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 LVII: How Don Quixote took his Leave of the Duke, and what befel him with the Witty and Wanton Altisidora, the Duchess’s Damsel


NOW it seemed good to Don Quixote to leave the idle life he had in the castle, thinking it a great wrong to his person to be shut up and lazy amongst so many delights and dainties as were offered to him as a knight-errant by those nobles, and he thought he was to give a strict account to Heaven for that idleness and retirement, and so asked licence one day of the dukes to depart, which they gave him, but seemed to be very sorrowful that he would leave them. The duchess gave Sancho Panza his wife’s letters, who wept in them, and said, ‘Who would have thought that such great hopes as the news of my government engendered in my wife Teresa Panza’s breast should stop in this, that I must return to my master Don Quixote’s dragged adventures? For all that, I am glad to see that my Teresa was like herself, by sending the acorns to the duchess, which if she had not sent, I being sorry she had showed herself ungrateful; my comfort is that this kind of present could not be called a bribe, for I had my government before she sent it, and ‘tis very fit that they who receive a benefit, though it be but in trifles, show themselves thankful. In effect, naked I came into the government, and naked I go out of it, and therefore I may say, which is no small matter, with a safe conscience, naked was I born, naked I am, I neither win nor lose.’

This Sancho discoursed with himself at the time when he was to depart; and Don Quixote going out (having taken his leave the night before of the dukes) one morning, he presented himself all armed in the castle court; all the people of the house beheld him from the galleries, and the dukes too went out to see him. Sancho was upon his Dapple, with his wallets, his cloak-bag, and his sumpters-provision, most frolic, for the duke’s steward, he that had been Trifaldi, gave him a purse with two hundred crowns of gold, to supply his wants by the way, and yet Don Quixote knew nothing of this.

Whilst all were thus beholding him, unlooked for amongst other matrons and damsels of the duchess’s, the witty and wanton Altisidora beheld him, and with a woeful voice said:

‘Hearken, O thou wicked knight,
Hold a little back thy reins;
Do not so bestir the flank
Of thy most ungoverned beast.
False, behold, thou fliest not
From a serpent that is fierce;
No, but from a little lamb,
Lacks not much of being a sheep.
Horrid monster, thou hast abused
The most beauteous damosel
That Diana in hills hath seen,
Or Venus in woods beheld.
Cruel Virenus, Aeneas fugitive,
Barabbas take thee, never mayst thou thrive!

‘Thou carriest (Oh, ill carrying!)
In thy wicked clutching paws
The entrails of an humble one,
Tender and enamoured.
Three nightcaps hast thou borne hence,
And a pair of garters too,
That do equal marble pure,
For their smoothness, white and black.
Two thousand sighs thou bearest away,
Which were they but fire, they might
Set on fire two thousand Troys
(If two thousand Troys there were).
Cruel Virenus, Aeneas fugitive,
Barabbas take thee, never mayst thou thrive!

‘Of thy squire, that Sancho he,
May his entrails be so tough
And so hard that Dulcine—
a may not disenchanted be.
For the fault that thou hast made,
Let poor she the burden bear,
For the just for wrongers do
Sometimes in my country pay.
Let thy best adventures all
Into misadventures turn,
All thy pleasure to a dream,
Firmness to forgetfulness.
Cruel Virenus, Aeneas fugitive,
Barabbas take thee, never mayst thou thrive!

‘Mayst thou false accounted be,
From Seville to Marchena,
From Granada unto Loia,
From London’ to England.1
Whensoe’er thou playst at trump,
At primera, or at saint,
Never mayst thou see a king,
Aces, sevens fly from thee.
If thou chance to cut thy corns,
Mayst thou wound till blood do come:
Also let the stumps remain,
If thou pluck out hollow teeth.
Cruel Virenus, Aeneas fugitive,
Barabbas take thee, never mayst thou thrive!’

Whilst the grieved Altisidora thus lamented, Don Quixote beheld her, and, without answering a word, turning to Sancho, he said, ‘By thy forefathers’ lives, I conjure thee, my Sancho, that thou tell me one truth: tell me happily hast thou the three nightcaps and the garters that this enamoured damsel speaks of?’ To which quoth Sancho, ‘The three caps I have; but for your garters, as sure as the sea burns.’

The duchess wondered at Altisidora’s looseness; for, though she held her to be bold, witty, and wanton, yet she never thought she would have proceeded so far; and, knowing nothing of this jest, her admiration was the greater.

The duke meant to second the sport, and therefore said, ‘I do not like it well, sir knight, that having received this good entertainment that hath been made you in my castle, you should presume to carry away three nightcaps at least: if it were but only my damsel’s garters, ‘tis a sign of a false heart, not suitable to your honour, and therefore restore her garters; if not, I challenge you to a mortal combat, and I’ll not fear that your elvish enchanters will truck or change my face, as they have done my lackey Tosilos, that was to have fought with you.’

‘God forbid,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘that I should unsheath my sword against your most illustrious person, from whom I have received so many favours. The nightcaps I will restore, for Sancho says he hath them; the garters ‘tis impossible, for neither he nor I received them; and if this your damsel will look into her corners, I warrant her she finds them. I, my lord, was never thief, nor never think I shall as long as I live, if God forsake me not. This damsel speaks as she pleaseth, as being enamoured on what I am not faulty of; and therefore I have no reason to ask forgiveness neither of her nor your Excellency, whom I beseech to have a better opinion of me: and again I desire your licence to be upon my way.

‘God send you, Signior Don Quixote,’ quoth the duchess, ‘so good a journey that we may always hear happy news of your brave exploits, and so God be with you, for the longer you stay, the more you increase the flames in the damsels’ hearts that behold you. And for mine, I’ll punish her so, that henceforward she shall neither misbehave herself in look or action.’

‘Hear me then but a word, O valorous Don Quixote,’ quoth Altisidora, ‘which is, that I cry thee mercy for the theft of my garters; for in my soul and conscience I have them on, and I have fallen into the same carelessness of his that looked for his ass when he rode upon him.’

‘Did not I tell you,’ quoth Sancho, ‘I am a fit youth to conceal thefts? for had I been so, I had in two bouts fit occasions in my government.

Don Quixote inclined his head and made an obeisance to the dukes and bystanders, and, turning Rozinante’s reins, Sancho following him on Dapple, he went out of the castle, taking his way towards Saragosa.

1 Though these verses were made on purpose to be absurd, yet sure the author here fell into the common absurdity that I have known many of his countrymen do, which is, that England is in London, and not vice versâ.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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