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 LVIII: Of Adventures that came so thick and threefold on Don Quixote, that they gave no Respite one to the other

 

WHEN Don Quixote saw himself in open field, free and uncumbered from Altisidora’s wooing, he thought himself in his centre, and that his spirits were renewed, to prosecute his new project of chivalry; and, turning to Sancho, said, ‘Liberty, Sancho, is one of the preciousest gifts that Heaven hath given men; the treasure that the earth encloseth, and the sea hides, cannot be equalised to it. Life ought to be hazarded as well for liberty as for a man’s honour; and, by the contrary, captivity is the greatest evil that can befal men. This I tell thee, Sancho, because thou hast well observed the cheer and plenty we have had in the castle we left. Well, in the midst of those savoury banquets, and those drinks cooled with snow, methought I was straitened with hunger; for I enjoyed nothing with the liberty I should have done had it been mine own; for the obligations of recompensing benefits and favours received are ties that curb a free mind. Happy that man to whom Heaven hath given a piece of bread, without obligation to thank any else, but Heaven alone!’

‘For all that,’ quoth Sancho, “tis not fit for us to be unthankful for two hundred crowns that we have received in gold, which the duke’s steward gave me in a purse, which I carry as a comforting cordial next my heart for what may fall out; for we shall not always find castles where we shall be much made on: sometimes we shall meet with inns where we shall be cudgelled.’

In these and such-like discourses went the errants on, knight and squire, when they saw (having gone about half a league) upon the grass of a green meadow some dozen men, with their cloaks spread at dinner, clad like husband-men. Somewhat near them, they had, as it were, white sheets, with which they covered something underneath; they were set upright, and stretched at length, and put a pretty distance one from another.

Don Quixote came to those that were eating, and, saluting them first courteously, he asked them what was under that linen. One of them answered him, ‘Sir, under this linen there be certain images of embossed work in wood, which must serve in a show we make in our village. We carry them covered that they may not be sullied, and on our shoulders that they be not broken.’ ‘If you please,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘I should be glad to see them; for images carried so charily doubtless are good ones.’ ‘Good?’ quoth one. ‘If they be not, let their price speak, for there is none of them but cost fifty ducats; and that you may see ‘tis true, pray stay, and you shall see it with your eyes’; and, rising, he left his dinner, and went to uncover the first image, which showed to be St. George on horseback, with a winding serpent at his feet, and his lance run through the throat of it, with the fierceness he useth to be painted with.

All the images seemed to be of pure gold, and Don Quixote seeing it, said, ‘This knight was one of the best errants that the divine warfare had; his name was St. George, and he was a wonderful defender of damsels. Let’s see this next.’ The man discovered it, and it seemed to be St. Martin on horseback, that divided his cloak with the poor man; and Don Quixote no sooner saw it but he said, ‘This knight also was one of our Christian adventurers, and I believe he was more liberal than valiant, as thou mayst see, Sancho, by his dividing his cloak and giving the poor man half; and doubtless it was then winter, for had it been summer he would have given him all, he was so charitable.’

‘Not so,’ quoth Sancho, ‘but he stuck to the proverb, To give and to have, doth a brain crave.’

Don Quixote laughed, and desired them to take away another piece of linen, under which was the image of the patron of Spain on horseback, his sword bloodied, trampling on Moors, and treading on heads and Don Quixote seeing it, said ‘A marry, sir, here’s a knight indeed, one of Christ’s squadrons. This is called Don St. Diego, Moor-killer, one of the valiantest saints and knights in the world then, or in heaven now.’ Then they discovered another piece, which showed St. Paul his falling from his horse, with all the circumstances usually painted in the table of his conversion. When he saw him so lively, as if, you would say, Christ were then speaking to him, and Paul answering, he said, ‘This was the greatest enemy that the Church of God had in a long time, and the greatest defender that ever it shall have; a knight-errant in his lifetime, and a quiet saint in his death, a restless labourer in the vineyard of the Lord, a doctor of nations, whose school was heaven, and Christ Himself his reader and instructor.’ Now there were no more images; and so Don Quixote commanded them to cover them again, and said to those that carried them, ‘I hold it for a propitious sign, brethren, to have seen what I have seen; for those saints and knights were of my profession, which is, to exercise arms; only the difference between them and me is, that they were saints, and fought divinely; I am a sinner, and fight humanly. They conquered heaven by the force of their arms (for heaven suffers force), and hitherto I know not what I conquer by the force of my sufferings. But if my Dulcinea del Toboso be once free from hers, my fortune bettering itself, and my judgment repaired, perhaps I might take a better course than I do.’

‘God grant, and sin be deaf,’ quoth Sancho, straight.

The men wondered as well at Don Quixote’s shape as his discourse, and understood not one half what it meant. They ended their dinner, and got up their images, and, taking leave of Don Quixote, went on their way.

Sancho admired afresh, as if he had never known his master, at his knowledge, thinking there was no history in the world, or accident, that he had not ciphered upon his nail, and nailed in his memory, and said, ‘Truly, master mine, if this that hath befallen us to-day may be called an adventure, it hath been one of the most delicious-sweetest that in all our peregrination hath befallen us; for we are come out of it without blows or affrightment, or laying hands to our swords, or without beating the earth with our bodies, or being hungry. God be thanked that He hath let me see this with these eyes of mine.’

‘Thou sayst well, Sancho,’ quoth Don Quixote; ‘but, thou must know, the times are not always alike, nor run on in one fashion, and that which the vulgar commonly calls bodings, which are not grounded upon any natural reason, ought to be held, and reputed, and judged by a wise man for good luck. One of your wizards riseth in a morning, goes out of his house, meets with a friar of the blessed Order of St. Francis, as if he had met with a griffin, turns his back, and runs home again. T’other Mendoza, he spills the salt on the table, and straight hath a melancholy sprinkled all over his heart, as if nature were bound to show signs of ensuing mischances, with things of so small moment as the aforesaid. The discreet Christians ought not to stand upon points, or to look into the doings of Heaven. Scipio comes into Africa, and, leaping on shore, he stumbles: his soldiers hold it for an ill sign; but he, embracing the ground, said, “Thou canst not fly from me, Africa, for I have fast hold on thee in mine arms.” So that, Sancho, the meeting with these images hath been a most happy success to me.

‘I believe you,’ quoth Sancho; ‘and pray tell me the cause why we Spaniards cry, “Saint Jaques, and shut Spain”? Is Spain open, trow, so that it needed be shut? or what ceremony is this?’

‘Thou art most simple, Sancho,’ quoth Don Quixote: ‘and look, this grand knight with the red cross, God hath given him to Spain for a patron and protector, especially in the hard conflicts that the Moors and we had together, and therefore they invoke and call on him as their protector in all their battles they give, and many times they have visibly seen him in them, overthrowing, trampling, destroying and killing Agaren squadrons. Many examples could I produce to confirm this, out of the true Spanish histories.’

Sancho changed his discourse, and said to his master, ‘Sir, I do wonder at the looseness of Altisidora, the duchess’s damsel; that same fellow called Love hath bravely wounded and run her through: they say he is a little blind boy, that though he be blear-eyed, or to say truer, blind, takes the least heart for his mark, and hits it, and pierceth it with his flight from one side the other. I have also heard say that, in the modesty and wariness of damsels, his amorous arrows are headless and dull; but in this Altisidora it seems they are rather whetted than dull.’

‘Look you, Sancho,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘Love hath no respect or limit in his dealing, and hath the same condition with Death, that as well sets upon the high palaces of kings as the low cottages of shepherds; and, when he takes entire possession of a soul, the first thing he does is to banish shame, without which Altisidora declared her desires, that rather engendered in my breast confusion than pity.’

‘Notable cruelty!’ quoth Sancho, ‘unheard-of thanklessness! I know, for my part, that the least amorous reason of hers would have humbled and made me her vassal: ah, whoreson, what a heart of marble, entrails of brass, and soul of rough-cast had you! But I cannot imagine what this damosel saw in you that should so vanquish her. What gallantry? what courage? what conceit? what countenance?—which of these alone, or all together, enamoured her? for truly, truly, I behold you many times from head to foot, and I see more in you to affright than to enamour. And having also heard say that beauty is the first and principal part that doth enamour, you having none, I know not on what the poor soul was enamoured.’

‘Mark, Sancho,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘there be two kinds of beauty, one of the mind, the other of the body; that of the mind doth march and is seen in the understanding, in honesty, in good proceeding, in liberality, in being well-bred; and all these qualities are untamed, and may be in an ill-favoured man; and when the choice is set upon this beauty, and not upon that of the body, it causeth love with more force and advantage. I see, Sancho, that I am not lovely, and yet I know too I am not deformed; and it is enough for an honest man, if he be not a monster, to be beloved, so I have the portions of the mind I have told thee of.’

In these reasons and discourses they went, entering in at a wood that was out of the way, and suddenly, before they were aware, Don Quixote found himself entangled in nets of green thread, that were set from one tree to another, and not imagining what it might be, he said to Sancho, ‘Methinks, Sancho, this adventure of these nets is one of the strangest that may be imagined: hang me, if the enchanters that persecute me mean not to entangle me in them, and to stop my way, in revenge of the rigour I have used toward Altisidora. Well, let them know that these nets, were they of hardest diamonds, as they are of green thread, or stronger than that the jealous god of the blacksmiths entangled Venus and Mars with, I would break it, as if it were bulrushes or yarn’; and, striving to get forward, suddenly two most beautiful shepherdesses, coming from out the thicket, appeared before him; two at least attired like shepherdesses, only their loose jackets and coats were of fine cloth of gold. I say, their kirtles were of tissue, their hairs hung loose over their shoulders that for golden might compare with the sunbeams. They were crowned with two garlands woven with green bays and red-flower gentle; their ages seemed to be not under fifteen, nor past eighteen.

This was a sight that astonished Sancho, suspended Don Quixote, made the sun stop in his career to behold them, and held all the four in marvellous silence.

In fine, the first that spake was one of the shepherdesses, that said to Don Quixote, ‘Hold, gentlemen, and break not our nets, that are spread there not to your hurt, but for our recreation; and because I know you will ask us why they are so put, and who we are, I will tell you briefly. In a village some two leagues from hence, where there are many gentlemen of quality and rich, amongst many acquaintances and kindred it was agreed that the wives, sons, and daughters, neighbours, friends, and kinsfolk, should join to make merry in this place, which is one of the pleasantest here round about, forming, as it were, amongst us, a new and pastoral Arcadia, clothing the maids like shepherdesses, and the young men like shepherds. Two eclogues we have studied, one of the famous poet Garsilasso, and the other of that most excellent poet Camoens, in his own mother Portugal tongue, which hitherto we have not repeated. Yesterday was the first day we came hither. We have our tents, called field-tents, pitched amongst these trees, close by the brink of a goodly running brook, which fructifies all these meadows. Last night we did spread our nets on these trees to catch the poor birds that, being allured with our call, should fall into them. If you please, sir, to be our guest, you shall be entertained liberally and courteously; for now into this place comes neither sorrow nor melancholy.’ With this she was silent, and said no more.

To which Don Quixote answered, ‘Truly, fairest lady, Acteon was not more astonished or in suspense when on the sudden he saw Diana bathing herself in the fountain, than I have been in beholding your beauty. I commend the manner of your pastime, and thank you for your kind offers; and if I may serve you, so I may, be sure you will be obeyed. You may command me; for my profession is this, to show myself thankful, and a doer of good to all sorts of people, especially of the rank that your person shows you to be. And if those nets, as they take up but a little piece of ground, should take up the whole world, I would seek out new worlds to pass through rather than break them. And that you may give credit to this my exaggeration, behold at least he that promiseth you this is Don Quixote de la Mancha, if haply this name hath come to your hearing.’

‘Ah, sweet friend,’ quoth the other shepherdess, ‘what good luck is this! Seest thou this gentleman before us? Well, let me tell thee, he is the valiantest, the most enamoured, and the most courteous in the world, if the History lie not, and deceive us, which is in print, of his famous exploits which I have read. I hold a wager this honest fellow here with him is, what call ye him? Sancho Panza his squire, that hath no fellow for his mirth.’

‘‘Tis true,’ quoth Sancho, ‘I am that merry fellow, and that squire you speak of, and this gentleman is my master, the very selfsame Don Quixote aforesaid, and historified.’

‘Ah,’ quoth the other, ‘let us entreat him, friend, to stay with us, for our friends and kindred will be infinitely glad of it; and I have heard tell, as well as thou, of his worth and wit; and above all, they say of him that he is the firmest and loyallest amorist that is known, and that his mistress is one Dulcinea del Toboso, that bears the prize from all the beauties in Spain.’

‘With just reason she doth,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘if so be your matchless beauties put it not in controversy. Weary not yourselves, ladies, in detaining me, for the precise ties of my profession will let me rest nowhere.’

By this there came a brother of one of the shepherdesses, where the four were, as brave and gallant as they. They told him that he which was with them was the valorous Don Quixote de la Mancha, and the other Sancho his squire, of whom he had notice, as having read his history.

The gallant shepherd saluted him, desiring him to come with them to their tents. Don Quixote was force-d to consent, which he did. And now the nets were drawn, and filled with divers little birds, who, deceived with the colour of them, fell into the danger they shunned. There met in that place above thirty persons, all gallantly clad like shepherds and shepherdesses, and instantly they were made to know who Don Quixote was, and his squire; at which they were not a little contented, for they had notice of him by his history. They came to the tents, and found the tables covered, rich, abundant, and neat. They honoured Don Quixote with the chief seat: all of them beheld him, and admired to see him.

Finally, the cloth being taken away, Don Quixote very gravely lifted up his voice and said, ‘Amongst the greatest sins that are committed, though some say pride, yet I say ingratitude is one, holding myself to the usual saying, that hell is full of the ungrateful. This sin, as much as possible I could, I have sought to avoid ever since I had reason: and if I cannot repay one good turn with another, instead of that, my desires are not wanting, and when they suffice not, I publish them; for he that acknowledgeth and publisheth good turns received would also recompense them with others if he could; for, for the most part, they that receive are inferior to those that give; and so God is above all, because He is giver above all, and the gifts of men cannot be equal to God’s for the infinite difference betwixt them; and this straitness and barrenness doth in some measure supply a thankfulness. I therefore being thankful for the kindness I have here received, and not able to correspond in the same proportion, containing myself in the narrow limits of my ability, offer what I may and what I have from my harvest, and therefore I say that I will for two long days maintain, in midst of the king’s highway toward Saragosa, that these ladies, counterfeit shepherdesses here present, are the fairest and most courteous damsels in the world, excepting only the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso, sole mistress of my thoughts, with peace be it spoken to as many both hes and shes as hear me.

Which when Sancho heard, that had attentively listened, crying out, he said, ‘Is it possible there can be anybody in the world that dares say or swear that this master of mine is mad? Pray speak, you gentlemen shepherds: is there any country vicar, be he never so wise, or never so good a scholar, that can say what my master hath said? Or is there any knight-errant, let him be never so much famed for his valour, that can offer what my master hath here offered?’

Don Quixote turned to Sancho, and, all inflamed and choleric, said, ‘Is it possible, O Sancho, that there is anybody in the world that will say thou art not a coxcomb, lined with the same, and hemmed with I know not what malice or knavery? Who bids thee meddle with my matters, in sifting out whether I be wise or a jolt-head? Peace, and not a word, but saddle Rozinante, if he be unsaddled, and let’s put my offer in execution; for, with the justice that I have on my side, thou mayst presume as many as I meet withal are vanquished.’

And so, with great fury, and in a terrible huff, he rose from his chair, leaving all the bystanders in admiration, and in doubt whether they should hold him mad or wise. Finally, they persuaded him he should not thrust himself into such an engagement, for they acknowledged his thankful good will, and that there needed no new demonstrations to know his valorous mind, for his exploits mentioned in his history were sufficient.

For all that, Don Quixote proceeded in his purpose, and, mounted on Rozinante, buckling his shield to him, and taking his lance, he got to the highway, not &r from the green meadow. Sancho followed him upon Dapple, with all the pastoral flock, desirous to see what might be the issue of that arrogant and never-seen offer.

Don Quixote being, as I have said, upon the way, he wounded the air with these words: ‘O you passengers, and wayfaring knights, squires on foot or on horseback, that either now pass this way, or are to pass in these two ensuing days, know that Don Quixote de la Mancha, knight-errant, is here ready to maintain that, setting the beauty of the mistress of my soul aside, Dulcinea del Toboso, the nymphs that inhabit these meadows and groves are the fairest that may be: and he that is of a contrary opinion, let him come, for here I expect him.’

Twice he repeated these selfsame words, and twice they were not heard by any adventurer. But his good luck, that directed his affairs better and better, so ordained that, a pretty while after, they might see a troop of horsemen upon the way, and many of them with lances in their hands, all of them going in a heap together, and apace. They that were with Don Quixote as soon as ever they saw them, turned their backs, and got far enough out of the way; for they knew if they stayed they might be in some danger: only Don Quixote with an undaunted heart stood still, and Sancho Panza warded himself with Rozinante’s buttocks.

The troop of the lances came on, and one that was foremost cried out aloud to Don Quixote, saying, ‘Out of the way, madman; for these bulls will beat thee to pieces.’

‘Go to, ye scoundrels!’ quoth Don Quixote; ‘your bulls shall not prevail with me, though they were the fiercest that Xarama hath feeding on his banks. Confess, ye elves, all in one, that what I have proclaimed here is a truth, or else come and combat with me.’

The herdsman had no leisure to answer, nor Don Quixote to get out of the way, though he would; and so the troop of wild bulls, together with the tame kine, and the multitude of herdsmen, and others, that carried them to be kept up in a town, where they were the next day to be baited, trampled over Don Quixote, Sancho, Rozinante, and Dapple, tumbling them all down upon the ground.

Sancho was bruised, Don Quixote astonished, Dapple banged, and Rozinante not very catholic; but, in fine, all of them got up; and Don Quixote in all haste, sometimes stumbling, otherwhiles falling, began to run after the whole herd, crying aloud, ‘Hold, stay, ye elvish crew! for one only knight expects you, who is not of that mind or opinion of those that say, To a flying enemy a silver bridge.’ But the hasty runners stayed never a whit the more for this, nor made any reckoning of his threats more than of last year’s clouds.

Don Quixote, being weary, stayed him. So, fuller of anger than revenge, he sat in the way, expecting when Sancho, Rozinante, and Dapple should arrive. At length they came, and master and man gat up, and without leave-taking of the feigned or counterfeit Arcadia, with more shame than delight, they went onward their way.
 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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