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 XLII: Of the Advice that Don Quixote gave Sancho Panza, before he should go to govern the Island, with other Matter well digested


THE dukes were so pleased with the happy and pleasant success of the adventure of the Afflicted that they determined to go on with their jests, seeing the fit subject they had to make them pass for earnest; so, having contrived and given order to their servants and vassals that they should obey Sancho in his government of the promised island, the next day after the jest of Clavileno’s flight, the duke bade Sancho prepare and put himself in order to go to be governor, for that now his islanders did as much desire him as showers in May.

Sancho made an obeisance to him, and said, ‘Since I came down from heaven, and since from on high I beheld the earth, and saw it so small, I was partly cooled in my desire to be a governor; for what greatness can there be to command in a grain of mustard-seed? or what dignity or power to govern half a dozen of men about the bigness of hazel-nuts? for, to my thinking, there were no more in all the earth. If it would please your lordship to give me never so little in heaven, though ‘twere but half a league, I would take it more willingly than the biggest island in the world.’ ‘Look ye, friend Sancho,’ quoth the duke, ‘I can give no part of heaven to nobody, though it be no bigger than my nail; for these favours and graces are only in God’s disposing. What is in my power I give you, that is, an island, right and straight, round and well proportioned, and extraordinarily fertile and abundant, where, if you have the art, you may with the riches of the earth hoard up the treasure of heaven.’

‘Well, then,’ quoth Sancho, ‘give us this island, and, in spite of rascals, I’ll go to heaven; and yet for no covetousness to leave my ‘poor cottage, or to get me into any palaces, but for the desire I have to know what kind of thing it is to be a governor.

‘If once you prove it, Sancho,’ quoth the duke, ‘you will be in love with governing; so sweet a thing it is to command, and to be obeyed. I warrant, when your master comes to be an emperor, for without doubt he will be one (according as his affairs go on), that he will not be drawn from it, and it will grieve him to the soul to have been so long otherwise.’

‘Sir,’ quoth Sancho, ‘I suppose ‘tis good to command, though it be but a head of cattle.’

‘Let me live and die with thee, Sancho,’ quoth the duke, ‘for thou knowest all, and I hope thou wilt be such a governor as thy discretion promiseth, and let this suffice; and note that to-morrow about this time thou shalt go to the government of thy island, and this afternoon thou shalt be fitted with convenient apparel to carry with thee, and all things necessary for thy departure.’

‘Clad me,’ quoth Sancho, ‘how you will, for, howsoever ye clad me, I’ll be still Sancho Panza.’

‘You are in the right,’ quoth the duke, ‘but the robes must be suitable to the office or dignity which is professed; for it were not fit that a lawyer should be clad like a soldier, or a soldier like a priest. You, Sancho, shall be clad partly like a lawyer and partly like a captain; for in the island that I give you, arms are as requisite as learning.’

‘I have little learning,’ quoth Sancho, ‘for as yet I scarce know my A B C, but ‘tis enough that I have my Christ’s-cross ready in my memory to be a good governor. I’ll manage my weapon till I fall again, and God help me.’ ‘With so good a memory,’ quoth the duke, ‘Sancho cannot do amiss.’

By this time Don Quixote came, and knowing hat passed, and that Sancho was so speedily to go to his government, with the duke’s leave, he took him by the hand, and carried him aside, with a purpose to advise him how he should behave himself in his office. When they came into Don Quixote’s chamber, the door being shut, he forced Sancho, as it were, to sit down by him, and, with a staid voice, said:

‘I give infinite thanks, friend Sancho, that before I have received any good fortune thou hast met with thine: I that thought to have rewarded thy service with some good luck of mine to have saved that labour, and thou suddenly, past all expectation, hast thy desires accomplished. Others bribe, importune, solicit, rise early, entreat, grow obstinate, and obtain not what they sue for; and another comes hab-nab, and goes away with the place or office that many others sought for, and here the proverb comes in, and joins well, that “Give a man luck, and cast him in the sea.” Thou, that in my opinion art a very goose, without early rising, or late sitting up, without any labour, only the breath of knight-errantry breathing on thee, without any more ado, art governor of an island, a matter of nothing. All this I say, Sancho, that thou attribute not this happiness to thy deserts, but that thou give God thanks, that sweetly disposeth things; next, thou shalt impute them to the greatness of the profession of knight-errantry. Thy heart then disposed to believe what I have said, be attentive, O my son, to this thy Cato, that will advise thee, be thy north-star and guide to direct and bring thee to a safe port, out of this troublesome sea, where thou goest to engulf thyself in; for your offices and great charges are nothing else but a profound gulf of confusions.

‘First of all, O son, thou must fear God; for to fear Him is wisdom, and, being wise, thou canst err in nothing.

‘Secondly, thou must consider who thou art, and know thyself, which is the hardest kind of knowledge that may be imagined: from this knowledge thou shalt learn not to be swoln like the frog, that would equal himself with the ox; for, if thou do this, thou shalt (falling down the wheel of thy madness) come to know thou wert but a hog-keeper.’

‘That’s true,’ quoth Sancho, ‘but ‘twas when I was a boy; but after, when I grew to be somewhat mannish, I kept geese, and not hogs: but this methinks is nothing to the purpose, for all they that govern come not from the loins of kings.’

‘‘Tis true,’ said Don Quixote, ‘therefore those that have no noble beginnings must mix the gravity of their charge they exercise with mild sweetness, which, guided with wisdom, may free them from malicious murmuring, from which no state or calling is free.

‘Rejoice, O Sancho, in the humility of thy lineage, and scorn not to say thou comest of labouring men, for, when thou art not ashamed thyself, nobody will seek to make thee so; and always strive to be held mean and virtuous rather than proud and vicious: an infinite number from low beginnings have come to great risings, as pontifical and imperial dignities; and, to confirm this, I could bring thee so many examples as should weary thee.

‘Note, Sancho, that if you follow virtue for your mean, and strive to do virtuous deeds, you need not envy those that are born of princes and great men, for blood is inherited, but virtue is achieved; virtue is of worth by itself alone, so is not birth.

‘Which being so, if perchance any of thy kindred come to see thee when thou art in thy island, refuse him not, nor affront him, but entertain, welcome, and make much of him, for with this God will be pleased, that would have nobody despise His making, and thou shalt also in this correspond to good nature.

‘If thou bring thy wife with thee (for it were not fit that those who are to govern long should be without them), teach her, instruct her, refine her natural rudeness; for, many times, all that a discreet governor gets, a clownish foolish woman spills and loses.

‘If thou chance to be a widower (a thing that may happen) and desire to marry again, take not such a one as may serve thee for, a bait and fishing-rod to take bribes; for, let me tell thee, the husband must give an account of all that (being a judge) his wife receives, and at the general resurrection shall pay four-fold what he hath been accused for in his lifetime.

‘Never pronounce judgment rash or wilfully, which is very frequent with ignorant judges, that presume to be skilful.

‘Let the tears of the poor find more compassion (but not more justice) than the informations of the rich.

‘Seek as well to discover the truth from out the promises and corruptions of the rich as the sobs and importunities of the poor.

‘When equity is to take place, lay not all the rigour of the law upon the delinquent; for the fame of the rigorous judge is not better than of the compassionate.

‘If thou slacken justice, let it not be with the weight of a bribe, but with the weight of pity.

‘When thou happenest to judge thine enemy’s case, forget thy injury, and respect equity.

‘Let not proper passion blind thee in another man’s cause, for the errors thou shalt commit in that most commonly are incurable, or if they be helped, it must be with thy wealth and credit.

‘If any fair woman come to demand justice of thee, turn thy eyes from her tears and thy ears from her lamentations, and consider at leisure the sum of her requests, except thou mean that thy reason be drowned in her weeping, and thy goodness in her sighs.

‘Him that thou must punish with deeds, revile not with words, since to a wretch the punishment is sufficient, without adding ill language.1 For the delinquent that is under thy jurisdiction, consider that the miserable man is subject to the temptations of our depraved nature, and as much as thou canst, without grievance to the contrary party, show mild and gentle, for, although God’s attributes are equal, yet to our sight His mercy is more precious and more eminent than His justice.

‘If, Sancho, thou follow these rules and precepts, thy days shall be long, thy fame eternal, thy rewards full, thy happiness indelible; thou shalt marry thy children how thou wilt, they shall have titles, and thy grandchildren; thou shalt live in peace and love of all men; and when thy life is ending death shall take thee in a mature old age, and thy nephews shall close thy eyes with their tender and delicate hands.

‘Those I have told thee hitherto are documents concerning thy soul, to adorn it; hearken now to those that must serve for the adorning thy body.’

1 A good item to our judges of the common law.

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