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 LXIX: Of the newest and strangest Adventure of all that befell Don Quixote in the whole course of this grand History.


The horsemen alighted, and, together with those on foot, taking Sancho and Don Quixote forcibly in their arms, carried them into the courtyard, round which near an hundred torches were placed in sockets, and above five hundred lights about the galleries of the court; insomuch that, in spite of the night, which was somewhat darkish, there seemed to be no want of the day. In the middle of the court was erected a tomb, about two yards from the ground, and over it a large canopy of black velvet; round which, upon its steps, were burning above an hundred wax tapers in silver candlesticks. On the tomb was seen the corpse of a damsel so beautiful, that her beauty made death itself appear beautiful. Her head lay upon a cushion of gold brocade, crowned with a garland interwoven with odoriferous flowers of divers kinds; her hands lying crosswise upon her breast, and between them a branch of never-fading victorious palm. On one side of the court was placed a theatre, and in two chairs were seated two personages, whose crowns on their heads, and sceptres in their hands, denoted them to be kings, either real or feigned. On the side of the theatre, to which the ascent was by steps, stood two other chairs; upon which they who brought in the prisoners, seated Don Quixote and Sancho, all this in profound silence, and by signs giving them to understand they must be silent too; but, without bidding, they held their peace; for the astonishment they were in at what they beheld tied up their tongues. And now two great persons ascended the theatre with a numerous attendance, whom Don Quixote presently knew to be the duke and duchess, whose guest he had been. They seated themselves in two very rich chairs, close by those who seemed to be kings. Who would not have admired at all this, especially considering that Don Quixote had now perceived that the corpse upon the tomb was that of the fair Altisidora? At the duke and duchess's ascending the theatre, Don Quixote and Sancho rose up, and made them a profound reverence, and their grandeurs returned it by bowing -[588]- their heads a little. At this juncture, an officer crossed the place, and coming to Sancho, threw over him a robe of black buckram, all painted over with flames, and taking off his cap, put on his head a pasteboard mitre three feet high, like those used by the penitents of the inquisition; bidding him in his ear not to unsew his lips; if he did, they would clap a gag in his mouth, or kill him. Sancho viewed himself from top to toe, and saw himself all over in flames; but, finding they did not burn him, he cared not two farthings. He took off his mitre, and saw it all painted over with devils; he put it on again, saying within himself: "Well enough yet, these do not bum me, nor those carry me away." Don Quixote also surveyed him, and though fear suspended his senses, he could not but smile to behold Sancho's figure.

And now, from under the tomb, proceeded a low and pleasing sound of flutes; which not being interrupted by any human voice, for silence herself kept silence there, the music sounded both soft and amorous. Then on a sudden, by the cushion of the seemingly dead body, appeared a beautiful youth in a Roman habit, who, in a sweet and clear voice, to the sound of a harp, which he played on himself, sung the two stanzas:

" Whilst the high pow'rs of magic lend their aid
      To call thy spirit back to realms of day,
  Thy spir't, Altisidora, luckless maid!
      Of unrequited love the early prey;
  Whilst dames, of this enchanted court the grace,
      Sit richly rob'd in silken weeds of woe,
  And she, the sov'reign Lady of the place,
      In humble vestment clad, stands far below,
  Will I declare thy beauty and thy pain,
  With wilder notes, and in a sweeter strain,
  Than ever was attun'd by the sad Thracian swain.

  Nor deem, fair maiden, that I should forbear,
      E'en in the grasp of death, my votive song;
  My cold and lifeless tongue will still declare
      The charms, the graces, which to thee belong.
  And when my soul, from its dull load releas'd,
      Shall trace with flitting step the Stygian bound,
  Thee will I sing, in words so pure, so chaste,
      That Lethe's self, rous'd from her sleep profound,
  Her drowsy head, with poppies crown'd, shall raise,
  Stop her slow course, and listen to my lays,
  Charm'd into living joy by more than mortal praise."

"Enough," said one of the supposed kings, "enough, divine enchanter, for there would be no end of describing to us the death and graces of the peerless Altisidora, not dead, as the ignorant world supposes, but alive in the mouth of fame, and in the penance Sancho Panza here present must pass through, to restore her to the lost light: and therefore, O Rhadamanthus, who with me judgest in the dark caverns of Pluto, since thou knowest all that is decreed by the inscrutable destinies, about bringing this damsel to herself, speak and declare it instantly, that the happiness we expect from her revival may not be delayed." Scarcely had Minos, judge, and companion of Rhadamanthus, said this, when Rhadamanthus, rising up, said: "Ho, ye officers of this household, high and low, great and small, run one after another, and seal Sancho's face with four-and-twenty twitches, and his arms and sides with twelve pinches, and six pricks of a pin; for in the -[589]- performance of this ceremony consists the restoration of Altisidora." Which Sancho Panza hearing, he broke silence, and said: "I vow to God, I will no more let my face be sealed, nor my flesh be handled, than I will turn Turk. Body of me! what has handling my countenance to do with the resurrection of this damsel? The old woman has had a taste, and now her mouth waters. Dulcinea is enchanted, and I must be whipped to disenchant her; and now Altisidora dies, of some distemper it pleases God to send her, and she must be brought to life again, by giving me four-and-twenty twitches, and making a sieve of my body by pinking it with pins, and pinching my arms black and blue. Put these jests upon a brother-in-law; I am an old dog, and tus, tus, will not do with me." "Thou shalt die, then," cried Rhadamanthus, in a loud voice: "relent, thou tiger; humble thyself, thou proud Nimrod; suffer and be silent, since no impossibilities are required of thee; and set not thyself to examine the difficulties of this business: twitched thou shalt be, pricked thou shalt see thyself, and pinched shalt thou groan. Ho, I say, officers, execute my command; if not, upon the faith of an honest man, you shall see what you were born to."

Now there appeared, coming in procession along the court, six duennas, four of them with spectacles, and all of them with their right hands lifted up, and four fingers' breadth of their wrists naked, to make their hands seem the longer, as is now the fashion. Scarcely had Sancho laid his eyes on them, when bellowing like a bull, he said: "I might, perhaps, let all the world beside handle me; but to consent that duennas touch me by no means; let them cat-claw my face, as my master was served in this very castle; let them pierce my body through and through with the points of the sharpest daggers; let them tear off my flesh with red-hot pincers; and I will endure it patiently, to serve these noble persons; but to let duennas touch me, I will never consent, though the devil should carry me away." Don Quixote also broke silence, saying to Sancho: "Be patient, son; oblige these noble persons, and give many thanks to Heaven for having infused such virtue into your person, that by its martyrdom, you disenchant the enchanted, and raise the dead." By this time the duennas were got about Sancho; and he, being mollified and persuaded, and seating himself well in his chair, held out his face and beard to the first, who gave him a twitch well sealed, and then made him a profound reverence. "Less complaisance, less daubing, Mistress Duenna," quoth Sancho; "for, before God, your fingers smell of vinegar." In short, all the duennas sealed him, and several others of the house pinched him; but what he could not bear, was the pricking of the pins; and so up he started from his seat, quite out of all patience, and catching hold of a lighted torch that was near him, he laid about him with it, putting the duennas, and all his executioners to flight, and saying: "Avaunt, ye infernal ministers; for I am not made of brass, to be insensible of such extraordinary torments."

Upon this Altisidora, who could not but be tired with lying so long upon her back, turned herself on one side; which the bystanders perceiving, almost all of them with one voice, cried: "Altisidora is alive, Altisidora lives!" Then Rhadamanthus bid Sancho lay aside his wrath, since they had already attained the desired end. Don Quixote no sooner saw Altisidora stir, than he went and kneeled down before Sancho, and said: "Now is the time, dear son of my bowels, rather than my squire, to give yourself some of those lashes you stand engaged for, in order to the disenchantment of Dulcinea. This, I say, is the time, now that your virtue is seasoned, -[590]- and of efficacy to operate the good expected from you." To which Sancho answered: "This seems to me to be reel upon reel, and not honey upon fritters: a good jest indeed, that twitches, pinches, and pin-prickings must be followed by lashes; but take a great stone once for all, and tie it about my neck, and toss me into a well: it will not grieve me much, if, for the cure of other folk's ailments, I must still be the wedding-heifer: let them not meddle with me; else, by the living God, all shall out."

And now Altisidora had seated herself upright on the tomb, and at the same instant the waits struck up, accompanied by flutes, and the voices of all, crying aloud: "Live Altisidora, Altisidora live!" The duke and duchess, and the kings, Minos and Rhadamanthus, rose up, and all in a body with Don Quixote and Sancho, went to receive Altisidora, and help her down from the tomb; who, counterfeiting a person fainting, inclined her head to the duke and duchess, and to the kings, and looking askew at Don Quixote, said: "God forgive you, unrelenting knight, through whose cruelty I have been in the other world, to my thinking, above a thousand years; and thee I thank, O most compassionate squire of all the globe contains, for the life I enjoy. From this day, friend Sancho, six of my smocks are at your service, to be made into so many shirts for yourself and, if they are not all whole, at least they are all clean." Sancho, with his mitre in his hand, and his knee on the ground, kissed her hand The duke ordered it to be taken from him, and his cap to be returned him, and his own garment instead of the flaming robe. Sancho begged the duke to let him keep the mitre and frock, having a mind to carry them to his own country, in token and memory of this unheard-of adventure. The duchess replied, he should have them, for he knew how much she was his friend. Then the duke ordered the court to be cleared, and everybody to retire to their own apartment, and that Don Quixote and Sancho should be conducted to their old lodgings.



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