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 XVI: What befel Don Quixote with a Discreet Gentleman of Mancha

 

DON QUIXOTE went on his journey with the joy, content, and gladness as hath been mentioned, imagining that for the late victory he was the most valiant knight that that age had in the world; he made account that all adventures that should from thenceforward befal him were brought to a happy and prosperous end; he cared not now for any enchantments or enchanters; he forgot the innumerable bangs that in the prosecution of his chivalry had been given him, and the stones cast, that strook out half his teeth, and the unthankfulness of the galley-slaves, and the boldness and showers of stakes of the Yangueses. In conclusion, he said to himself that, if he could find any art, manner, or means how to disenchant his mistress Dulcinea, he would not envy the greatest happiness or prosperity that ever any knight-errant of former times had obtained.

He was altogether busied in these imaginations when Sancho told him: ‘How say you, sir, that I have still before mine eyes that ill-favoured, more than ordinary, nose of my gossip Thomas Cecial?’ ‘And do you happily, Sancho, think that the Knight of the Looking-glasses was the bachelor Samson Carrasco, and his squire Thomas Cecial your gossip?’ ‘I know not what to say to it,’ quoth Sancho; ‘only I know that the tokens he gave me of my house, wife, and children, no other could give ‘em me but he; and his face, his nose being off, was the same, that Thomas Cecial’s, as I have seen him many times in our town, and next house to mine; and his voice was the same.’ ‘Let us be reasonable, Sancho,’ quoth Don Quixote; ‘come hither. How can any man imagine that the bachelor Samson Carrasco should come like a knight-errant, armed with arms offensive and defensive, to fight with me? Have I ever given him occasion that he should dog me? Am I his rival; or is he a professor of arms, to envy the glory that I have gotten by them?’ ‘Why, what should I say,’ answered Sancho, ‘when I saw that knight, be he who he will, look so like the bachelor Carrasco, and his squire to Thomas Cecial my gossip? And if it were an enchantment, as you say, were there no other two in the world they might look like?’ ‘All is juggling and cunning,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘of the wicked magicians that persecute me, who, foreseeing that I should remain victor in this combat, had provided that the vanquished knight should put on the shape of my friend Carrasco, that the friendship I bear him might mediate betwixt the edge of my sword and the rigour of my arm, and temper my heart’s just indignation; and so that he might escape with his life that with tricks and devices sought to take away mine. For proof of which, O Sancho! thou knowest, by experience that will not let thee lie or be deceived, how easy it is for enchanters to change one face into another, making the beautiful deformed, and the deformed beautiful; and it is not two days since with thine own eyes thou sawest the beauty and liveliness of the peerless Dulcinea in its perfection and natural conformity, and I saw her in the foulness and meanness of a coarse milkmaid, with blear eyes and stinking breath, so that the perverse enchanter that durst cause so wicked a metamorphosis, ‘tis not much that he hath done the like in the shapes of Samson Carrasco and Thomas Cecial, to rob me of the glory of my conquest. Notwithstanding, I am of good comfort; for, in what shape soever it were, I have vanquished mine enemy.’ ‘God knows all,’ said Sancho; and, whereas he knew the transformation of Dulcinea had been a trick of his, his master’s chimeras gave him no satisfaction; but he durst not reply a word, for fear of discovering his cozenage.

Whilst they were thus reasoning, one overtook them that came their way, upon a fair flea-bitten mare, upon his back a riding-coat of fine green cloth, welted with tawny velvet, with a hunter’s cap of the same; his mare’s furniture was for the field, and after the jennet fashion, of the said tawny and green; he wore a Moorish scimitar, hanging at a broad belt of green and gold; his buskins were wrought with the same that his belt was; his spurs were not gilt, but laid on with a green varnish, so smooth and burnished that they were more suitable to the rest of his clothes than if they had been of beaten gold. Coming near, he saluted them courteously, and, spurring his mare, rode on; but Don Quixote said to him, ‘Gallant, if you go our way, and your haste be not great, I should take it for a favour that we might ride together.’ ‘Truly, sir,’ said he with the mare, ‘I should not ride from you, but that I fear your horse will be unruly with the company of my mare.’ ‘You may well, sir,’ said Sancho, ‘you may well rein in your mare; for our horse is the honestest and mannerliest horse in the world; he is never unruly upon these occasions; and once, when he flew out, my master and I paid for it with a witness. I say again, you may stay if you please, for, although your mare were given him between two dishes, he would not look at her.’

The passenger held in his reins, wondering at Don Quixote’s countenance and posture, who was now without his helmet, for Sancho carried it in a cloak-bag at the pommel of Dapple’s pack-saddle; and, if he in the green did much look at Don Quixote, Don Quixote did much more eye him, taking him to be a man of worth. His age showed him to be about fifty, having few grey hairs; his face was somewhat sharp, his countenance of an equal temper; lastly, in his fashion and posture, he seemed to be a man of good quality. His opinion of Don Quixote was that he had never seen such a kind of man before; the lankness of his horse, the tallness of his own body, the spareness and paleness of his face made him admire; his arms, his gesture, and composition, a shape and picture, as it were, had not been seen many ages before in that country.

Don Quixote noted well with what attention the traveller beheld him, and in his suspense read his desire, and, being so courteous and so great a friend to give all men content, before he demanded him anything, to prevent him, he said: ‘This outside of mine that you have seen, sir, because it is so rare and different from others now in use, may, no doubt, have bred some wonder in you, which you will cease when I shall tell you, as now I do, that I am a knight, one of those, as you would say, that seek their fortunes. I went out of my country, engaged mine estate, left my pleasure, committed myself to the arms of Fortune, to carry me whither she pleased. My desire was to raise again the dead knight-errantry; and long ago, stumbling here and falling there, casting myself headlong in one place and rising up in another, I have accomplished a great part of my desire, succouring widows, defending damosels, favouring married women, orphans, and distressed children, the proper and natural office of knights-errant; so that by my many valiant and Christian exploits I have merited to be in the press, in all or most nations of the world; thirty thousand volumes of my history have been printed, and thirty thousand millions more are like to be, if Heaven permit. Lastly, to shut up all in a word, I am Don Quixote de la Mancha, otherwise called the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance; and, though one should not praise himself, yet I must needs do it,—that is, there being none present that may do it for me; so that, kind gentleman, neither this horse, this lance, nor this shield, nor this squire, nor all these arms together, nor the paleness of my face, nor my slender macilency, ought henceforward to admire you, you knowing now who I am, and the profession I maintain.’

This said, Don Quixote was silent, and he with the green coat was a great while ere he could answer, as if he could not hit upon’t; but, after some pause, he said: ‘You were in the right, sir knight, in knowing, by my suspension, my desire; but yet you have not quite removed my admiration, which was caused with seeing you; for, although that, as you say, sir, that to know who you are might make me leave wondering, it is otherwise rather, since, now I know it, I am in more suspense and wonderment. And is it possible that at this day there be knights-errant in the world, and that there be true histories of knighthood printed? I cannot persuade myself that any now favour widows, defend damosels, honour married women, or succour orphans; and I should never have believed it, if I had not in you beheld it with mine eyes. Blessed be heavens! for with this history you speak of which is printed, of your true and lofty chivalry, those innumerable falsities of feigned knights-errant will be forgotten, which the world was full of, so hurtful to good education and prejudicial to true stories.’ ‘There is much to be spoken,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘whether the histories of knights-errant were feigned or true.’ ‘Why, is there any that doubts,’ said he in the green, ‘that they be not false?’ ‘I do,’ said Don Quixote, ‘and let it suffice; for, if our journey last, I hope in God to let you see that you have done ill to be led with the stream of them that hold they are not true.’

At this last speech of Don Quixote the traveller suspected he was some idiot, and expected when some others of his might confirm it; but, before they should be diverted with any other discourse, Don Quixote desired to know who he was, since he had imparted to him his condition and life. He in the green made answer: ‘I, Sir Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance, am a gentleman born in a town where, God willing, we shall dine to-day; I am well to live; my name is Don Diego de Miranda; I spend my life with my wife and children, and friends: my sports are hunting and fishing; but I have neither hawk nor grey-hounds, only a tame cock-partridge, or a murdering ferret; some six dozen of books, some Spanish, some Latin, some history, others devotion; your books of knighthood have not yet entered the threshold of my door; I do more turn over your profane books than religious, if they be for honest recreation, such as may delight for their language, and admire and suspend for their invention, although in Spain there be few of these. Sometimes I dine with my neighbours and friends, and otherwhiles invite them; my meals are neat and handsome, and nothing scarce. I neither love to backbite myself, nor to hear others do it; I search not into other men’s lives, or am a lynce to other men’s actions; I hear every day a mass; part my goods with the poor, without making a muster of my good deeds, that I may not give way to hypocrisy and vain-glory to enter into my heart, enemies that easily seize upon the wariest breast; I strive to make peace between such as are at odds; I am devoted to our Blessed Lady, and always trust in God’s infinite mercy.

Sancho was most attentive to this relation of the life and entertainments of this gentleman, which seeming to him to be good and holy, and that he that led it worked miracles, be flung himself from Dapple, and in great haste laid hold of his right stirrup, and with the tears in his eyes often kissed his feet, which being seen by the gentleman, he asked him, ‘What do you, brother? Wherefore be these kisses?’ ‘Let me kiss,’ quoth Sancho, ‘for methinks your worship is the first saint that in all the days of my life I ever saw a-horseback.’ ‘I am no saint,’ said he, ‘but a great sinner; you, indeed, brother, are, and a good soul, as your simplicity shows you to be.’ Sancho went again to recover his pack-saddle, having, as it were, brought into the market-place his master’s laughter out of a profound melancholy, and caused a new admiration in Don Diego.

Don Quixote asked him how many sons he had, who told him that one of the things in which the philosopher’s summum bonum did consist (who wanted the true knowledge of God) was in the goods of nature and in those of fortune; in having many friends, and many and virtuous children. ‘I, Sir Don Quixote,’ answered the gentleman, ‘have a son, whom if I had not, perhaps you would judge me more happy than I am,—not that he is so bad, but because not so good as I would have him. He is about eighteen years of age, six of which he hath spent in Salamanca, learning the tongues, Greek and Latin: and, when I had a purpose that he should fall to other sciences, I found him so besotted with poesy, and that science, if so it may be called, that it is not possible to make him look upon the law, which I would have him study, nor divinity, the queen of all sciences. I would he were the crown of all his lineage, since we live in an age wherein our King doth highly reward good learning; for learning without goodness is like a pearl cast in a swine’s snout. All the day long he spends in his criticisms, whether Homer said well or ill in such a verse of his Iliads, whether Martial were bawdy or no in such an epigram, whether such or such a verse in Virgil ought to be understood this way or that way. Indeed, all his delight is in these aforesaid poets, and in Horace, Persius, Juvenal, and Tibullus; but of your modern writers he makes small account: yet, for all the grudge he bears to modern poesy, he is mad upon your catches, and your glossing upon four verses, which were sent him from Salamanca, and that I think is his true study.’

To all which Don Quixote answered: ‘Children, sir, are pieces of the very entrails of their parents, so, let them be good or bad, they must love them, as we must love our spirits that give us life. It concerns their parents to direct them from their infancy in the paths of virtue, of good manners, and good and Christian exercises, that when they come to years they may be the staff of their age and the glory of their posterity; and I hold it not so proper to force them to study this or that science, though to persuade them were not amiss: and, though it be not to study to get his bread—the student being so happy that God hath given him parents able to leave him well—mine opinion should be that they let him follow that kind of study he is most inclined to, and, though that of poetry be less profitable than delightful, yet it is none of those that will dishonour the professor. Poetry, signior, in my opinion, is like a tender virgin, young and most beautiful, whom many other virgins—to wit, all the other sciences—are to enrich, polish, and adorn; she is to be served by them all, and all are to be authorised by her. But this virgin will not be handled and hurried up and down the. streets, nor published in every market-nook nor court-corners; she is made of a kind of alchymy that he that knows how to handle her will quickly turn her into the purest gold of inestimable value; he that enjoyeth her must hold her at distance, not letting her lash out in unclean satires nor in dull sonnets; she must not by any means be vendible, except in heroic poems, in lamentable tragedies, or pleasant and artificial comedies; she must not be meddled with by jesters, nor by the ignorant vulgar, uncapable of knowing or esteeming the treasures that are locked up in her. And think not, sir, that I call here only the common people vulgar, for whosoever is ignorant, be he potentate or prince, he may and must enter into the number of the vulgar; so that he who shalt handle and esteem of poetry with these requisites I have declared, he shall be famous, and his name shall be extolled in all the politic nations of the world. And whereas, sir, you say your son neglects modern poesy, I persuade myself he doth not well in it; and the reason is this: great Homer never wrote in Latin, because he was a Grecian; nor Virgil in Greek, because he was a Latin; indeed, all your ancient poets wrote in the tongue which they learnt from their cradle, and sought not after strange languages to declare their lofty conceits. Which being so, it were reason this custom should extend itself through all nations, and that your German poet should not be undervalued because he writes in his language, nor the Castilian or Biscayner because they write in theirs. But your son, as I suppose, doth not mislike modern poesy, but poets that are merely modern, without knowledge of other tongues or sciences that may adorn, rouse up, and strengthen their natural impulse; and yet in this there may be an error. For it is a true opinion that a poet is born so; the meaning is, a poet is naturally born a poet from his mother’s womb, and, with that inclination that Heaven hath given him, without further study or art, he composeth things that verify his saying that said, “Est Deus in nobis,” etc. Let me also say, that the natural poet that helps himself with art shall be much better and have the advantage of that poet that only out of his art strives to be so: the reason is because art goes not beyond nature, but only perfects it; so that nature and art mixed together, and art with nature, make an excellent poet. Let this, then, be the scope of my discourse, sir: let your son proceed whither his star calls him; for, if he be so good a student as he ought to be, and have happily mounted the first step of the sciences, which is the languages, with them, by himself, he will ascend to the top of human learning, which appears as well in a gentleman, and doth as much adorn, honour, and ennoble him, as a mitre doth a bishop, or a loose cassock a civilian. Chide your son if he writes satires that may prejudice honest men; punish him and tear them; but if he make Sermones, like those of Horace, to the reprehension of vice in general, as he so elegantly did, then cherish him; for it is lawful for a poet to write against envy, and to inveigh against envious persons, in his verse, and so against other vices, if so be he aim at no particular person; but you have poets that, instead of uttering a jerk of wit, they will venture a being banished to the islands of Pontus. If a poet live honestly, he will be so in his verses; the pen is the mind’s tongue; as the conceits are which be engendered in it, such will the writings be; and, when kings and princes see the miraculous science of poesy in wise, virtuous, and grave subjects, they honour, esteem, and enrich them, and even crown them with the leaves of that tree which the thunderbolt offends not,1 in token that none shall offend them that have their temples honoured and adorned with such crowns.

The gentleman admired Don Quixote’s discourse, and so much that now he forsook his opinion he had of him, that he was a coxcomb. But in the midst of this discourse Sancho, that was weary of it, went out of the way to beg a little milk of some shepherds not far off, curing of their sheep; so the gentleman still maintained, talk with Don Quixote, being wonderfully taken and satisfied with his wise discourse. But Don Quixote, lifting up suddenly his eyes, saw that in the way toward them there came a cart full of the king’s colours, and, taking it to be some rare adventure, he called to Sancho for his helmet. Sancho, hearing himself called on, left the shepherds and spurred Dapple apace, and came to his master, to whom a rash and stupendious adventure happened.
 

1 The laurel.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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