Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
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"Nevertheless," said the traveller, "if I am not mistaken, I remember having read that Don Galaor, brother to the valorous Amadis de Gaul, never had a particular mistress, to whom he might commend himself; notwithstanding which, he was no less esteemed, and was a very valiant and famous knight."

To which our Don Quixote answered: "Signor, one swallow does not make a summer." [4]

"If it is essential that every knight-errant be a lover," said the traveller, "it may well be presumed that you are yourself one, being of the profession; and, if you do not pique yourself upon the same secrecy as Don Galaor, I earnestly entreat you, in the name of all this good company and in my own, to tell us the name, country, quality, and beauty of your mistress, who cannot but account herself happy that all the world should know that she is loved and served by so worthy a knight."

Here Don Quixote breathed a deep sigh, and said: "I cannot positively affirm whether that sweet enemy of mine is pleased or not that the world should know I am her servant. I can only say, in answer to what you so very courteously inquire of me, that her name is Dulcinea; her country Toboso, a town of la Mancha: her quality at least that of a princess, since she is my queen and sovereign lady; her beauty more than human, since in her all the impossible and chimerical attributes of beauty which the poets ascribe to their mistresses are realized; for her hair is gold, her forehead the Elysian Fields, her eyebrows rainbows, her eyes suns, her cheeks roses, her lips coral, her teeth pearls, her neck, alabaster, her bosom marble, her hands ivory, her whiteness snow, and her whole person without parallel. She is of those of Toboso de la Mancha; a lineage which, though modern, is yet such as may give a noble beginning to the most illustrious families of future ages; and in this let no one contradict me, unless it be on the conditions that Zerbino fixed under the arms of Orlando, where it said:—

'That knight alone these arms shall move, Who dares Orlando's prowess prove.'"


"Comrades," said he, "do you know what is passing in the village?"

"How should we know?" answered one of them.

"Know, then," continued the youth, "that the famous shepherd and scholar, Chrysostom, died this morning; and it is rumored that it was for love of that saucy girl Marcela, daughter of William the rich; she who rambles about these woods and fields in the dress of a shepherdess."

"For Marcela, say you?" quoth one.

"For her, I say," answered the goatherd; "and the best of it is, he has ordered in his will that they should bury him in the fields, like a Moor, at the foot of the rock, by the cork-tree fountain, which, according to report, and as they say, he himself declared was the very place where he first saw her. He ordered also other tilings so extravagant that the clergy say they must not be performed; nor is it fit that they should, for they seem to be heathenish. But his great friend Ambrosio, the student, who accompanied him, dressed also like a shepherd, declares that the whole of what Chrysostom enjoined shall be executed: and upon this the village is all in an uproar: but by what I can learn, they will at last do what Ambrosio and all his friends require; and to-morrow they come to inter him, with great solemnity, in the place I mentioned; and, in my opinion, it will be a sight well worth seeing; at least, I shall not fail to go, although I were certain of not returning to-morrow to the village."

"We will do the same," answered the goatherds; "and let us cast lots who shall stay behind to look after the goats."

"You say well, Pedro," quoth another; "but it will be needless to make use of this expedient, for I will remain for you all: and do not attribute this to self-denial or want of curiosity in me, but to the thorn which stuck into my foot the other day, and hinders me from walking."

"We thank you, nevertheless," answered Pedro.

Don Quixote requested Pedro to give him some account of the deceased man and the shepherdess. To which Pedro answered, "that all he knew was, that the deceased was a wealthy gentleman, and inhabitant of a village situate among these mountains, who had studied many years at Salamanca; at the end of which time he returned home, with the character of a very learned and well read person; particularly, it was said, he understood the science of the stars, and what the sun and moon are doing in the sky; for he told us punctually the clipse of the sun and moon."

"Friend," quoth Don Quixote, "the obscuration of those two luminaries is called an eclipse, and not a clipse."

But Pedro, not regarding niceties, went on with his story, saying, "He also foretold when the year would be plentiful or starel."

"Sterile, you would say, friend," quoth Don Quixote.

"Sterile, or starel," answered Pedro, "comes all to the same thing. And, as I was saying, his father and friends, who gave credit to his words, became very rich thereby; for they followed his advice in everything. This year he would say, 'Sow barley, and not wheat; in this you may sow vetches, and not barley; the next year there will be plenty of oil; the three following there will not be a drop.'"

"This science they call astrology," said Don Quixote.

"I know not how it is called," replied Pedro, "but I know that he knew all this, and more too. In short, not many months after he came from Salamanca, on a certain day he appeared dressed like a shepherd, with his crook and sheepskin jacket, having thrown aside his scholar's gown; and with an intimate friend of his, called Ambrosio, who had been his fellow-student, and who now put on likewise the apparel of a shepherd. I forgot to tell you how the deceased Chrysostom was a great man at making verses; insomuch that he made the carols for Christmas-eve and the religious plays for Corpus Christi, which the boys of the village represented; and everybody said they were most excellent. When the people of the village saw the two scholars so suddenly habited like shepherds, they were amazed, and could not get at the cause that induced them to make that strange alteration in their dress. About this time the father of Chrysostom died, and he inherited a large estate, in lands and goods, flocks, herds, and money, of all which the youth remained absolute master; and, indeed, he deserved it all, for he was a very good companion, a charitable man, and a friend to those that were good, and had a face like any blessing. Afterwards it came to be known that he changed his habit for no other purpose but that he might wander about these desert places after that shepherdess Marcela, with whom, as our lad told you, he was in love.

"As all that I have related is certain truth, I can more readily believe what our companion told us concerning the cause of Chrysostom's death; and therefore I advise you, sir, not to fail being to-morrow at his funeral, which will be very well worth seeing; for Chrysostom had a great many friends, and it is not half a league hence to the place of interment appointed by himself."

"I will certainly be there," said Don Quixote, "and I thank you for the pleasure you have given me by the recital of so entertaining a story."

Morning scarcely had dawned through the balconies of the east, when five of the six goatherds got up and went to awake Don Quixote, whom they asked whether he continued in his resolution of going to see the famous interment of Chrysostom, for, if so, they would bear him company. Don Quixote, who desired nothing more, arose, and ordered Sancho to saddle and pannel immediately, which he did with great expedition; and with the same dispatch they all set out on their journey.

They had not gone a quarter of a league, when upon crossing a pathway, they saw six shepherds advancing towards them, clad in jackets of black sheepskin, with garlands of cypress and bitter rosemary on their heads; each of them having in his hand a thick holly club. There came also with them two gentlemen on horseback, well equipped for travelling, who were attended by three lackeys on foot. When the two parties met they courteously saluted each other, and finding upon inquiry that all were proceeding to the place of burial, they continued their journey together.

Proceeding on, they discerned through a cleft between two high mountains about twenty shepherds coming down, all clad in jerkins of black wool, and crowned with garlands, some of which were of yew, and some of cypress. Six of them carried a bier covered with various flowers and boughs. One of the goatherds said: "Those who come hither are bearing the corpse of Chrysostom, and at the foot of yonder mountain is the place where he desired to be interred." Four of them, with sharp pickaxes, were making the grave by the side of a sharp rock. Upon the bier lay a dead body, strewed with flowers, in the dress of a shepherd, apparently about thirty years of age; and though dead, it was evident that his countenance had been beautiful and his figure elegant. Several books and a great number of papers, some open and some folded, lay round him on the bier. All that were present, spectators as well as those who were opening the grave, kept a marvellous silence, until one said to another: "Observe carefully, Ambrosio, whether this be the place which Chrysostom mentioned since you wish to be so exact in executing his will."

"It is here," answered Ambrosio; "for in this very place my unhappy friend often told me of his woe. Here it was, he told me, that he first beheld that mortal enemy of the human race; here it was that he declared to her his no less honorable than ardent passion; here it was that Marcela finally undeceived and treated him with such disdain that she put an end to the tragedy of his miserable life; and here, in memory of so many misfortunes, he desired to be deposited in the bowels of eternal oblivion."

Then, addressing himself to Don Quixote and the travellers, he thus continued: "This body, sirs, which you are regarding with compassionate eyes, was the receptacle of a soul upon which Heaven had bestowed an infinite portion of its treasures; this is the body of Chrysostom, who was a man of rare genius, matchless courtesy, and unbounded kindness; he was a phoenix in friendship, magnificent without ostentation, grave without arrogance, cheerful without meanness; in short, the first in all that was good, and second to none in all that was unfortunate. He loved, and was abhorred; he adored, and was scorned; he courted a savage; he solicited a statue; he pursued the wind; he called aloud to the desert; he was the slave of ingratitude, whose recompense was to leave him, in the middle of his career of life, a prey to death, inflicted by a certain shepherdess, whom he endeavored to render immortal in the memories of men; as these papers you are looking at would sufficiently demonstrate, had he not ordered me to commit them to the flames at the same time that his body was deposited in the earth."

"You would then be more rigorous and cruel to them," said Vivaldo, "than their master himself.

"It is neither just nor wise to fulfil the will of him who commands what is utterly unreasonable.

"Augustus Caesar deemed it wrong to consent to the execution of what the divine Mantuan commanded in his will; therefore, Signor Ambrosio, although you commit your friend's body to the earth, do not commit his writings also to oblivion; and if he has ordained like a man aggrieved, do not you fulfil like one without discretion, but rather preserve those papers, in order that the cruelty of Marcela may be still remembered, and serve for an example to those who shall live in times to come, that they may avoid falling down the like precipices; for I am acquainted, as well as my companions here, with the story of this your enamored and despairing friend; we know also your friendship, and the occasion of his death, and what he ordered on his deathbed; from which lamentable history we may conclude how great has been the cruelty of Marcela, the love of Chrysostom, and the sincerity of your friendship; and also learn the end of those who run headlong in the path that delirious passion presents to their view. Last night we heard of Chrysostom's death, and that he was to be interred in this place; led, therefore, by curiosity and compassion, we turned out of our way, and determined to behold with our eyes what had interested us so much in the recital; and, in return for our pity, and our desire to give aid, had it been possible, we beseech you, oh wise Ambrosio—at least I request it on my own behalf—that you will not burn the papers, but allow me to take some of them."

Then, without waiting for the shepherd's reply, he stretched out his hand and took some of those that were nearest to him: upon which Ambrosio said: "Out of civility, signor, I will consent to your keeping those you have taken; but if you expect that I shall forbear burning those that remain, you are deceived."

Vivaldo, desirous of seeing what the papers contained, immediately opened one of them, and found that it was entitled, "The Song of Despair." Ambrosio, hearing it, said: "This is the last thing which the unhappy man wrote; and that all present may conceive, signor, to what a state of misery he was reduced, read it aloud; for you will have time enough while they are digging the grave."

"That I will do with all my heart," said Vivaldo; and, as all the bystanders had the same desire, they assembled around him, and he read in an audible voice as follows:—



Since, cruel maid, you force me to proclaim From clime to clime, the triumph of your scorn, Let hell itself inspire my tortured breast With mournful numbers, and untune my voice; Whilst the sad pieces of my broken heart Mix with the doleful accents of my tongue, At once to tell my griefs and thy exploits, Hear, then, and listen with attentive ear— Not to harmonious sounds, but echoing groans, Fetched from the bottom of my laboring breast, To ease, in spite of thee, my raging smart.


The lion's roar, the howl of midnight wolves, The scaly serpent's hiss, the raven's croak, The burst of fighting winds that vex the main, The widowed owl and turtle's plaintive moan, With all the din of hell's infernal crew, From my grieved soul forth issue in one sound— Leaving my senses all confused and lost. For ah! no common language can express The cruel pains that torture my sad heart.


Yet let not Echo bear the mournful sounds To where old Tagus rolls his yellow sands, Or Betis, crowned with olives, pours his flood, But here, 'midst rocks and precipices deep, Or to obscure and silent vales removed, On shores by human footsteps never trod, Where the gay sun ne'er lifts his radiant orb, Or with the envenomed face of savage beasts That range the howling wilderness for food, Will I proclaim the story of my woes— Poor privilege of grief!—while echoes hoarse Catch the sad tale, and spread it round the world.


Disdain gives death; suspicions, true or false, O'erturn the impatient mind: with surer stroke Fell jealousy destroys; the pangs of absence No lover can support; nor firmest hope Can dissipate the dread of cold neglect; Yet I, strange fate! though jealous, though disdained, Absent, and sure of cold neglect, still live. And amidst the various torments I endure, No ray of hope e'er darted on my soul, Nor would I hope; rather in deep despair Will I sit down, and, brooding o'er my griefs, Vow everlasting absence from her sight.


Can hope and fear at once the soul possess, Or hope subsist with surer cause of fear? Shall I, to shut out frightful jealousy, Close my sad eyes, when every pang I feel Presents the hideous phantom to my view? What wretch so credulous but must embrace Distrust with open arms, when he beholds Disdain avowed, suspicions realized, And truth itself converted to a lie? Oh, cruel tyrant of the realm of love, Fierce Jealousy, arm with a sword this hand, Or thou, Disdain, a twisted cord bestow!


Let me not blame my fate; but, dying, think The man most blest who loves, the soul most free That love has most enthralled. Still to my thoughts Let fancy paint the tyrant of my heart Beauteous in mind as face, and in myself Still let me find the source of her disdain, Content to suffer, since imperial Love By lover's woes maintains his sovereign state. With this persuasion, and the fatal noose, I hasten to the doom her scorn demands, And, dying, offer up my breathless corse, Uncrowned with garlands, to the whistling winds.


Oh thou, whose unrelenting rigor's force First drove me to despair, and now to death; When the sad tale of my untimely fall Shall reach thy ear, though it deserve a sigh, Veil not the heaven of those bright eyes in grief, Nor drop one pitying tear, to tell the world At length my death has triumphed o'er thy scorn: But dress thy face in smiles, and celebrate With laughter and each circumstance of joy The festival of my disastrous end. Ah! need I bid thee smile? too well I know My death's thy utmost glory and thy pride.


Come, all ye phantoms of the dark abyss: Bring, Tantalus, thy unextinguished thirst, And Sisyphus, thy still returning stone; Come, Tityus, with the vulture at thy heart; And thou, Ixion, bring thy giddy wheel; Nor let the toiling sisters stay behind. Pour your united griefs into this breast, And in low murmurs sing sad obsequies (If a despairing wretch such rites may claim) O'er my cold limbs, denied a winding sheet. And let the triple porter of the shades, The sister Furies, and chimeras dire, With notes of woe the mournful chorus join. Such funeral pomp alone befits the wretch By beauty sent untimely to the grave.


And thou, my song, sad child of my despair, Complain no more; but since thy wretched fate Improves her happier lot who gave thee birth, Be all thy sorrows buried in my tomb.

None of the shepherds departed until, the grave being made and the papers burnt, the body of Chrysostom was interred, not without many tears from the spectators. They closed the sepulchre with a large fragment of a rock until a tombstone was finished, which Ambrosio said it was his intention to provide, and to inscribe upon it the following epitaph:—


The body of a wretched swain, Killed by a cruel maid's disdain, In this cold bed neglected lies.

He lived, fond, hapless youth! to prove Th' inhuman tyranny of love, Exerted in Marcela's eyes.

Then they strewed abundance of flowers and boughs on the grave, and after expressions of condolence to his friend Ambrosio, they took their leave of him.

All beauty does not inspire love; some please the sight without captivating the affections. If all beauties were to enamour and captivate, the hearts of mankind would be in a continual state of perplexity and confusion—for beautiful objects being infinite, the sentiments they inspire should also be infinite.

True love cannot be divided, and must be voluntary and unconstrained.

The viper deserves no blame for its sting, although it be mortal—because it is the gift of Nature.

Beauty in a modest woman is like fire or a sharp sword at a distance; neither doth the one burn nor the other wound those that come not too near them.

Honor and virtue are ornaments of the soul, without which the body, though it be really beautiful, ought not to be thought so.

Let him who is deceived complain.

Let him to whom faith is broken despair.

She who loves none can make none jealous, and sincerity ought not to pass for disdain.

Much time is necessary to know people thoroughly.

We are sure of nothing in this life.

There is no remembrance which time does not obliterate, nor pain which death does not terminate.

Fortune always leaves some door open in misfortune.

Sometimes we look for one thing and find another.

Self-praise depreciates.

The cat to the rat—the rat to the rope—the rope to the gallows.

Out of the frying-pan into the fire.

One man is no more than another, only inasmuch as he does more than another.

The lance never blunted the pen, nor the pen the lance.

A mouth without teeth is like a mill without a stone.

The dead to the bier, and the living to good cheer.

One effect of fear is to disturb the senses, and make things not to appear what they really are.


They saw, advancing towards them, on the same road, a great number of lights, resembling so many moving stars. Sancho stood aghast at the sight of them, nor was Don Quixote unmoved. The one checked his ass and the other his horse, and both stood looking before them with eager attention. They perceived that the lights were advancing towards them, and that as they approached nearer they appeared larger. Sancho trembled like quicksilver at the sight, and Don Quixote's hair bristled upon his head; but, somewhat recovering himself, he exclaimed: "Sancho, this must be a most perilous adventure, wherein it will be necessary for me to exert my whole might and valor."

"Woe is me!" answered Sancho; "should this prove to be an adventure of goblins, as to me it seems to be, where shall I find ribs to endure?"

"Whatsoever phantoms they may be," said Don Quixote, "I will not suffer them to touch a thread of thy garment: for if they sported with thee before, it was because I could not get over the wall; but we are now upon even ground, where I can brandish my sword at pleasure."

"But, if they should enchant and benumb you, as they did then," quoth Sancho, "what matters it whether we are in the open field or not?"

"Notwithstanding that," replied Don Quixote, "I beseech thee, Sancho, to be of good courage; for experience shall give thee sufficient proof of mine."

"I will, if it please God," answered Sancho; and, retiring a little on one side of the road, and again endeavoring to discover what those walking lights might be, they soon after perceived a great many persons clothed in white.

This dreadful spectacle completely annihilated the courage of Sancho, whose teeth began to chatter, as if seized with a quartan ague; and his trembling and chattering increased as more of it appeared in view; for now they discovered about twenty persons in white robes, all on horseback, with lighted torches in their hands; behind them came a litter covered with black, which was followed by six persons in deep mourning; the mules on which they were mounted being covered likewise with black down to their heels; for that they were mules, and not horses, was evident by the slowness of their pace. Those robed in white were muttering to themselves in a low and plaintive tone.

This strange vision, at such an hour, and in a place so uninhabited might well strike terror into Sancho's heart, and even into that of his master; and so it would have done had he been any other than Don Quixote. As for Sancho, his whole stock of courage was now exhausted. But it was otherwise with his master, whose lively imagination instantly suggested to him that this must be truly a chivalrous adventure. He conceived that the litter was a bier, whereon was carried some knight sorely wounded, or slain, whose revenge was reserved for him alone; he, therefore, without delay couched his spear, seated himself firm in his saddle, and with grace and spirit advanced into the middle of the road by which the procession must pass; and, when they were near, he raised his voice and said: "Ho, knights, whoever ye are, halt, and give me an account to whom ye belong; whence ye come, whither ye are going, and what it is ye carry upon that bier; for in all appearance either ye have done some injury to others, or others to you: and it is expedient and necessary that I be informed of it, either to chastise ye for the evil ye have done, or to revenge ye of wrongs sustained."

"We are in haste," answered one in the procession; "the inn is a great way off, and we cannot stay to give so long an account as you require." Then, spurring his mule, he passed forward.

Don Quixote, highly resenting this answer, laid hold of his bridle and said: "Stand, and with more civility give me the account I demand; otherwise I challenge ye all to battle."

The mule was timid, and started so much upon his touching the bridle, that, rising on her hind legs, she threw her rider over the crupper to the ground. A lacquey that came on foot, seeing the man in white fall, began to revile Don Quixote, whose choler being now raised, he couched his spear, and immediately attacking one of the mourners, laid him on the ground grievously wounded; then turning about to the rest, it was worth seeing with what agility he attacked and defeated them; and it seemed as if wings at that instant had sprung on Rozinante—so lightly and swiftly he moved! All the white-robed people, being timorous and unarmed, soon quitted the skirmish and ran over the plain with their lighted torches, looking like so many masqueraders on a carnival or festival night. The mourners were so wrapped up and muffled in their long robes that they could make no exertion; so that Don Quixote, with entire safety, assailed them all, and, sorely against their will, obliged them to quit the field; for they thought him no man, but the devil from hell broke loose upon them to seize the dead body they were conveying in the litter.

All this Sancho beheld with admiration at his master's intrepidity, and said to himself: "This master of mine is certainly as valiant and magnanimous as he pretends to be."

A burning torch lay upon the ground near the first whom the mule had overthrown, by the light of which Don Quixote espied him, and going up to him, placed the point of his spear to his throat, commanding him to surrender, on pain of death. To which the fallen man answered: "I am surrendered enough already, since I cannot stir, for one of my legs is broken. I beseech you, sir, if you are a Christian gentleman, do not kill me: you would commit a great sacrilege, for I am a licentiate and have taken the lesser orders."

"Who the devil, then," said Don Quixote, "brought you hither, being an ecclesiastic?"

"Who, sir?" replied the fallen man; "my evil fortune."

"A worse fate now threatens you," said Don Quixote, "unless you reply satisfactorily to all my first questions."

"Your worship shall soon be satisfied," answered the licentiate; "and therefore you must know, sir, that though I told you before I was a licentiate, I am in fact only a bachelor of arts, and my name is Alonzo Lopez. I am a native of Alcovendas, and came from the city of Baeza with eleven more ecclesiastics, the same who fled with the torches. We were attending the corpse in that litter to the city of Segovia. It is that of a gentleman who died in Baeza, where he was deposited till now, that, as I said before, we are carrying his bones to their place of burial in Segovia, where he was born."

"And who killed him?" demanded Don Quixote.

"God," replied the bachelor, "by means of a pestilential fever."

"Then," said Don Quixote, "our Lord hath saved me the labor of revenging his death, in case he had been slain by any other hand. But, since he fell by the hand of Heaven, there is nothing expected from us but patience and a silent shrug; for just the same must I have done had it been His pleasure to pronounce the fatal sentence upon me. It is proper that your reverence should know that I am a knight of La Mancha, Don Quixote by name, and that it is my office and profession to go over the world righting wrongs and redressing grievances."

He that seeketh danger perisheth therein.

Fear hath many eyes.

Evil to him that evil seeks.

Everybody has not discretion to take things by the right handle.

He loves thee well who makes thee weep.


About this time it began to rain a little, and Sancho proposed entering the fulling-mill; but Don Quixote had conceived such an abhorrence of them for the late jest, that he would by no means go in: turning, therefore, to the right hand, they struck into another road, like that they had travelled through the day before. Soon after, Don Quixote discovered a man on horseback, who had on his head something which glittered as if it had been of gold; and scarcely had he seen it when, turning to Sancho, he said, "I am of opinion, Sancho, there is no proverb but what is true, because they are all sentences drawn from experience itself, the mother of all the sciences; especially that which says, 'Where one door is shut another is opened.' I say this because, if fortune last night shut the door against what we sought, deceiving us with the fulling-mills, it now opens wide another, for a better and more certain adventure; in which, if I am deceived, the fault will be mine, without imputing it to my ignorance of fulling-mills, or to the darkness of night. This I say because, if I mistake not, there comes one towards us who carries on his head Mambrino's helmet, concerning which thou mayest remember I swore the oath."

"Take care, sir, what you say, and more what you do," said Sancho; "for I would not wish for other fulling-mills, to finish the milling and mashing our senses."

"The devil take thee!" replied Don Quixote: "what has a helmet to do with fulling-mills?"

"I know not," answered Sancho; "but in faith, if I might talk as much as I used to do, perhaps I could give such reasons that your worship would see you are mistaken in what you say."

"How can I be mistaken in what I say, scrupulous traitor?" said Don Quixote. "Tell me, seest thou not yon knight coming towards us on a dapple-gray steed, with a helmet of gold on his head?"

"What I see and perceive," answered Sancho, "is only a man on a gray ass like mine, with something on his head that glitters."

"Why, that is Mambrino's helmet," said Don Quixote; "retire, and leave me alone to deal with him, and thou shalt see how, in order to save time, I shall conclude this adventure without speaking a word, and the helmet I have so much desired remain my own."

"I shall take care to get out of the way," replied Sancho; "but Heaven grant, I say again, it may not prove another fulling-mill adventure."

"I have already told thee, Sancho, not to mention those fulling-mills, nor even think of them," said Don Quixote: "if thou dost—I say no more, but I vow to mill thy soul for thee!" Sancho held his peace, fearing lest his master should perform his vow, which had struck him all of a heap.

Now the truth of the matter, concerning the helmet, the steed, and the knight which Don Quixote saw, was this. There were two villages in that neighborhood, one of them so small that it had neither shop nor barber, but the other adjoining to it had both; therefore the barber of the larger served also the less, wherein one customer now wanted to be let blood and another to be shaved; to perform which, the barber was now on his way, carrying with him his brass basin; and it so happened that while upon the road it began to rain, and to save his hat, which was a new one, he clapped the basin on his head, which being lately scoured was seen glittering at the distance of half a league; and he rode on a gray ass, as Sancho had affirmed. Thus Don Quixote took the barber for a knight, his ass for a dapple-gray steed, and his basin for a golden helmet; for whatever he saw was quickly adapted to his knightly extravagances: and when the poor knight drew near, without staying to reason the case with him, he advanced at Rozinante's best speed, and couched his lance, intending to run him through and through; but, when close upon him, without checking the fury of his career, he cried out, "Defend thyself, caitiff! or instantly surrender what is justly my due."

The barber, so unexpectedly seeing this phantom advancing upon him, had no other way to avoid the thrust of the lance than to slip down from the ass; and no sooner had he touched the ground than, leaping up nimbler than a roebuck, he scampered over the plain with such speed that the wind could not overtake him. The basin he left on the ground; with which Don Quixote was satisfied, observing that the pagan had acted discreetly, and in imitation of the beaver, which, when closely pursued by the hunters, tears off with his teeth that which it knows by instinct to be the object of pursuit. He ordered Sancho to take up the helmet; who, holding it in his hand, said, "Before Heaven, the basin is a special one, and is well worth a piece of eight, if it is worth a farthing."

He then gave it to his master, who immediately placed it upon his head, turning it round in search of the visor; but not finding it he said, "Doubtless the pagan for whom this famous helmet was originally forged must have had a prodigious head—the worst of it is that one half is wanting."

When Sancho heard the basin called a helmet, he could not forbear laughing; which, however, he instantly checked on recollecting his master's late choler.

"What dost thou laugh at, Sancho?" said Don Quixote.

"I am laughing," answered he, "to think what a huge head the pagan had who owned that helmet, which is for all the world just like a barber's basin."

"Knowest thou, Sancho, what I conceive to be the case? This famous piece, this enchanted helmet, by some strange accident must have fallen into the possession of one who, ignorant of its true value as a helmet and seeing it to be of the purest gold, hath inconsiderately melted down the one-half for lucre's sake, and of the other half made this, which, as thou sayest, doth indeed look like a barber's basin; but to me, who know what it really is, its transformation is of no importance, for I will have it so repaired in the first town where there is a smith, that it shall not be surpassed nor even equalled by that which the god of smiths himself made and forged for the god of battles. In the mean time I will wear it as I best can, for something is better than nothing; and it will be sufficient to defend me from stones."

Be brief in thy discourse, for what is prolix cannot be pleasing.

Never stand begging for that which you have the power to take.

There are two kinds of lineages in the world. Some there are who derive their pedigree from princes and monarchs, whom time has gradually reduced until they have ended in a point, like a pyramid; others have had a low origin, and have risen by degrees, until they have become great lords. So that the difference is, that some have been what they now are not, and others are now what they were not before.

A leap from a hedge is better than the prayer of a bishop.

A snatch from behind a bush is better than the prayer of good men.

Customs come not all together, neither were they all invented at once.

Who sings in grief procures relief.

Let every one turn himself round, and look at home, and he will find enough to do.

To be grateful for benefits received is the duty of honest men—one of the sins that most offendeth God is ingratitude.

Benefits conferred on base-minded people are like drops of water thrown into the sea.

Retreating is not running away, nor is staying wisdom when the danger overbalances the hope; and it is the part of wise men to secure themselves to-day for to-morrow, and not to venture all upon one throw.

The wicked are always ungrateful.

Necessity urges desperate measures.


Know'st thou, O love, the pangs that I sustain, Or, cruel, dost thou view those pangs unmov'd? Or has some hidden cause its influence proved, By all this sad variety of pain?

Love is a god, then surely he must know, And knowing, pity wretchedness like mine; From other hands proceeds the fatal blow— Is then the deed, unpitying Chloe, thine?

Ah, no! a form so exquisitely fair A soul so merciless can ne'er enclose. From Heaven's high will my fate resistless flows, And I, submissive, must its vengeance bear. Nought but a miracle my life can save, And snatch its destined victim from the grave.

The devil is subtle, and lays stumbling-blocks in our way, over which we fall without knowing how.

In all misfortunes the greatest consolation is a sympathizing friend.

Riches are but of little avail against the ills inflicted by the hand of Heaven.

He that buys and denies, his own purse belies.

Till you hedge in the sky, the starlings will fly.

If a painter would be famous in his art, he must endeavor to copy after the originals of the most excellent masters; the same rule is also applicable to all the other arts and sciences which adorn the commonwealth; thus, whoever aspires to a reputation for prudence and patience, must imitate Ulysses, in whose person and toils Homer draws a lively picture of those qualities; so also Virgil, in the character of AEneas, delineates filial piety, courage, and martial skill, being representations of not what they really were, but of what they ought to be, in order to serve as models of virtue to succeeding generations.

The absent feel and fear every ill.

"I have heard say," quoth Sancho, "'from hell there is no retention.'"

"I know not," said Don Quixote, "what retention means."

"Retention," answered Sancho, "means that he who is once in hell never does, nor ever can, get out again. I must strip off all my armor, and remain as naked as I was born, if I should determine upon imitating Orlando, in my penance, instead of Amadis."

While they were thus discoursing, they arrived at the foot of a high mountain, which stood separated from several others that surrounded it, as if it had been hewn out from them. Near its base ran a gentle stream, that watered a verdant and luxuriant vale, adorned with many wide-spreading trees, plants, and wild flowers of various hues. This was the spot in which the knight of the sorrowful figure chose to perform his penance; and, while contemplating the scene, he thus broke forth in a loud voice:—

"This is the place, O ye heavens! which I select and appoint for bewailing the misfortune in which ye have involved me. This is the spot where my flowing tears shall increase the waters of this crystal stream, and my sighs, continual and deep, shall incessantly move the foliage of these lofty trees, in testimony and token of the pain my persecuted heart endures. O ye rural deities, whoever ye be, that inhabit these remote deserts, give ear to the complaints of an unhappy lover, whom long absence and some pangs of jealousy have driven to bewail himself among these rugged heights, and to complain of the cruelty of that ungrateful fair, the utmost extent and ultimate perfection of all human beauty! O ye wood-nymphs and dryads, who are accustomed to inhabit the dark recesses of the mountain groves (so may the nimble and lascivious satyrs, by whom ye are wooed in vain, never disturb your sweet repose), assist me to lament my hard fate, or at least be not weary of hearing my groans! O my Dulcinea del Toboso, light of my darkness, glory of my pain, the north-star of my travels, and overruling planet of my fortune (so may Heaven listen to all thy petitions), consider, I beseech thee, to what a condition thy absence hath reduced me, and reward me as my fidelity deserves! O ye solitary trees, who henceforth are to be the companions of my retirement, wave gently your branches, to indicate that my presence does not offend you! And, O thou my squire, agreeable companion in my prosperous and adverse fortunes, carefully imprint on thy memory what thou shalt see me here perform, that thou mayest recount and recite it to her who is the sole cause of all!"

"There is no reason why you should threaten me," quoth Sancho, "for I am not a man to rob or murder anybody. Let every man's fate kill him, or God who made him. My master is doing a certain penance much to his liking in the midst of yon mountains."

Don Quixote took out the pocket-book, and, stepping aside, began with much composure to write the letter; and having finished, he called Sancho and said he would read it to him that he might have it by heart, lest he might perchance lose it by the way, for everything was to be feared from his evil destiny. To which Sancho answered: "Write it, sir, two or three times in the book, and give it me, and I will take good care of it; but to suppose that I can carry it in my memory is a folly, for mine is so bad that I often forget my own name. Your worship, however, may read it to me. I shall be glad to hear it, for it must needs be very much to the purpose."

"Listen, then," said Don Quixote, "this is what I have written ":—


HIGH AND SOVEREIGN LADY:—He who is stabbed by the point of absence, and pierced by the arrows of love, O sweetest Dulcinea del Toboso, greets thee with wishes for that health which he enjoys not himself. If thy beauty despise me, if thy worth favor me not, and if thy disdain still pursue me, although inured to suffering, I shall ill support an affliction which is not only severe but lasting. My good squire Sancho will tell thee, O ungrateful fair and most beloved foe, to what a state I am reduced on thy account. If it be thy pleasure to relieve me, I am thine; if not, do what seemeth good to thee,—for by my death I shall at once appease thy cruelty and my own passion.


One should not talk of halters in the house of the hanged.


Ye lofty trees, with spreading arms, The pride and shelter of the plain; Ye humble shrubs and flowery charms, Which here in springing glory reign! If my complaints may pity move, Hear the sad story of my love! While with me here you pass your hours, Should you grow faded with my cares, I'll bribe you with refreshing showers; You shall be watered with my tears. Distant, though present in idea, I mourn my absent Dulcinea Del Toboso.

Love's truest slave, despairing, chose This lonely wild, this desert plain, This silent witness of the woes Which he, though guiltless, must sustain. Unknowing why these pains he bears, He groans, he raves, and he despairs. With lingering fires Love racks my soul: In vain I grieve, in vain lament; Like tortured fiends I weep, I howl, And burn, yet never can repent. Distant, though present in idea, I mourn my absent Dulcinea Del Toboso.

While I through Honor's thorny ways, In search of distant glory rove, Malignant fate my toil repays With endless woes and hopeless love. Thus I on barren rocks despair, And curse my stars, yet bless my fair. Love, armed with snakes, has left his dart, And now does like a fury rave; And scourge and sting on every part, And into madness lash his slave. Distant, though present in idea, I mourn my absent Dulcinea Del Toboso.

When the stars are adverse, what is human power?

Who is there in the world that can boast of having fathomed and thoroughly penetrated the intricate and ever-changing nature of a woman?

What causes all my grief and pain? Cruel disdain. What aggravates my misery? Accursed jealousy. How has my soul its patience lost? By tedious absence crossed. Alas! no balsam can be found To heal the grief of such a wound. When absence, jealousy, and scorn Have left me hopeless and forlorn.

What in my breast this grief could move? Neglected love. What doth my fond desires withstand? Fate's cruel hand. And what confirms my misery? Heaven's fixed decree. Ah me! my boding fears portend, This strange disease my life will end: For die I must, when three such foes, Heaven, fate, and love, my bliss oppose.

My peace of mind, what can restore? Death's welcome hour. What gains love's joys most readily? Fickle inconstancy. Its pains what medicine can assuage? Wild frenzy's rage. 'Tis therefore little wisdom, sure, For such a grief to seek a cure, That knows no better remedy Than frenzy, death, inconstancy.

The hour, the season, the solitude, the voice, and the skill of the singer, all conspired to impress the auditors with wonder and delight, and they remained for some time motionless, in expectation of hearing more; but, finding the silence continue, they resolved to see who it was who had sung so agreeably, and were again detained by the same voice regaling their ears with this sonnet:—

Friendship, thou hast with nimble flight Exulting gained the empyreal height, In heaven to dwell, while here below Thy semblance reigns in mimic show; From thence to earth, at thy behest, Descends fair peace, celestial guest! Beneath whose veil of shining hue Deceit oft lurks, concealed from view.

Leave, friendship! leave thy heavenly seat, Or strip thy livery off the cheat. If still he wears thy borrowed smiles, And still unwary truth beguiles, Soon must this dark terrestrial ball Into its first confusion fall.

What is sudden death to a protracted life of anguish?

"O heavens! have I then at last found a place which may afford a secret grave for this wretched body? Yes, if the silence of this rocky desert deceive me not, here I may die in peace. Ah, woe is me! Here at least I may freely pour forth my lamentations to Heaven, and shall be less wretched than among men, from whom I should in vain seek counsel, redress, or consolation."

One evil produces another, and misfortunes never come singly.

O memory, thou mortal enemy of my repose! wherefore now recall to me the incomparable beauty of that adored enemy of mine! Were it not better, thou cruel faculty! to represent to my imagination her conduct at that period—that moved by so flagrant an injury, I may strive if not to avenge it, at least to end this life of pain?

For no grievance can harass or drive the afflicted to such extremity, while life remains, as to make them shut their ears against that counsel which is given with the most humane and benevolent intention.

Music lulls the disordered thoughts, and elevates the dejected spirits.

All women, let them be never so homely, are pleased to hear themselves celebrated for beauty.

The eyes of love or of idleness are like those of a lynx.

One mischance invites another, and the end of one misfortune is often the beginning of a worse.

Among friends we ought not to stand upon trifles.

No man can command the first emotions of his passions.

Every new fault deserves a new penance.

Where is the wonder one devil should be like another?

Gifts are good after Easter.

A sparrow in the hand is worth more than a bustard on the wing.

He that will not when he may, when he would he shall have nay.

Men may prove and use their friends, and not presume upon their friendship in things contrary to the decrees of Heaven.

A man dishonored is worse than dead.

"I have heard it preached," quoth Sancho, "that God is to be loved with this kind of love, for Himself alone, without our being moved to it by hope of reward or fear of punishment; though, for my part, I am inclined to love and serve Him for what He is able to do for me."

"The devil take thee for a bumpkin," said Don Quixote; "thou sayest ever and anon such apt things that one would almost think thee a scholar."

"And yet, by my faith," quoth Sancho, "I cannot so much as read."

Squires and knight-errants are subject to much hunger and ill-luck.

A man on whom Heaven has bestowed a beautiful wife should be as cautious respecting the friends he introduces at home as to her female acquaintance abroad.

If from equal parts we take equal parts, those that remain are equal.

To attempt voluntarily that which must be productive of evil rather than good, is madness and folly. Difficult works are undertaken for the sake of Heaven, or of the world, or both: the first are such as are performed by the saints while they endeavor to live the life of angels in their human frames; such as are performed for love of the world are encountered by those who navigate the boundless ocean, traverse different countries and various climates to acquire what are called the goods of fortune. Those who assail hazardous enterprises for the sake of both God and man are brave soldiers, who no sooner perceive in the enemy's wall a breach made by a single cannon-ball, than, regardless of danger and full of zeal in the defence of their faith, their country, and their king, they rush where death in a thousand shapes awaits them. These are difficulties commonly attempted, and, though perilous, are glorious and profitable.


Shame, grief, remorse, in Peter's breast increase, Soon as the blushing morn his crime betrays; When most unseen, then most himself he sees, And with due horror all his soul surveys. For a great spirit needs no censuring eyes To wound his soul, when conscious of a fault; But, self-condemn'd, and e'en self-punished, lies, And dreads no witness like upbraiding Thought.

Expect not, therefore, by concealment, to banish sorrow; for, even though you weep not openly, tears of blood will flow from your heart. So wept that simple doctor, who, according to the poet, would venture to make a trial of the cup which the more prudent Rinaldo wisely declined doing; and although this be a poetical fiction, there is a concealed moral in it worthy to be observed and followed.

There is no jewel in the world so valuable as a chaste and virtuous woman. The honor of women consists in the good opinion of the world; and since that of your wife is eminently good, why would you have it questioned? Woman, my friend, is an imperfect creature; and, instead of laying stumbling-blocks in her way, we should clear the path before her, that she may readily attain that virtue which is essential in her. Naturalists inform us that the ermine is a little creature with extremely white fur, and that when the hunters are in pursuit of it, they spread with mire all the passes leading to its haunts, to which they then drive it, knowing that it will submit to be taken rather than defile itself. The virtuous and modest woman is an ermine, and her character whiter than snow; and in order to preserve it, a very different method must be taken from that which is used with the ermine.

The reputation of a woman may also be compared to a mirror of crystal, shining and bright, but liable to be sullied by every breath that comes near it. The virtuous woman must be treated like a relic—adored but not handled; she should be guarded and prized, like a fine flower-garden, the beauty and fragrance of which the owner allows others to enjoy only at a distance, and through iron rails.

The devil, when he would entrap a cautious person, assumes an angel form till he carries his point, when the cloven foot appears.

He who builds on impossibilities should be denied the privilege of any other foundation.

Hope is ever born with love.

Castles should not be left without governors, nor armies without generals.

The passion of love is to be conquered by flight alone; it is vain to contend with a power which, though human, requires more than human strength to subdue.


In the dead silence of the peaceful night, When others' cares are hushed in soft repose, The sad account of my neglected woes To conscious Heaven and Chloris I recite. And when the sun, with his returning light, Forth from the east his radiant journey goes, With accents such as sorrow only knows, My griefs to tell is all my poor delight. And when bright Phoebus from his starry throne Sends rays direct upon the parched soil, Still in the mournful tale I persevere; Returning night renews my sorrow's toil; And though from morn to night I weep and moan, Nor Heaven nor Chloris my complainings hear.

Are we to take all that enamored poets sing for truth?


Believe me, nymph, I feel th' impending blow, And glory in the near approach of death; For when thou see'st my corse devoid of breath, My constancy and truth thou sure wilt know, Welcome to me Oblivion's shade obscure! Welcome the loss of fortune, life, and fame! But thy loved features, and thy honored name, Deep graven on my heart, shall still endure. And these, as sacred relics, will I keep Till that sad moment when to endless night My long-tormented soul shall take her flight Alas for him who on the darkened deep Floats idly, sport of the tempestuous tide, No port to shield him, and no star to guide!

He who gives freely gives twice.

That which is lightly gained is little valued.

For love sometimes flies and sometimes walks—runs with one person, and goes leisurely with another: some he warms, and some he burns; some he wounds, and others he kills: in one and the same instant he forms and accomplishes his projects. He often in the morning lays siege to a fortress which in the evening surrenders to him—for no force is able to resist him.

Heaven always favors the honest purpose.

Rank is not essential in a wife.

True nobility consists in virtue.

It is no derogation to rank to elevate beauty adorned with virtue.

Time will discover.

"Certainly, gentlemen, if we rightly consider it, those who make knight-errantry their profession often meet with surprising and most stupendous adventures. For what mortal in the world, at this time entering within this castle, and seeing us sit together as we do, will imagine and believe us to be the same persons which in reality we are? Who is there that can judge that this lady by my side is the great queen we all know her to be, and that I am that Knight of the Sorrowful Figure so universally made known by fame? It is, then, no longer to be doubted but that this exercise and profession surpasses all others that have been invented by man, and is so much the more honorable as it is more exposed to dangers. Let none presume to tell me that the pen is preferable to the sword. This may be ascertained by regarding the end and object each of them aims at; for that intention is to be most valued which makes the noblest end its object. The scope and end of learning, I mean human learning (in this place I speak not of divinity, whose aim is to guide souls to Heaven, for no other can equal a design so infinite as that), is to give a perfection to distribute justice, bestowing upon every one his due, and to procure and cause good laws to be observed; an end really generous, great, and worthy of high commendation, but yet not equal to that which knight-errantry tends to, whose object and end is peace, which is the greatest blessing man can wish for in this life. And, therefore, the first good news that the world received was that which the angels brought in the night—the beginning of our day—when they sang in the air, 'Glory to God on high, peace on earth, and to men good-will.' And the only manner of salutation taught by our great Master to His friends and favorites was, that entering any house they should say, 'Peace be to this house.' And at other times He said to them, 'My peace I give to you,' 'My peace I leave to you,' 'Peace be among you.' A jewel and legacy worthy of such a donor, a jewel so precious that without it there can be no happiness either in earth or heaven. This peace is the true end of war; for arms and war are one and the same thing. Allowing, then, this truth, that the end of war is peace, and that in this it excels the end of learning, let us now weigh the bodily labors the scholar undergoes against those the warrior suffers, and then see which are the greatest.

"These, then, I say, are the sufferings and hardships a scholar endures. First, poverty (not that they are all poor, but to urge the worst that may be in this case); and having said he endures poverty, methinks nothing more need be urged to express his misery; for he that is poor enjoys no happiness, but labors under this poverty in all its parts, at one time in hunger, at another in cold, another in nakedness, and sometimes in all of them together; yet his poverty is not so great, but still he eats, though it be later than the usual hour, and of the scraps of the rich; neither can the scholar miss of somebody's stove or fireside to sit by; where, though he be not thoroughly heated, yet he may gather warmth, and at last sleep away the night under a roof. I will not touch upon other less material circumstances, as the want of linen, and scarcity of shoes, thinness and baldness of their clothes, and their surfeiting when good fortune throws a feast in their way; this is the difficult and uncouth path they tread, often stumbling and falling, yet rising again and pushing on, till they attain the preferment they aim at; whither being arrived, we have seen many of them, who, having been carried by a fortunate gale through all these quick-sands, from a chair govern the world; their hunger being changed into satiety, their cold into comfortable warmth, their nakedness into magnificence of apparel, and the mats they used to lie upon, into stately beds of costly silks and softest linen, a reward due to their virtue. But yet their sufferings, being compared to those the soldier endures, appear much inferior, as I shall in the next place make out."

Don Quixote, after a short pause, continued his discourse thus:—"Since, in speaking of the scholar, we began with his poverty and its several branches, let us see whether the soldier be richer. We shall find that poverty itself is not more poor: for he depends on his wretched pay, which comes late, and sometimes never; or upon what he can pillage, at the imminent risk of his life and conscience. Such often is his nakedness that his slashed buff-doublet serves him both for finery and shirt; and in the midst of winter, on the open plain, he has nothing to warm him but the breath of his mouth, which, issuing from an empty place, must needs be cold. But let us wait, and see whether night will make amends for these inconveniences: if his bed be too narrow it is his own fault, for he may measure out as many feet of earth as he pleases, and roll himself thereon at pleasure without fear of rumpling the sheets. Suppose the moment arrived of taking his degree—I mean, suppose-the day of battle come: his doctoral cap may then be of lint, to cover some gun-shot wound, which perhaps has gone through his temples, or deprived him of an arm or leg.

"And even suppose that Heaven in its mercy should preserve him alive and unhurt, he will probably remain as poor as ever; for he must be engaged and victorious in many battles before he can expect high promotion; and such good fortune happens only by a miracle: for you will allow, gentlemen, that few are the number of those that have reaped the reward of their services, compared with those who have perished in war. The dead are countless; whereas those who survived to be rewarded may be numbered with three figures. Not so with scholars, who by their salaries (I will not say their perquisites) are generally handsomely provided for. Thus the labors of the soldier are greater, although his reward is less. It may be said in answer to this, that it is easier to reward two thousand scholars than thirty thousand soldiers: for scholars are rewarded by employments which must of course be given to men of their profession; whereas the soldier can only be rewarded by the property of the master whom, he serves; and this defence serves to strengthen my argument.

"But, waiving this point, let us consider the comparative claims to pre-eminence: for the partisans of each can bring powerful arguments in support of their own cause. It is said in favor of letters that without them arms could not subsist; for war must have its laws, and laws come within the province of the learned. But it may be alleged in reply, that arms are necessary to the maintenance of law; by arms the public roads are protected, cities guarded, states defended, kingdoms preserved, and the seas cleared of corsairs and pirates. In short, without arms there would be no safety for cities, commonwealths or kingdoms. Besides, it is just to estimate a pursuit in proportion to the cost of its attainment. Now it is true that eminence in learning is purchased by time, watching, hunger, nakedness, vertigo, indigestion, and many other inconveniences already mentioned; but a man who rises gradually to be a good soldier endures all these, and far more. What is the hunger and poverty which menace the man of letters compared with the situation of the soldier, who, besieged in some fortress, and placed as sentinel in some ravelin or cavalier, perceives that the enemy is mining toward the place where he stands, and yet he must on no account stir from his post or shun the imminent danger that threatens him? All that he can do in such a case is to give notice to his officer of what passes, that he may endeavor to counteract it; in the meantime he must stand his ground, in momentary expectation of being mounted to the clouds without wings, and then dashed headlong to the earth. And if this be thought but a trifling danger, let us see whether it be equalled or exceeded by the encounter of two galleys, prow to prow, in the midst of the white sea, locked and grappled together, so that there is no more room left for the soldier than the two-foot plank at the break-head; and though he sees as many threatening ministers of death before him as there are pieces of artillery pointed at him from the opposite side, not the length of a lance from his body; though he knows that the first slip of his foot sends him to the bottom of the sea; yet, with an undaunted heart, inspired by honor, he exposes himself as a mark to all their fire, and endeavors by that narrow pass to force his way into the enemy's vessel! And, what is most worthy of admiration, no sooner is one fallen, never, to rise again in this world, than another takes his place; and if he also fall into the sea, which lies in wait to devour him, another and another succeeds without intermission! In all the extremities of war there is no example of courage and intrepidity to exceed this. Happy those ages which knew not the dreadful fury of artillery!—those instruments of hell (where, I verily believe, the inventor is now receiving the reward of his diabolical ingenuity), by means of which the cowardly and the base can deprive the bravest soldier of life. While a gallant spirit animated with heroic ardor is pressing to glory, comes a chance ball, sent by one who perhaps fled in alarm at the flash of his own accursed weapon, and in an instant cuts short the life of him who deserved to live for ages! When I consider this, I could almost repent having undertaken this profession of knight-errantry in so detestable an age; for though no danger can daunt me, still it gives me some concern to think that powder and lead may suddenly cut short my career of glory. But Heaven's will be done! I have this satisfaction, that I shall acquire the greater fame if I succeed, inasmuch as the perils by which I am beset are greater than those to which the knights-errant of past ages were exposed."

The army is a school in which the miser becomes generous, and the generous prodigal.

A covetous soldier is a monster which is rarely seen.

Liberality may be carried too far in those who have children to inherit from them.

How seldom promises made in slavery are remembered after a release from bondage.

Good fortune seldom comes pure and single, unattended by some troublesome or unexpected circumstance.

Though we love the treason we abhor the traitor.

What transport in life can equal that which a man feels on the restoration of his liberty?

"The church, the court, or the sea;" as if it more fully expressed the following advice,—He that would make his fortune, ought either to dedicate his time to the church, go to sea as a merchant, or attach himself to the court: for it is commonly observed, that "the king's crumb is worth the baron's batch."[5]


O happy souls, by death at length set free From the dark prison of mortality, By glorious deeds, whose memory never dies— From earth's dim spot exalted to the skies! What fury stood in every eye confessed! What generous ardor fired each manly breast, While slaughtered heaps distained the sandy shore, And the tinged ocean blushed with hostile gore! O'erpowered by numbers, gloriously ye fell: Death only could such matchless courage quell; Whilst dying thus ye triumphed o'er your foes— Its fame the world, its glory heaven, bestows!


From 'midst these walls, whose ruins spread around, And scattered clods that heap the ensanguined ground, Three thousand souls of warriors, dead in fight, To better regions took their happy flight. Long with unconquered souls they bravely stood, And fearless shed their unavailing blood: Till, to superior force compelled to yield, Their lives they quitted in the well-fought field. This fatal soil has ever been the tomb Of slaughtered heroes, buried in its womb: Yet braver bodies did it ne'er sustain, Nor send more glorious soul the skies to gain.


Tossed in a sea of doubts and fears, Love's hapless mariner, I sail, Where no inviting port appears, To screen me from the stormy gale.


At distance viewed, a cheering star Conducts me through the swelling tide; A brighter luminary, far, Than Palinurus o'er descried.


My soul, attracted by its blaze, Still follows where it points the way, And while attentively I gaze, Considers not how far I stray.


But female pride, reserved and shy, Like clouds that deepen on the day, Oft shroud it from my longing eye, When most I need the genial ray.


O lovely star, so pure and bright! Whose splendor feeds my vital fire, The moment thou deny'st thy light, Thy lost adorer will expire!


Unconquered hope, thou bane of fear, And last deserter of the brave, Thou soothing ease of mortal care, Thou traveller beyond the grave; Thou soul of patience, airy food, Bold warrant of a distant good, Reviving cordial, kind decoy; Though fortune frowns and friends depart, Though Silvia flies me, flattering joy, Nor thou, nor love, shall leave my doting heart.

No slave, to lazy ease resigned, E'er triumphed over noble foes; The monarch fortune most is kind To him who bravely dares oppose. They say, Love rates his blessing high, But who would prize an easy joy? My scornful fair then I'll pursue, Though the coy beauty still denies; I grovel now on earth, 'tis true, But, raised by her, the humble slave may rise.

Might overcomes.

Him to whom God giveth may St. Peter bless.

Diligence is the mother of success, and in many important causes experience hath shown that the assiduity of the solicitor hath brought a very doubtful suit to a very fortunate issue; but the truth of this maxim is nowhere more evinced than in war, where activity and despatch anticipate the designs of the enemy, and obtain the victory before he has time to put himself in a posture of defence.

The common adage that delays are dangerous acts as spurs upon the resolution.

There are more tricks in the town than are dreamt of.

Virtue is always more persecuted by the wicked than beloved by the righteous.

Virtue is so powerful that of herself she will, in spite of all the necromancy possessed by the first inventor, Zoroaster, come off conqueror in every severe trial, and shine refulgent in the world, as the sun shines in the heavens.

Fables should not be composed to outrage the understanding; but by making the wonderful appear possible, and creating in the mind a pleasing interest, they may both surprise and entertain; which cannot be effected where no regard is paid to probability. I have never yet found a regular, well-connected fable in any of our books of chivalry—they are all inconsistent and monstrous; the style is generally bad; and they abound with incredible exploits, lascivious amours, absurd sentiment, and miraculous adventures; in short, they should be banished every Christian country.

Just are virtue's fears where envy domineers.

Bounty will not stay where niggards bear the sway.

Fortune turns faster than a mill-wheel, and those who were yesterday at top, may find themselves at bottom to-day.

Every one is the son of his own works.

The mind receives pleasure from the beauty and consistency of what is presented to the imagination, not from that which is incongruous and unnatural.

Fiction is always the better the nearer it resembles truth, and agreeable in proportion to the probability it bears and the doubtful credit which it inspires. Wherefore, all such fables ought to be suited to the understanding of those who read them, and written so as that, by softening impossibilities, smoothing what is rough, and keeping the mind in suspense, they may surprise, agreeably perplex, and entertain, creating equal admiration and delight; and these never can be excited by authors who forsake probability and imitation, in which the perfection of writing consists.

Epics may be written in prose as well as verse.

To assert that there never was an Amadis in the world, nor any other of the knights-adventurers of whom so many records remain, is to say that the sun does not enlighten, the frost produce cold, nor the earth yield sustenance.

The approbation of the judicious few should far outweigh the censure of the ignorant.

An author had better be applauded by the few that are wise, than laughed at by the many that are foolish.

Our modern plays, not only those which are formed upon fiction, but likewise such as are founded on the truth of history, are all, or the greatest part, universally known to be monstrous productions, without either head or tail, and yet received with pleasure by the multitude, who approve and esteem them as excellent performances, though they are far from deserving that title; and if the authors who compose, and the actors who represent them, affirm that this and no other method is to be practised, because the multitude must be pleased; that those which bear the marks of contrivance, and produce a fable digested according to the rules of art, serve only for entertainment to four or five people of taste, who discern the beauties of the plan, which utterly escape the rest of the audience; and that it is better for them to gain a comfortable livelihood by the many, than starve upon reputation with the few; at this rate, said I, if I should finish my book, after having scorched every hair in my whiskers in poring over it, to preserve those rules and precepts already mentioned, I might fare at last like the sagacious botcher, who sewed for nothing and found his customers in thread.

It is not a sufficient excuse to say that the object in permitting theatrical exhibitions being chiefly to provide innocent recreation for the people, it is unnecessary to limit and restrain the dramatic author within strict rules of composition; for I affirm that the same object is, beyond all comparison, more effectually attained by legitimate works. The spectator of a good drama is amused, admonished, and improved by what is diverting, affecting, and moral in the representation; he is cautioned against deceit, corrected by example, incensed against vice, stimulated to the love of virtue.

Comedy, according to Tully, ought to be the mirror of life, the exemplar of manners, and picture of truth; whereas those that are represented in this age are mirrors of absurdity, exemplars of folly, and pictures of lewdness; for sure, nothing can be more absurd in a dramatic performance, than to see the person, who, in the first scene of the first act, was produced a child in swaddling-clothes, appear a full-grown man with a beard in the second; or to represent an old man active and valiant, a young soldier cowardly, a footman eloquent, a page a counsellor, a king a porter, and a princess a scullion. Then what shall we say concerning their management of the time and place in which the actions have, or may be supposed to have happened? I have seen a comedy, the first act of which was laid in Europe, the second in Asia, and the third was finished in Africa; nay, had there been a fourth, the scene would have shifted to America, so that the fable would have travelled through all the four divisions of the globe. If imitation be the chief aim of comedy, how can any ordinary understanding be satisfied with seeing an action that passed in the time of King Pepin and Charlemagne, ascribed to the Emperor Heraclius, who, being the principal personage, is represented, like Godfrey of Boulogne, carrying the cross into Jerusalem, and making himself master of the holy sepulchre, an infinite number of years having passed between the one and the other? Or, when a comedy is founded upon fiction, to see scraps of real history introduced, and facts misrepresented both with regard to persons and times, not with any ingenuity of contrivance, but with the most manifest and inexcusable errors and stupidity; and what is worst of all, there is a set of ignorant pretenders who call this the perfection of writing, and that every attempt to succeed by a contrary method is no other than a wild-goose chase.

The bow cannot remain always bent; and relaxation, both of body and mind, is indispensable to all.

Can you deny what is in everybody's mouth, when a person is in the dumps? It is always then said, "I know not what such a one ails—he neither eats, nor drinks, nor sleeps, nor answers to the purpose, like other men—surely he is enchanted." Wherefore, it is clear that such, and such only, are enchanted who neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep, and not they who eat and drink when they can get it, and answer properly to all that is asked them.

The poor man is unable to exercise the virtue of liberality; and the gratitude which consists only in inclination is a dead thing, even as faith without works is dead. I shall, therefore, rejoice when fortune presents me with an opportunity of exalting myself, that I may show my heart in conferring benefits on my friends, especially on poor Sancho Panza here, my squire, who is one of the best men in the world; and I would fain bestow on him an earldom, as I have long since promised; although I am somewhat in doubt of his ability in the government of his estate.

Sancho, overhearing his master's last words, said: "Take you the trouble, Signor Don Quixote, to procure me that same earldom, which your worship has so often promised, and I have been so long waiting for, and you shall see that I shall not want ability to govern it. But even if I should, there are people, I have heard say, who farm these lordships; and paying the owners so much a year, take upon themselves the government of the whole, while his lordship lolls at his ease, enjoying his estate, without concerning himself any further about it. Just so will I do, and give myself no more trouble than needs mast, but enjoy myself like any duke, and let the world rub."

"This, brother Sancho," said the canon, "may be done, as far as regards the management of your revenue; but the administration of justice must be attended to by the lord himself, and requires capacity, judgment, and, above all, an upright intention, without which nothing prospers; for Heaven assists the good intent of the simple, and disappoints the evil designs of the cunning."

"I do not understand these philosophies," answered Sancho; "all that I know is, that I wish I may as surely have the earldom as I should know how to govern it; for I have as large a soul as another, and as large a body as the best of them; and I should be as much king of my own dominion as any other king; would do what I pleased; and, doing what I pleased, I should have my will; and having my will, I should be contented; and, being content, there is no more to be desired; and when there is no more to desire, there is an end of it."

"These are no bad philosophies, as you say, Sancho," quoth the canon; "nevertheless, there is a great deal more to be said upon the subject of earldoms."

"That may be," observed Don Quixote; "but I am guided by the numerous examples offered on this subject by knights of my own profession; who, in compensation for the loyal and signal services they had received from their squires, conferred upon them extraordinary favors, making them absolute lords of cities and islands: indeed, there was one whose services were so great that he had the presumption to accept of a kingdom. But why should I say more, when before me is the bright example of the great Amadis de Gaul, who made his squire knight of the Firm Island? Surely I may, therefore, without scruple of conscience, make an earl of Sancho Panza, who is one of the best squires that ever served knight-errant."

The mountains breed learned men, and the cottages of shepherds contain philosophers.

Upon the news of Don Quixote's arrival, Sancho Panza's wife repaired thither, and on meeting him, her first inquiry was whether the ass had come home well.

Sancho told her that he was in a better condition than his master.

"The Lord be praised," replied she, "for so great a mercy to me! But tell me, husband, what good have you got by your squireship? Have you brought a petticoat home for me, and shoes for your children?"

"I have brought you nothing of that sort, dear wife," quoth Sancho; "but I have got other things of greater consequence."

"I am very glad of that," answered the wife, "pray show me your things of greater consequence, friend; for I would fain see them, to gladden my heart, which has been so sad, all the long time you have been away."

"You shall see them at home, wife," quoth Sancho, "and be satisfied at present; for if it please God that we make another sally in quest of adventures, you will soon see me an earl or governor of an island, and no common one either, but one of the best that is to be had."

"Grant Heaven it may be so, husband," quoth the wife, "for we have need enough of it. But pray tell me what you mean by islands; for I do not understand you."

"Honey is not for the mouth of an ass," answered Sancho: "in good time, wife, you shall see, yea, and admire to hear yourself styled ladyship by all your vassals."

"What do you mean, Sancho, by ladyship, islands, and vassals?" answered Teresa Panza; for that was Sancho's wife's name, though they were not of kin, but because it is the custom in La Mancha for the wife to take the husband's name.

"Be not in so much haste, Teresa, to know all this," said Sancho; "let it suffice that I tell you the truth, and sew up your mouth. But for the present know that there is nothing in the world so pleasant to an honest man, as to be squire to a knight-errant, and seeker of adventures. It is true indeed, most of them are not so much to a man's mind as he could wish; for ninety-nine of a hundred one meets with fall out cross and unlucky. This I know by experience; for I have sometimes come off tossed in a blanket, and sometimes well cudgelled. Yet, for all that, it is a fine thing to be in expectation of accidents, traversing mountains, searching woods, marching over rocks, visiting castles, lodging in inns, all at discretion, and the devil a farthing to pay."

Fame has preserved in the memoirs of La Mancha, that Don Quixote, the third time he sallied from home, went to Saragossa, where he was present at a famous tournament in that city, and that there befell him things worthy of his valor and good understanding. Nor would the chronicler have learned any thing concerning his death had he not fortunately become acquainted with an aged physician, who had in his custody a leaden box, found, as he said, under the ruins of an ancient hermitage then rebuilding: in which box was found a manuscript of parchment written in Gothic characters, but in Castilian verse, containing many of his exploits, and giving an account of the beauty of Dulcinea del Toboso, the figure of Rozinante, the fidelity of Sancho Panza, and the burial of Don Quixote himself, with several epitaphs and eulogies on his life and manners. All that could be read, and perfectly made out, were those inserted here by the faithful author of this strange and never-before-seen history; which author desires no other reward from those who shall read it, in recompense of the vast pains it has cost him to inquire into and search all the archives of La Mancha to bring it to light, but that they would afford him the same credit that ingenious people give to books of knight-errantry, which are so well received in the world; and herewith he will reckon himself well paid, and will rest satisfied; and will moreover be encouraged to seek and find out others, if not as true, at least of as much invention and entertainment. The first words, written in the parchment which was found in the leaden box, were these:—


Monicongo, Academician of Argamasilla, on the Sepulture of Don Quixote.


La Mancha's thunderbolt of war, The sharpest wit and loftiest muse, The arm which from Gaeta far To Catai did its force diffuse; He who, through love and valor's fire, Outstripped great Amadis's fame Bid warlike Galaor retire, And silenced Belianis' name: He who, with helmet, sword, and shield, On Rozinante, steed well known, Adventures fought in many a field, Lies underneath this frozen stone.

Paniaguado, Academician of Argamasilla, in praise of Dulcinea Del Toboso.


She whom you see the plump and lusty dame, With high erected chest and vigorous mien, Was erst th' enamored knight Don Quixote's flame, The fair Dulcinea, of Toboso, queen.

For her, armed cap-a-pie with sword and shield, He trod the sable mountain o'er and o'er; For her he traversed Montiel's well-known field, And in her service toils unnumbered bore. Hard fate! that death should crop so fine a flower! And love o'er such a knight exert his tyrant power!

Caprichoso, a most ingenious Academician of Argamasilla, in praise of Don Quixote's Horse Rozinante.


On the aspiring adamantine trunk Of a huge tree, whose root, with slaughter drunk Sends forth a scent of war, La Mancha's knight, Frantic with valor, and returned from fight, His bloody standard trembling in the air, Hangs up his glittering armor beaming far, With that fine-tempered steel whose edge o'erthrows, Hacks, hews, confounds, and routs opposing foes. Unheard-of prowess! and unheard-of verse! But art new strains invents, new glories to rehearse.

If Amadis to Grecia gives renown, Much more her chief does fierce Bellona crown. Prizing La Mancha more than Gaul or Greece, As Quixote triumphs over Amadis. Oblivion ne'er shall shroud his glorious name, Whose very horse stands up to challenge fame! Illustrious Rozinante, wondrous steed! Not with more generous pride or mettled speed, His rider erst Rinaldo's Bayard bore, Or his mad lord, Orlando's Brilladore.

Burlador, the little Academician of Argamasilla, on Sancho Panza.


See Sancho Panza, view him well, And let this verse his praises tell. His body was but small, 'tis true, Yet had a soul as large as two. No guile he knew, like some before him But simple as his mother bore him. This gentle squire on gentle ass Went gentle Rozinante's pace, Following his lord from place to place. To be an earl he did aspire, And reason good for such desire; But worth in these ungrateful times, To envied honor seldom climbs. Vain mortals! give your wishes o'er, And trust the flatterer Hope no more, Whose promises, whate'er they seem, End in a shadow or a dream.

Cachidiablo, Academician of Argamasilla, on the Sepulture of Don Quixote.


Here lies an evil-errant knight, Well bruised in many a fray, Whose courser, Rozinante hight, Long bore him many a way.

Close by his loving master's side Lies booby Sancho Panza, A trusty squire of courage tried, And true as ever man saw.

Tiquitoc, Academician of Argamasilla, on the sepulture of Dulcinea del Toboso.

Dulcinea, fat and fleshy, lies Beneath this frozen stone; But, since to frightful death a prize, Reduced to skin and bone.

Of goodly parentage she came, And had the lady in her; She was the great Don Quixote's flame, But only death could win her.

These were all the verses that could be read: the rest, the characters being worm-eaten, were consigned to one of the Academicians, to find out their meaning by conjectures. We are informed he has done it, after many lucubrations and much pains, and that he designs to publish them, giving us hopes of Don Quixote's third sally.

"Forsi altro cantara con miglior plectro."

The noble mind may be clouded by adversity, but cannot be wholly concealed; for true merit shines by a light of its own, and, glimmering through the rents and crannies of indigence, is perceived, respected, and honored by the generous and the great.


A certain man, being deranged in his intellects, was placed by his relations in the mad-house of Seville. He had taken his degrees in the canon law at Ossuna; but had it been at Salamanca, many are of opinion he would, nevertheless, have been mad. This graduate, after some years' confinement, took into his head that he was quite in his right senses, and therefore wrote to the archbishop, beseeching him, with great earnestness and apparently with much reason, that he would be pleased to deliver him from that miserable state of confinement in which he lived; since, through the mercy of God, he had regained his senses; adding that his relations, in order to enjoy part of his estate, kept him still there, and, in spite of the clearest evidence, would insist upon his being mad as long as he lived.

The archbishop, prevailed upon by the many sensible epistles he received from him, sent one of his chaplains to the keeper of the mad-house to inquire into the truth of what the licentiate had alleged, and also to talk with him, and if it appeared that he was in his senses, to set him at liberty. The chaplain accordingly went to the rector, who assured him that the man was still insane, for though he sometimes talked very sensibly, it was seldom for any length of time without betraying his derangement; as he would certainly find on conversing with him. The chaplain determined to make the trial, and during the conversation of more than an hour, could perceive no symptom of incoherence in his discourse; on the contrary, he spoke with so much sedateness and judgment that the chaplain could not entertain a doubt of the sanity of his intellects. Among other things he assured him that the keeper was bribed by his relations to persist in reporting him to be deranged; so that his large estate was his great misfortune, to enjoy which his enemies had recourse to fraud, and pretended to doubt of the mercy of Heaven in restoring him from the condition of a brute to that of a man. In short, he talked so plausibly that he made the rector appear venal and corrupt, his relations unnatural, and himself so discreet that the chaplain determined to take him immediately to the archbishop, that he might be satisfied he had done right.

With this resolution the good chaplain desired the keeper of the house to restore to him the clothes which he wore when he was first put under his care. The keeper again desired him to beware what he did, since he might be assured that the licentiate was still insane; but the chaplain was not to be moved either by his cautions or entreaties; and as he acted by order of the archbishop, the keeper was compelled to obey him. The licentiate put on his new clothes, and now, finding himself rid of his lunatic attire, and habited like a rational creature, he entreated the chaplain, for charity's sake, to permit him to take leave of his late companions in affliction. Being desirous of seeing the lunatics who were confined in that house, the chaplain, with several other persons, followed him upstairs, and heard him accost a man who lay stretched in his cell outrageously mad; though just then composed and quiet. "Brother," said he to him, "have you any commands for me? for I am going to return to my own house, God having been pleased, of His infinite goodness and mercy, without any desert of mine, to restore me to my senses. I am now sound and well, for with God nothing is impossible; put your whole trust and confidence in Him, and he will doubtless restore you also. I will take care to send you some choice food; and fail not to eat it: for I have reason to believe, from my own experience, that all our distraction proceeds from empty stomachs, and brains filled with wind. Take heart, then, my friend, take heart; for despondence under misfortune impairs our health, and hastens our death."

This discourse was overheard by another madman, who was in an opposite cell; and raising himself up from an old mat, whereon he had thrown himself stark naked, he demanded aloud, who it was that was going away recovered and in his senses.

"It is I, brother," answered the licentiate, "that am going; for I need stay no longer here, and am infinitely thankful to heaven for having bestowed so great a blessing upon me."

"Take heed, licentiate, what you say, let not the devil delude you," replied the madman; "stir not a foot, but keep where you are, and you will spare yourself the trouble of being brought back."

"I know," replied the licentiate, "that I am perfectly well, and shall have no more occasion to visit the station churches."[6]

"You well?" said the madman; "we shall soon see that; farewell! but I swear by Jupiter, whose majesty I represent on earth, that for this offence alone, which Seville is now committing, in carrying you out of this house, and judging you to be in your senses, I am determined to inflict such a signal punishment on this city, that the memory thereof shall endure for ever and ever, Amen. Know you not, little crazed licentiate, that I can do it, since, as I say, I am thundering Jupiter, who hold in my hands the flaming bolts, with which I can, and use, to threaten and destroy the world? But in one thing only will I chastise this ignorant people; and that is, there shall no rain fall on this town, or in all its district, for three whole years, reckoning from the day and hour in which this threatening is denounced. You at liberty, you recovered, and in your right senses! and I a madman, I distempered and in bonds! I will no more rain than I will hang myself."

All the bystanders were very attentive to the madman's discourse: but our licentiate, turning himself to our chaplain, and holding him by both hands, said to him: "Be in no pain, good sir, nor make any account of what this madman has said; for, if he is Jupiter and will not rain, I, who am Neptune, the father and the god of the waters, will rain as often as I please, and whenever there shall be occasion." To which the chaplain answered: "However, signor Neptune, it will not be convenient at present to provoke signor Jupiter; therefore, pray stay where you are; for, some other time, when we have a better opportunity and more leisure, we will come for you." The rector and the bystanders laughed; which put the chaplain half out of countenance. They disrobed the licentiate, who remained where he was; and there is an end of the story.

True valor lies in the middle, between the extremes of cowardice and rashness.

No padlocks, bolts, or bars can secure a maiden so well as her own reserve.

Honey is not for the mouth of an ass.

He must be blind, indeed, who cannot see through a sieve.

Comparisons, whether as to sense, courage, beauty, or rank, are always offensive.

Scruples of conscience afford no peace.

You have reckoned without your host.

When the head aches, all the members ache also.

Me pondra en la espina de Santa Lucia;—i. e., Will put me on St. Lucia's thorn; applicable to any uneasy situation.

Let every man lay his hand upon his heart, and not take white for black, nor black for white; for we are all as God made us, and oftentimes a great deal worse.

"First and foremost, then," said Sancho, "the common people take your worship for a downright madman, and me for no less a fool. The gentry say that, not content to keep to your own proper rank of a gentleman, you call yourself Don, and set up for a knight, with no more than a paltry vineyard and a couple of acres of land. The cavaliers say they do not choose to be vied with by those country squires who clout their shoes, and take up the fallen stitches of their black stockings with green silk."

"That," said Don Quixote, "is no reflection upon me; for I always go well clad, and my apparel is never patched; a little torn it may be, but more by the fretting of my armor than by time."

"As to your valor, courtesy, achievements, and undertakings," continued Sancho, "there are many different opinions. Some say you are mad, but humorous; others, valiant, but unfortunate; others, courteous, but absurd; and thus they pull us to pieces, till they leave neither your worship nor me a single feather upon our backs."

"Take notice, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "that, when virtue exists in an eminent degree, it is always persecuted."

"There cannot be a more legitimate source of gratification to a virtuous and distinguished man," said Don Quixote, "than to have his good name celebrated during his lifetime, and circulated over different nations; I say his good name, for if it were otherwise than good, death in any shape would be preferable."

To be represented otherwise than with approbation is worse than the worst of deaths.

There are as many different opinions as there are different tastes.

Pedir cotufas en el golfo, signifies to look for truffles in the sea, a proverb applicable to those who are too sanguine in their expectations and unreasonable in their desires.

"There is no necessity for recording actions which are prejudicial to the hero, without being essential to the history. It is not to be supposed that AEneas was in all his actions so pure as Virgil represents him, nor Ulysses so uniformly prudent as he is described by Homer."

"True," replied Sampson; "but it is one thing to write as a poet, and another to write as an historian. The poet may say or sing, not as things were, but as they ought to have been; but the historian must pen them not as they ought to have been, but as they really were, without adding to or diminishing aught from the truth."

There is no human history that, does not contain reverses of fortune.

Let every man take care how he speaks or writes of honest people, and not set down at a venture the first thing that comes uppermost.

"Sancho, thou art an arch rogue," replied Don Quixote, "and in faith, upon some occasions, hast no want of memory."

"Though I wanted ever so much to forget what my poor body has suffered," quoth Sancho, "the tokens that are still fresh on my ribs would not let me."

"Peace, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and let signor bachelor proceed, that I may know what is further said of me in the history."

"And of me too," quoth Sancho, "for I hear that I am one of the principal parsons in it."

"Persons, not parsons, friend Sancho," quoth Sampson.

"What, have we another corrector of words?" quoth Sancho; "if we are to go on at this rate, we shall make slow work of it."

"As sure as I live, Sancho," answered the bachelor, "you are the second person of the history; nay, there are those who had rather hear you talk than the finest fellow of them all; though there are also some who charge you with being too credulous in expecting the government of that island promised you by Signor Don Quixote, here present."

"There is still sunshine on the wall," quoth Don Quixote; "and when Sancho is more advanced in age, with the experience that years bestow, he will be better qualified to be a governor than he is at present."

"'Fore Gad! sir," quoth Sancho, "if I am not fit to govern an island at these years, I shall be no better, able at the age of Methusalem. The mischief of it is, that the said island sticks somewhere else, and not in my want of a headpiece to govern it."

"Recommend the matter to God, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and all will be well—perhaps better than thou mayst think; for not a leaf stirs on the tree without his permission."

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