new pastoral Arcadia, and dressing ourselves, the maidens like shepherdesses, and the young men like shepherds. We have got by heart two eclogues, one of the famous poet Garcilasso, and the other of the most excellent Camoens, in his own Portuguese tongue, which we have not yet acted. Yesterday was the first day of our coming hither; we have some field-tents pitched among the trees, on the margin of a copious stream, which spreads fertility over all these meadows. Last night we hung our nets upon these trees, to deceive the simple little birds, which should come at the noise we make, and be caught in them. If, Sir, you please to be our guest, you shall be entertained generously and courteously; for into this place neither sorrow nor melancholy enter."

She held her peace, and said no more. To which Don Quixote answered: "Assuredly, fairest lady, Actaeon was not in greater surprise and amazement, when unawares he saw Diana bathing herself in the water, than I have been in at beholding your beauty. I applaud the scheme of your diversions, and thank you for your kind offers; and, if I can do you -[543]- any service, you may lay your commands upon me, in full assurance of being obeyed; for my profession is no other than to show myself grateful, and a benefactor to all sorts of people, especially to those of the rank your presence denotes you to be of; and should these nets, which probably take up but a small space, occupy the whole globe of the earth, would seek out new worlds to pass through, rather than hazard the breaking them. And that you may afford some credit to this exaggeration of mine, behold, he who makes you this promise is no less than Don Quixote de la Mancha, if perchance this name has ever reached your ears." "Ah! friend of my soul!" cried the other young shepherdess then, "what good fortune is this that has befallen us? See you this gentleman here before us? I assure you, he is the most valiant, the most enamoured, the most complaisant knight in the world, unless a history which goes about of him in print, and which I have read, lies and deceives us. I will lay a wager this honest man who comes with him is that very Sancho Panza, his squire, whose pleasantries none can equal." "That is true," quoth Sancho; "I am that same jocular person, and that squire you say; and this gentleman is my master, the very Don Quixote de la Mancha aforesaid, and historified." "Ah!" cried the other, "my dear, let us entreat him to stay; for our fathers and brothers will be infinitely pleased to have him here; for I have heard the same things of his valour and wit that you tell me: and particularly they say, he is the most constant and most faithful lover in the world; and that his mistress is one Dulcinea del Toboso, who bears away the palm from all the beauties in Spain." "And with good reason," said Don Quixote, "unless your matchless beauty brings it into question. But weary not yourselves, ladies, in endeavouring to detain me; for the precise obligations of my profession will suffer me to rest nowhere."

They all gazed at him, and admired at the sight.
They all gazed at him, and admired at the sight.

By this time there came up to where the four stood, a brother of one of the young shepherdesses; he was also in a shepherd's dress, answerable in richness and gallantry to theirs. They told him that the person he saw was the valorous Don Quixote de la Mancha, and the other Sancho, his squire, of whom he had some knowledge by having read their history. The gallant shepherd saluted him, and desired him to come with him to the tents. Don Quixote could not refuse, and therefore went with him. Then the nets were drawn, and filled with a variety of little birds, who, deceived by the colour of the nets, fell into the very danger they endeavoured to fly from. Above thirty persons, genteelly dressed in pastoral habits, were assembled together in that place, and presently were made acquainted who Don Quixote and his squire were; which was no small satisfaction to them, being already no strangers to his history. They hastened to the tents, where they found the table spread, rich, plentiful, and neat. They honoured Don Quixote with placing him at the upper end. They all gazed at him, and admired at the sight. Finally, the cloth being taken away, Don Quixote, with great gravity raised his voice, and said:

"Of all the grievous sins men commit, though some say pride, I say ingratitude is the worst, adhering to the common opinion, that hell is full of the ungrateful. This sin I have endeavoured to avoid, as much as possibly I could, ever since I came to the use of reason; and, if I cannot repay the good offices done me with the like, I place in their stead the desire of doing them; and, when this is not enough, I publish them; for he who tells and publishes the good deeds done him, would return them in kind if he could: for generally the receivers are inferior to the givers, -[544]- and God is therefore above all, because he is bountiful above all. But though the gifts of men are infinitely disproportionate to those of God, gratitude in some measure supplies their narrowness and defect. I then, being grateful for the civility offered me here, but restrained by the narrow limits of my ability from making a suitable return, offer what I can, and what is in my power; and therefore, I say, I will maintain for two whole days, in the middle of this the king's highway, which leads to Saragossa that these lady shepherdesses in disguise are the most beautiful and most courteous damsels in the world, excepting only the peerless Dulcinea of Toboso, the sole mistress of my thoughts; without offence to any that hear me be it spoken." Sancho, who had been listening to him with great attention, hearing this, said with a loud voice: "Is it possible there should be any persons in the world who presume to say and swear that this master of mine is a madman? Speak, gentlemen shepherds; is there a country vicar, though ever so discreet, or ever so good a scholar, who can say all that my master has said? Is there a knight-errant, though ever so renowned for valour, who can offer what my master has now offered?" Don Quixote turned to Sancho, and, with a wrathful countenance, said: "Is it possible, O Sancho, there is anybody upon the globe who will say you are not an idiot, lined with the same, and edged with I know not what of mischievous and knavish? Who gave you authority to meddle with what belongs to me, and to call in question my folly or discretion? Hold your peace, and make no reply; but go and saddle Rozinante, if he be unsaddled, and let us go and put my offer in execution; for, considering how much I am in the right, you may conclude all those who shall contradict me already conquered." Then, with great fury, and tokens of indignation, he rose from his seat, leaving the company in admiration, and in doubt whether they should reckon him a madman or a man of sense. In short, they would have persuaded him not to put himself upon such a trial, since they were satisfied of his grateful nature, and wanted no other proofs of his valour than those related in the history of his exploits. But for all that Don Quixote persisted in his design, and, being mounted upon Rozinante, bracing his shield, and taking his lance, he planted himself in the middle of the highway, which was not far from the verdant meadow. Sancho followed upon his Dapple, with all the pastoral company, being desirous to see what would be the event of this arrogant and unheard-of challenge.

Don Quixote being posted, as I have said, in the middle of the road, wounded the air with such words as these: "O ye passengers, travellers, knights, squires, people on foot or on horseback, who now pass this way, or are to pass in these two days following, know that Don Quixote de la Mancha, Knight-errant, is posted here, ready to maintain that the nymphs who inhabit these meadows and groves exceed all the world in beauty and courtesy, excepting only the mistress of my soul, Dulcinea del Toboso; and let him, who is of a contrary opinion, come; for here I stand, ready to receive him." Twice he repeated the same words, and twice they were not heard by any adventurer. But fortune, which was disposing his affairs from good to better, so ordered it, that soon after they discovered a great many men on horseback, and several of them with lances in their hands, all trooping in a cluster, and in great haste. Scarcely had they who were with Don Quixote seen them, when they turned their backs, and got far enough out of the way, fearing, if they stayed, they might be exposed to -[545]- some danger. Don Quixote alone, with an intrepid heart, stood firm, and Sancho Panza screened himself with Rozinante's buttocks. The troop of lance-men came up, and one of the foremost began to cry aloud to Don Quixote: "Get out of the way, devil of a man, lest these bulls trample you to pieces." "Rascals," replied Don Quixote, "I value not your bulls, though they were the fiercest that Xarama(209) ever bred upon its banks: confess, ye scoundrels, unsight unseen, that what I have here proclaimed is true; if not, I challenge ye to battle." The herdsmen had no time to answer, nor Don Quixote to get out of the way, if he would; and so the whole herd of fierce bulls and tame kind, with the multitude of herdsmen, and others, who were driving them to a certain town, where they were to be baited in a day or two, ran over Don Quixote, and over Sancho, Rozinante, and Dapple, leaving them all sprawling and rolling on the ground. Sancho remained bruised, Don Quixote astonished, Dapple battered, and Rozinante not perfectly sound. But at length they all got up, and Don Quixote, in a great hurry, stumbling here and falling there, began to run after the herd, crying aloud: "Hold, stop, ye scoundrels: for a single knight defies ye all, who is not of the disposition or opinion of those who say, 'Make a bridge of silver for a flying enemy.'" But the hasty runners stopped not the more for this, and made no more account of his menaces than of last year's clouds. Weariness stopped Don Quixote, and, more enraged than revenged, he sat down in the road, expecting the coming up of Sancho, Rozinante, and Dapple. They came up; master and man mounted again, and, without turning back to take their leaves of the feigned or counterfeit Arcadia, and with more shame than satisfaction, pursued their journey.


Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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