Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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The History of the
Valorous & Witty Knight-Errant Don Quixote of the Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes, Translated by Thomas Shelton

The Second Part

CHAPTER XIII: Where the Adventure of the Knight of the Wood is prosecuted,
with the Discreet, Rare, and Sweet Colloquy that passed betwixt the Two Squires

 

THE knights and their squires were divided, these telling their lives, they their loves; and thus saith the story, that the Squire of the Wood said to Sancho, ‘It is a cumbersome life that we lead, sir, — we, I say, that are squires to knights-errant; for truly we eat our bread with the sweat of our brows, which is one of the curses that God laid upon our first parents.’ ‘You may say also,’ added Sancho, ‘that we eat it in the frost of our bodies; for who endure more heats and colds than your miserable squires to knights-errant? And yet not so bad if we might eat at all, for good fare lessens care; but sometimes it happens that we are two days without eating, except it be the air that blows on us.’ ‘All this may be borne,’ quoth he of the Wood, ‘with the hope we have of reward; for, if the knight-errant whom a squire serves be not too unfortunate he shall, with a little good hap, see himself rewarded with the government of some island, or with a reasonable earldom.’ ‘I,’ said Sancho, ‘have often told my master that I would content myself with the government of any island, and he is so noble and liberal that he hath often promised it me.’ ‘I,’ said he of the Wood, ‘for my services would be satisfied with some canonry which my master too hath promised me.’ ‘Your master, indeed,’ said Sancho, ‘belike is an ecclesiastical knight, and may do his good squires these kindnesses; but my master is merely lay, though remember that some persons of good discretion, though out of bad intention, counselled him that he should be an archbishop, which he would not be, but an emperor; and I was in a bodily fear lest he might have a mind to the Church, because I held myself uncapable of benefits by it; for let me tell you, though to you I seem a man, yet m Church matters I am a very beast.’

‘Indeed, sir,’ said he of the Wood, ‘your are in the wrong, for your island-governments are not all so special, but that some are crabbed, some poor, some distasteful, and, lastly, the stateliest and best of all brings with it a heavy burden of cares and inconveniences, which he to whom it falls to his lot undergoes. Far better it were that we who profess this cursed slavery retire home, and there entertain ourselves with more delightful exercises, to wit, hunting and fishing; for what squire is there in the world so poor that wants his nag, his brace of grey-hounds, or his angle-rod, to pass his time with at his village?’ ‘I want none of this,’ said Sancho. ‘True it is, I have no nag; but I have an ass worth two of my master’s horse. An ill Christmas God send me — and let it be the next ensuing — if I would change for him, though I had four bushels of barley to boot. You laugh at the price of my Dapple, for dapple is the colour of mine ass; — well, greyhounds I shall not want neither, there being enough to spare in our town; besides, the sport is best at another man’s charge.’ ‘Indeed, indeed, sir squire,’ said he of the Wood, ‘I have proposed and determined with myself to leave these bezzlings of these knights, and return to my village, and bring up my children, for I have three like three orient pearls.’ ‘Two have I, said Sancho, ‘that may be presented to the Pope in person, especially one, a wench, which I bring up to be a countess — God save her! — although it grieve her mother.’ ‘And how old,’ asked he of the Wood, ‘is this lady countess that you bring up so?’ ‘Fifteen, somewhat under or over’ said Sancho; ‘but she is as long as a lance, and as fresh as an April morning, and as sturdy as a porter.’ ‘These are parts,’ said he of the Wood, ‘not only for her to be a countess, but a nymph of the greeny grove. Ah, whoreson whore, and what a sting the quean hath!’ To which quoth Sancho, somewhat musty, ‘She is no whore, neither was her mother before her; and none of them, God willing, shall be, as long as I live. And I pray, sir, speak more mannerly; for these speeches are not consonant from you that have been brought up amongst knights-errant, the flowers of courtesy.’ ‘Oh,’ said he of the Wood, ‘sir squire, how you mistake, and how little you know what belongs to praising! What! have you never observed that when any knight in the market-place gives the bull a sure thrust with his lance, or when anybody doth a thing well, the common people use to say, “Ah, whore-son whoremaster, how bravely he did it!“ So that that which seems to be a dispraise, in that sense is a notable commendation; and renounce you those sons and daughters that do not the works that may make their parents deserve such-like praises.’ ‘I do renounce,’ said Sancho, ‘and, if you meant no otherwise, I pray you clap a whole whore-house at once upon my wife and children; for all they do or say are extremes worthy of such praises; and so I may see them, God deliver me out of this mortal sin — that is, out of this dangerous profession of being a squire — into which this second time I have incurred, being enticed and deceived with the purse of the hundred ducats which I found one day in the heart of Sierra Morena; and the devil cast that bag of pistolets before mine eyes; methinks every foot I touch it, hug it, and carry it to mine house, set leases and rents, and live like a prince; and still when I think of this all the toil that I pass with this blockhead my master seems easy and tolerable to me, who, I know, is more madman than knight.’ ‘Hereupon,’ said he of the Wood, ‘it is said that “All covet, all lose.” And now you talk of madmen, I think my master is the greatest in the world; he is one of them that cries, “Hang sorrow !” and, that another knight may recover his wits, he’ll make himself mad, and will seek after that which perhaps, once found, will tumble him upon his snout.’ ‘And is he amorous, haply?’ ‘Yes,’ said he of the Wood; ‘he loves one Casildea de Vandalia, the most raw and most roasted lady in the world; but she halts not on that foot of her rawness, for other manner of impostures do grunt in those entrails of hers, which ere long will be known.’ ‘There is no way so plain,’ quoth Sancho, ‘that hath not some rub or pit, or, as the proverb goes, “In some houses they seethe beans, and in mine whole kettles-full.” So madness hath more companions, and more needy ones, than wisdom. But, if that which is commonly spoken be true, that to have companions in misery is a lightener of it, you may comfort me, that serve as sottish a master as I do.’ ‘Sottish but valiant,’ answered he of the Wood, ‘but more knave than fool or than valiant.’ ‘It is not so with my master,’ said Sancho; ‘for he is ne’er a whit knave; rather he is as dull as a beetle, hurts nobody, does good to all; he hath no malice, a child will make him believe ‘tis night at noonday; and for his simplicity, I love him as my heart-strings, and cannot find in my heart to leave him for all his fopperies.’ ‘For all that, brother and friend,’ said he of the Wood, ‘if the blind guide the blind, both will be in danger to fall into the pit. ‘Tis better to retire fair and softly, and return to our loved homes; for they that hunt after adventures do not always light upon good.’

Sancho spit often, and, as it seemed, a kind of gluey and dry matter, which noted by the charitable woody squire, he said, ‘Methinks with our talking our tongues cleave to our roofs; but I have a suppler hangs at the pommel of my horse as good as touch.’ And, rising up, he returned presently with a borracha of wine, and a baked-meat at least half a yard long; and it is no lie, for it was of a parboiled cony so large that Sancho, when he felt it, thought it had been of a goat, and not a kid, which being seen by Sancho, he said, ‘And had ye this with you too, sir?’ ‘Why, what did ye think?’ said the other. ‘Do you take me to be some hungry squire? I have better provision at my horse’s crupper than a general carries with him upon a march.’ Sancho fell to without invitation, and champed his bits in the dark, as if he had scraunched knotted cords, and said, ‘Ay, marry, sir, you are a true legal squire, round and sound, royal and liberal, as appears by your feast, which if it came not hither by way of enchantment, yet it seems so at least; not like me, unfortunate wretch, that only carry in my wallets a little cheese, so hard that you may break a giant’s head with it, and only some dozens of Saint John’s weed leaves, and some few walnuts and small nuts, — plenty in the strictness of my master, and the opinion he hath and the method he observes, that knights-errant must only be maintained and sustained only with a little dry fruit and sallets.’ ‘By my faith, brother,’ replied he of the Wood, ‘my stomach is not made to your thistles nor your stalks, nor your mountain roots; let our masters deal with their opinions and their knightly statutes, and eat what they will; I have my cold meats, and this bottle hanging at the pommel of my saddle, will he or nill he, which I reverence and love so much that a minute passeth not in which I give it not a thousand kisses and embraces.’ Which said, he gave it to Sancho, who, rearing it on end at his mouth, looked a quarter of an hour together upon the stars; and when he had ended his draught he held his neck on one side, and, fetching a great sigh, cries, ‘O whoreson rascal, how Catholic it is!’ ‘Law ye there!’ said he of the Wood, in hearing Sancho’s ‘whoreson,’ ‘how you have praised the wine in calling it whoreson!’ ‘I say,’ quoth Sancho, ‘that I confess I know it is no dishonour to call anybody whoreson, when there is a meaning to praise him. But tell me, sir, by the remembrance of her you love best, is this wine of Ciudad Real?’1 ‘A brave taste,’ said he of the Wood; ‘it is no less, and it is of some years’ standing too.’ ‘Let me alone,’ said Sancho; ‘you could not but think I must know it to the height. Do you think it strange, sir squire, that I should have so great and so natural an instinct in distinguishing betwixt wines, that, coming to smell any wine, I hit upon the place, the grape, the savour, the lasting, the strength, with all circumstances belonging to wine? But no marvel, if in my lineage by my father’s side I had two of the most excellent tasters that were known in a long time in Mancha, for proof of which you shall know what befel them. They gave to these two some wine to taste out of a hogshead, asking their opinions of the state, quality, goodness or badness of the wine: the one of them proved it with the tip of his tongue, the other only smelt to it. The first said that that wine savoured of iron; the second said, Rather of goat’s leather. The owner protested the hogshead was clean, and that the wine had no kind of mixture by which it should receive any savour of iron or leather. Notwithstanding, the two famous tasters stood to what they had said. Time ran on, the wine was sold, and when the vessel was cleansed there was found in it a little key with a leathern thong hanging at it. Now you may see whether he that comes from such a race may give his opinion in these matters.’ ‘Therefore I say to you,’ quoth he of the Wood, ‘let us leave looking after these adventures, and, since we have content, let us not seek after dainties, but return to our cottages, for there God will find us, if it be His will.’ ‘Till my master come to Saragosa, I mean,’ quoth Sancho, ‘to serve him, and then we’ll all take a new course.

In fine, the two good squires talked and drank so much that it was fit sleep should lay their tongues and slake their thirst, but to extinguish it was impossible; so both of them fastened to the nigh-empty bottle, and, their meat scarce out of their mouths, fell asleep, where for the present we will leave them, and tell what passed between the two knights.
 

1 A place in Spain that hath excellent wines.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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