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 XXXIX: Where the Trifaldi prosecutes her Stupendious and Memorable History


AT every word that Sancho spoke, the duchess was as well pleased as Don Quixote out of his wits; and, commanding him to be silent, the Afflicted went on, saying, ‘The short and the long was this: after many givings and takings, by reason the princess stood ever stiffly to her tackling, the vicar sentenced in Don Clavixo’s favour, whereat the queen Donna Maguncia, Antonomasia’s mother, was so full of wrath that some three days after we buried her.’

‘Well, sir squire,’ quoth Sancho, ‘it hath been seen ere now that one that hath been but in a swoon hath been buried, thinking he was dead; and methinks that Queen Maguncia might but rather have been in a swoon, for with life many things are remedied; and the princess’s error was not so great that she should so resent it. If she had married with a page or any other servant of her house, as I have heard many have done, the mischance had been irreparable; but to marry with so worthy a gentleman, and so understanding as hath been painted out to us, truly, truly, though ‘twere an oversight, yet ‘twas not so great as we think for; for according to my master’s rules, here present, who will not let me lie, as scholars become bishops, so private knights, especially if they be errant, may become kings and emperors.

‘Thou hast reason, Sancho,’ quoth Don Quixote; ‘for a knight-errant, give him but two inches of good fortune, he is “in potentia proxima” to be the greatest sovereign of the world. But let the Afflicted proceed; for to me it appears the bitterest part of her sweet history is behind.’

‘The bitterest, quoth you?’ said she. ‘Indeed, so bitter that, in comparison of this, treacle and elicampane is sweet. The queen being stark dead, and not in a trance, we buried her, and scarce had we covered her with earth, and took our ultimum vale, when — Quis talia fanda temperet a lacrymis? — the giant Malambruno, Maguncia’s cousin-german, appeared before her grave upon a wooden horse, who besides his cruelty was also an enchanter, who with his art, to revenge his cousin’s death, and for Don Clavixo’s boldness, and for despite of Antonomasia’s oversight, enchanted them upon the same tomb, turning her into a brazen ape, and him into a fearful crocodile of unknown metal, and betwixt them both is likewise set a register of metal, written in the Syriac tongue, which being translated into the Candayan, and now into the Castilian, contains this sentence:

‘“These two bold lovers shall not recover their natural form till the valiant Manchegan come to single combat with me; for the destinies reserve this unheard-of adventure only for his great valour.”

‘This done, he unsheathed a broad and unwieldy scimitar, and, taking me by the hair of the head, he made as if he would have cut my throat, or sheared off my neck at a blow. I was amazed, my voice cleaved to the roof of my mouth; I was troubled extremely: but I enforced myself as well as I could, and, with a dolorous and trembling voice, I told him such and so many things as made him suspend the execution of his rigorous punishment. Finally he made all the waiting-women of the court be brought before him, which are here present now also, and after he had exaggerated our faults, and reviled the conditions of waiting-women, their wicked wiles and worse sleights, and laying my fault upon them all, he said he would not capitally punish us, but with other dilated pains, that might give us a civil and continuate death; and, in the very same instant and moment that he had said this, we all felt that the pores of our faces opened, and that all about them we had prickles, like the pricking of needles. By and by we clapped our hands to our faces, and found them just as you see them now.’

With this the Afflicted and the rest of the waiting-women lifted up their masks which they had on, and showed their faces all with beards, some red, some black, some white and lime-smeared, at sight of which the duke and duchess admired, Don Quixote and Sancho were astonished, and all the bystanders wonder-stricken, and the Trifaldi proceeded: ‘Thus that felon and hard-hearted Malambruno punished us, covering the softness and smoothness of our faces with these rough bristles. Would God he had beheaded us with his unwieldy scimitar, and not so dimmed the light of our faces with these blots that hide us; for, my masters, if we fall into reckoning (and that which now I say, I would speak it with mine eyes running a fountain of tears, but the consideration of our misfortunes, and the seas that hitherto have rained, have drawn them as dry as ears of corn, and therefore let me speak without tears), whither shall a waiting-woman with a beard go? What father or mother will take compassion on her? For when her flesh is at the smoothest, and her face martyrised with a thousand sorts of slibber-labbers and waters, she can scarce find anybody that will care for her. What shall she do then when she wears a wood upon hr face? O matrons, companions mine, in an ill time were we born, in a luckless hour our fathers begat us. And saying this, she made show of dismaying.

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