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 LIII: Of the Troublesome End and Upshot that Sancho Panza’s Government had

 

TO think that the affairs of this life should last ever in one being is needless; for it rather seems otherwise: the summer follows the spring; after the summer, the fall; and the fall, the winter; and so time goes on in a continued wheel. Only man’s life runs to a speedy end, swifter than time, without hope of being renewed, except it be in another life, which hath no bounds to limit it.

This said Cid Hamet, a Mahometical philosopher; for many, without the light of faith, only with a natural instinct, have understood the swiftness and uncertainty of this life present, and the lasting of the eternal life which is expected. But here the author speaks it for the speediness with which Sancho’s government was ended, consumed, and undone, and vanished into a shade and smoke, who being abed the seventh night after so many days of his government, nor cloyed with bread or wine, but with judging and giving sentences, making proclamations and statutes, when sleep, maugre and in despite of hunger, shut his eyelids, he heard such a noise of bells and outcries, as if the whole island had been sunk. He sat up in his bed, and was very attentive, hearkening if he could guess at the cause of so great an uproar; but he was so far from knowing it, that a noise of a world of drums and trumpets added to that of the bells and cries made him more confused and more full of fear and horror; and, rising up, he put on a pair of slippers for the moistness of the ground, and without any nightgown upon him, or anything like it, he went out at his chamber door, at such time as he saw at least twenty persons come running thorough the entries, with torches in their hands lighted, and swords unsheathed, crying all out aloud, ‘Arm, arm, sir governor, arm! for a world of enemies are entered the island, and we are undone, if your skill and valour help us not!’

With this fury, noise, and uproar, they came where Sancho was, astonished and embezzled with what he heard and saw; and when they came to him, one of them said, ‘Arm yourself straight, sir, if you mean not to be destroyed, and that all the island be lost.’

‘I arm myself?’ quoth Sancho. ‘Know I anything what belongs to arms or succours? ‘Twere better leave these things to my master Don Quixote de la Mancha; he will despatch and put them in safety in an instant; for I, sinner that I am, understand nothing of this quick service.

‘Ha, sir governor,’ said another, ‘what faintheartedness is this? Arm yourself, for here we bring you arms offensive and defensive. March to the market-place, and be our guide and captain, since you ought, being our governor, to be so.’

‘Arm me on God’s name,’ quoth Sancho; and straight they brought him two shields, of which they had good store, and they clapped them upon his shirt, without letting him take any other clothes; one they put before, and the other behind, and they drew out his arms at certain holes they had made, and bound him very well with cords, so that he was walled and boarded up straight like a spindle, not able to bend his knees or to move a step. In his hands they put a lance, on which he leant to keep himself up. When they had him thus, they bade him march and guide them, and cheer them all, for that he being their lanthorn, north, and morning star, their matters would be well ended. ‘How should I, wretch that I am, march?’ quoth Sancho; ‘for my knee-bones will not move, since these boards that are so sewed to my flesh do hinder me; your only way is to carry me in your arms, and to lay me athwart, or let me stand up at some postern, which I will make good, either with my lance or my body.’ ‘Fie, sir,’ said another; ‘‘tis more your fear than the boards that hinder your pace; make an end for shame, and bestir yourself, for it is late, and the enemies increase, the cries are augmented, and the danger waxeth more and more.’ At whose persuasions and vitupery the poor governor tried if he could move himself; so he fell to the ground, and had such a fall that he thought he had broken himself to pieces, and now he lay like a tortoise, shut in and covered with his shell, or like a fitch of bacon clapped between two boards, or like a boat overturned upon a flat; and for all his fall, those scoffers had no compassion at all on him, but rather, putting out their torches, they began to reinforce their cries, and to reiterate their ‘Arm, arm!’ so fast, running over poor Sancho, giving him an infinite company of slashes upon his shields, that if he had not withdrawn himself; and shrunk his head up into them, the poor governor had been in woeful plight, who being thus shrugged up in this strait, he was in a terrible sweat and berayed, and recommended himself heartily to God Almighty to deliver him from that danger. Some stumbled upon him, others fell, and another would get upon him for a good while, and from thence, as from a watch-tower, governed the army, and cried aloud, ‘Here on our side, here the enemies are thickest; make this breach good, keep that gate shut, down with those ladders, wildfire balls, pitch and rosin, and kettles of scalding oil; trench the streets with beds.’ In fine, he named all manner of war instruments and furniture of war for the defence of a city assaulted; and the bruised Sancho, that heard and suffered all, said to himself, ‘Oh that it would please the Lord that this island were once lost, or that I were dead or delivered from this strait!’

Heaven heard his petition, and when he least expected, he heard this cry, ‘Victory, victory! the foes are vanquished. Ho, sir governor, rise, rise; enjoy the conquest, and divide the spoils that are taken from the enemies by the valour of your invincible arm.’

‘Raise me,’ quoth the grieved Sancho, with a pitiful voice. They helped to raise him, and, being up, he said, ‘Every enemy that I have vanquished, nail him in my forehead; I’ll divide no spoils of enemies, but desire some friend, if I have any, to give me a draught of wine, that may dry up this sweat, for I am all water.’ They wiped him, brought him wine, and unbound the shields from him; he sat upon his bed, and, with the very anguish of the sudden fright and his toil, he fell into a swoon, and they that played that trick with him were sorry it fell out so heavily; but Sancho’s coming straight to himself tempered their sorrow.

He asked them what o’clock it was. They answered him it grew to be day.

He held his peace, and, without more words, began to clothe himself; all buried in silence; and all beheld him, expecting what would be the issue of his hasty dressing himself.

Thus, by little and little, he made himself ready, for by reason of his weariness he could not do it very fast, and so went toward the stable (all they that were there following him), and coming to Dapple, he embraced and gave him a loving kiss on the forehead, and, not without tears in his eyes, said, ‘Come thou hither, companion mine, and friend, fellow-partner of my labours and miseries; when I consorted with you,. no other cares troubled me than to mend my furniture and to sustain thy little corps; happy then were my hours, days, and years; but since I left thee, and mounted on the towers of ambition and pride, a thousand miseries, a thousand toils, four thousand unquietnesses, have entered my soul.’

And, as he was thus discoursing, he fitted on the pack-saddle, nobody saying aught unto him. Dapple being thus pack-saddled, with much ado he got upon him, and, directing his speeches and reasons to the steward, the doctor, and many others there present, he said, ‘Give me room, sirs, and leave to return to my former liberty; let me seek my ancient life, to rise from this present death. I was not born to be a governor, nor to defend islands nor cities from enemies that would assault them; I can tell better how to plough, to dig, to prune, and plant vineyards, than to give laws, or defend provinces and kingdoms; ‘tis good sleeping in a whole skin; I mean, ‘tis fit that every man should exercise the calling to which he was born; a sickle is better in my hand than a governor’s sceptre. I had rather fill myself with a good dish of gaspachos than be subject to the misery of an impertinent physician, that would kill me with hunger; I had rather solace myself under the shade of an oak in summer, and cover myself with a double sheepskin in winter quietly, than lay me down to the subjection of a government in fine Holland sheets and be clothed in sables. Fare you well, sir, and tell my lord the duke, naked was I born, naked I am, I neither win nor lose; I mean, I came without cross to this government, and I go from it without a cross—contrary to what governors of other islands are used to do. Stand out of the way, and let me go, for I must cerecloth myself, for I believe all my ribs are bruised, I thank the enemy that trampled over me all this night.’

‘You shall not do so, sir governor,’ quoth Doctor Rezio; ‘for I will give you a drink good against falls and bruises, that shall straight recover you; and touching your diet, I promise to make you amends, and you shall eat plentifully of what you list.’

’Tis too late,’ quoth Sancho; ‘I’ll as soon tarry as turn Turk; these jests are not good the second time; you shall as soon get me to stay here, or admit of any other government, though it were presented in two platters to me, as make me fly to heaven without wings. I am of the lineage of the Panzas, and we are all headstrong, and if once we cry odd, odd it must be, though it be even, in spite of all the world. Here in this stable let my ants’ wings remain that lifted me up in the air, to be devoured by martlets and other birds; and now let’s go a plain pace on the ground; and though we wear no pinked Spanish-leather shoes, yet we shall not want coarse pack-thread sandals. “Like to like,” quoth the devil to the collier, and let every man cut his measure according to his cloth; and so let me go, for it is late.’

To which quoth the steward, ‘With a very good will you should go, though we shall be very sorry to lose you, for your judgment and Christian proceeding oblige us to desire your company; but you know that all governors are obliged, before they depart from the place which they have governed, to render first an account of their place, which you ought to do for the ten days you have governed; and so God’s peace be with you.’

‘No man can ask any account of me,’ said he, ‘but he whom my lord the duke will appoint; to him I go, and to him I’ll give a fitting account. Besides, I going from hence so bare as I do, there can be no greater sign that I have governed like an angel.’

‘I protest,’ quoth Doctor Rezio, ‘the grand Sancho hath a great deal of reason, and I am of opinion that we let him go, for the duke will be infinitely glad to see him.’

So all agreed, and let him go, offering first to accompany him, and whatsoever he had need of for himself or for the commodiousness of his voyage. Sancho told them he desired nothing but a little barley for Dapple, and half a cheese and a loaf for himself; for that by reason of the shortness of the way he needed no other provision. All of them embraced him, and he with tears embraced them, and left them astonished as well at his discourse as his most resolute and discreet determination.
 

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