Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

Gavilan Spanish Questions or comments  Bibliographic Record Index page Previous page Bottom Next page 

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 XIX: Of the Adventure of the Enamoured Shepherd,
with other (indeed) Pleasant Accidents

 

DON QUIXOTE was not gone far from Don Diego’s town, when he overtook two men that seemed to be parsons, or scholars, with two husbandmen that were mounted upon four asses. One of the scholars had (as it were in a portmanteau) a piece of white cloth for scarlet, wrapped up in a piece of green buckram, and two pair of cotton stockings; the other had nothing but two foils and a pair of pumps; the husbandmen had other things, which showed they came from some market town, where they had bought them to carry home to their village. So as well the scholars as the husbandmen fell into the same admiration that all they had done who first saw Don Quixote, and they longed to know what manner of fellow he was, so different from all other men. Don Quixote saluted them, and after he asked them whither they went, and that they had said they went his way, he offered them his company, and desired them to go softlier, for that their young asses travelled faster than his horse: and, to oblige them the more, he told them who he was, and of his profession, that he was a knight-errant, that he went to seek adventures round about the world. He told them his proper name was Don Quixote de la Mancha, but his ordinary name the Knight of the Lions.

All this to the husbandmen was heathen Greek or pedlar’s French; but not to the scholars, who straight perceived the weakness of Don Quixote’s brain: notwithstanding, they beheld him with great admiration and respect, and one of them said, ‘Knight, if you go no set journey, as they which seek adventures seldom do, I pray go with us, and you shall see one of the bravest and most sumptuous marriages that ever was kept in the Mancha, or in many leagues round about.’ Don Quixote asked them if it were of any prince, for so he imagined. ‘No, sir,’ said he, ‘but betwixt a farmer and a farmer’s daughter; he is the richest in all the country, and she the fairest alive. Their provision for this marriage is new and rare, and it is to be kept in a meadow near the bride’s town. She is called, the more to set her out, Quiteria the Fair, and he Camacho the Rich; she is about eighteen years of age, and he two-and-twenty; both well met, but that some nice people, that busy themselves in all men’s lineages, will say that the fair Quiteria is of better parentage than he; but that’s nothing, riches are able to solder all clefts. To say true, this Camacho is liberal, and he hath longed to make an arbour, and cover all the meadow on the top, so that the sun will be troubled to enter to visit the green herbs underneath. He hath also certain warlike morrices, as well of swords as little jingling bells; for we have those in the town that will jangle them. For your foot-clappers I say nothing; you would wonder to see them bestir themselves; but none of these, nor others I have told you of, are like to make this marriage so remarkable as the despised Basilius. This Basilius is a neighbouring swain of Quiteria’s town, whose house was next door to her father’s. From hence love took occasion to renew unto the world the long forgotten loves of Pyramus and Thisbe; for Basilius loved Quiteria from a child, and she answered his desires with a thousand loving favours; so that it grew a common talk in the town, of the love between the two little ones. Quiteria began to grow to some years, and her father began to deny Basilius his ordinary access to the house; and, to avoid all suspicion, purposed to marry her to the rich Camacho, not thinking it fit to marry her to Basilius, who was not so rich in fortune’s goods as in those of the mind; for, to say truth without envy, he is the activest youth we have, a famous bar-pitcher, an excellent wrestler, a great tennis-player, he runs like a deer, outleaps a she-goat, and plays at ten-pins miraculously, sings like a lark, plays upon a gittern as if he made it speak, and, above all, fenceth as well as the best.’

‘For that sleight only,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘the youth deserves not only to match with the fair Quiteria, but with Queen Ginebra herself, if she were now alive, in spite of Lansarote, and all that would gainsay it.’ ‘There’s for my wife now,’ quoth Sancho, that had been all this while silent, ‘that would have every one marry with their equals, holding herself to the proverb that says, “Like to like, quoth the devil to the collier.” All that I desire is, that honest Basilius, for methinks I love him, were married to Quiteria; and God give ‘em joy, I was saying, those that go about to hinder the marriage of two that love well.’

‘If all that love well,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘should marry, parents would lose the privilege of marrying their children when and with whom they ought; and, if daughters might choose their husbands, you should have some would choose their father’s servants, and others any passenger in the street, whom they thought to be a lusty swaggerer, although he were a cowardly ruffian; for love and affection do easily blind the eyes of the understanding, which is only fit to choose, and the state of matrimony is a ticklish thing, and there is great heed to be taken, and a particular favour to be given from above, to make it light happily. Any man that would but undertake some voyage, if he be wise, before he is on his way he will seek him some good companion. And why should not he do so that must travel all his lifetime till he come to his resting-place, death; and the rather if his company must be at bed and at board, and in all places, as the wife’s company must be with the husband? Your wife is not a commodity like others, that is bought and sold, or exchanged, but an inseparable accident that lasts for term of life. It is a noose that, being fastened about the neck, turns to a Gordian knot, which cannot be undone but by Death’s sickle. I could tell ye much more in this business, were it not for the desire I have to be satisfied by master parson if there be any more to come of Basilius his story.’

To which he answered, ‘This is all: that from the instant that Basilius knew the fair Quiteria was to be married to the rich Camacho he was never seen to smile, or talk sensibly; and he is always sad and pensative, talks to himself—an evident token that he is distracted—eats little, sleeps much; all he eats is fruits, and all his sleep is in the fields, upon the hard ground, like a beast; now and then he looks up to heaven, and sometimes casts his eyes downward, so senseless as if he were only a statue clothed, and the very air strikes off his garments. In fine, he hath all the signs of a passionate heart, and we are all of opinion that by that time Quiteria to-morrow gives the “Ay” it will be the sentence of his death.’

‘God forbid,’ said Sancho; ‘for God gives the wound, and God gives the salve; nobody knows what may happen; ‘tis a good many hours between this and tomorrow; and in one hour, nay, one minute, a house falls; and I have seen the sun shine and foul weather in an instant; one goes to bed sound at night, and stirs not the next morning; and pray tell me, is there anyone here that can say he hath stayed the course of Fortune’s great wheel? No, truly, and between a woman’s “Ay” and “No” I would be loth to put a pin’s point, for it would hardly enter. Let me have Mistress Quiteria love Basilius with all her heart, and I’ll give him a bag full of good luck; for your love, as I have heard tell, looks wantonly with eyes that make copper seem gold, and poverty riches, and filth in the eyes pearls.’

‘Whither a plague runn’st thou, Sancho?’ quoth Don Quixote. ‘When thou goest threading on thy proverbs and thy flimflams, Judas himself, [though he] take thee, cannot hold thee. Tell me, beast, what knowest thou of Fortune or her wheel, or anything else?’ ‘Oh, if you understand me not, no marvel though my sentences be held for fopperies. Well, I know what I say, and know I have not spoken much from the purpose; but you, sir, are always the turney to my words and actions.’ ‘Attorney, thou wouldst say; God confound thee, thou prevaricator of language!’ ‘Do not you deal with me,’ said Sancho, ‘since you know I have not been brought up in court, nor studied in Salamanca to know whether I add or diminish any of my syllables. Lord God! you must not think your Galician1 can speak like your Toledonian, and they neither are not all so nimble.’ ‘For matter of your court language,’ quoth the parson, “tis true; for they that are bred in the tanner-rows and the Zocodoner2 cannot discourse like them that walk all day in the high church cloisters; yet all are Toledonians. The language is pure, proper, and elegant, indeed, only in your discreet courtiers, let them be born where they will; discreet, I say, because many are otherwise, and discretion is the grammar of good language, which is accompanied with practice. I, sir, I thank God, have studied the canons in Salamanca, and presume sometimes to yield a reason in plain and significant terms.’ ‘If you did not presume,’ said the other scholar, ‘more on your using the foils you carry than your tongue, you might have been senior in your degree, whereas now you are lag.’ ‘Look you, bachelor,’ quoth the parson, ‘you are in the most erroneous opinion of the world touching the skill of the weapon, since you hold it frivolous.’ “Tis no opinion of mine,’ said Corchuelo, ‘but a manifest truth; and, if you will have me show it by experience, there you have foils commodious: I have an arm and strength, which, together with my courage, which is not small, will make you confess I am not deceived. Alight, and keep your distance, your circles, your corners, and all your science; I hope to make you see the stars at noonday with my skill, which is but modern and mean, which though it be small, I hope to God the man is yet unborn that shall make me turn my back; and there is no man in the world but I’ll make him give ground.’ ‘For turning your back,’ said the skilful, ‘I meddle not, though perhaps where you first set your foot, there your grave might be digged,—I mean, you might be killed for despising skill.’ ‘That you shall try,’ said Corchuelo; and, lighting hastily from his ass, he snatched one of the swords that the parson carried. ‘Not so,’ said Don Quixote instantly; ‘I’ll be the master of this fence, and the judge of this undecided controversy.’ And, lighting from Rozinante, and taking his lance, he stepped between them till such time as the parson had put himself into his posture and distance against Corchuelo, who ran, as you would say, darting fire out of his eyes.

The two husbandmen that were by, without lighting from their asses, served for spectators of the mortal tragedy. The blows, the stockadoes, your false thrusts, your back-blows, your doubling-blows, that came from Corchuelo, were numberless, as thick as hops or hail; he laid on like an angry lion; but still the parson gave him a stopple for his mouth, with the button of his foil, which stopped him in the midst of his fury; and he made him kiss it as if it had been a relic, though not with so much devotion as is due to them. In a word, the parson with pure stockadoes told all the buttons of his cassock which he had on, his skirts flying about him like a fish’s tail. Twice he struck off his hat, and so wearied him that, what for despite, what for choler and rage, he took the sword by the hilt and flung it into the air so forcibly that one of the husbandmen that was by, who was a notary, and went for it, gave testimony after that he flung it almost three-quarters of a mile, which testimony serves, and hath served, that it may be known and really seen that force is overcome by art.

Corchuelo sat down, being very weary, and Sancho, coming to him, said, ‘Truly, sir bachelor, if you take my advice, hereafter challenge no man to fence, but to wrestle or throw the bar, since you have youth and force enough for it; for I have heard those that you call your skilful men say that they will thrust the point of a sword through the eye of a needle.’ ‘I am glad,’ quoth Corchuelo, ‘that I came from my ass, and that experience hath showed me what I would not have believed.’ So, rising up, he embraced the parson, and they were as good friends as before. So, not staying for the notary that went for the sword, because they thought he would tarry long, they resolved to follow, and come betimes to Quiteria’s village, of whence they all were. By the way the parson discourses to them of the excellency of the art of fencing, with so many demonstrative reasons, with so many figures and mathematical demonstrations, that all were satisfied with the rareness of the science, and Corchuelo reduced from his obstinacy.

It began to grow dark, but before they drew near they all saw a kind of heaven of innumerable stars before the town. They heard likewise harmonious and confused sounds of divers instruments, as flutes, tabors, psalteries, recorders, hand-drums, and bells; and, when they drew near, they saw that the trees of an arbour, which had been made at the entrance of the town, were all full of lights, which were not offended by the wind, that then blew not, but was so gentle that it scarce moved the leaves of the trees. The musicians were they that made the marriage more sprightly, who went two and two in companies, some dancing and singing, others playing upon divers of the aforesaid instruments; nothing but mirth ran up and down the meadow; others were busied in raising scaffolds, that they might the next day see the representations and dances commodiously, dedicated to the marriage of the rich Camacho, and the obsequies of Basilius.

Don Quixote would not enter the town, although the husbandmen and the bachelor entreated him; for he gave a sufficient excuse for himself, as he thought, that it was the custom of knights-errant to sleep in fields and forests, rather than in habitations, though it were under golden roofs; so he went a little out of the way, much against Sancho’s will, who remembered the good lodging he had in the castle or house of Don Diego.
 

1 One of that province that speak a bastard language to the Spanish.
2 The market-place so called in Toledo.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

Gavilan Spanish Questions or comments Bibliographic Record Index page Previous page Top Next page