Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
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We see that governors, though otherwise fools, are sometimes directed in their decisions by the hand of God.

Time is ever moving; nothing ever can impede his course.

An understanding in the beginning is often an effectual cure for those who are indiscreetly in love.

At eleven o'clock Don Quixote retired to his apartment, and finding a lute there, he tuned it, opened the window, and, perceiving there was somebody walking in the garden, he ran over the strings of the instrument; and, having tuned it again as nicely as he could, he coughed and cleared his throat; and then, with a voice somewhat hoarse, yet not unmusical, he sang the following song, which he had composed himself that very day:—



Love, a strong, designing foe. Careless hearts with ease deceives; Can thy breast resist his blow, Which your sloth unguarded leaves?

If you're idle you're destroyed, All his art on you he tries; But be watchful and employed, Straight the baffled tempter flies.

Maids for modest grace admired, If they would their fortunes raise, Must in silence live retired: 'Tis their virtue speaks their praise.

The divine Tobosan fair, Dulcinea, claims me whole; Nothing can her image tear! 'Tis one substance with my soul.

Then let fortune smile or frown, Nothing shall my faith remove; Constant truth, the lover's crown, Can work miracles in love.


Love, with idleness combined, Will unhinge the tender mind: But to few, to work and move, Will exclude the force of love. Blooming maids that would be married, Must in virtue be unwearied; Modesty a dower will raise, And be a trumpet of their praise. A cavalier will sport and play With a damsel frank and gay; But, when wedlock is his aim, Choose a maid of sober fame. Passion kindled in the breast, By a stranger or a guest, Enters with the rising sun, And fleets before his race be run: Love that comes so suddenly, Ever on the wing to fly, Neither can nor will impart Strong impressions to the heart. Pictures drawn on pictures, show Strange confusion to the view: Second beauty finds no base, Where a first has taken place: Then Dulcinea still shall reign Without a rival or a stain; Nor shall fate itself control Her sway, or blot her from my soul: Constancy, the lover's boast, I'll maintain whate'er it cost: This, my virtue will refine; This will stamp my joys divine.


Love, with idleness is friend, O'er a maiden gains its end: But let business and employment Fill up every careful moment; These an antidote will prove 'Gainst the pois'nous arts of love. Maidens that aspire to marry, In their looks reserve should carry: Modesty their price should raise, And be the herald of their praise. Knights, whom toils of arms employ, With the free may laugh and toy; But the modest only, choose When they tie the nuptial noose. Love that rises with the sun, With his setting beams is gone: Love that guest-like visits hearts, When the banquet's o'er, departs: And the love that comes to-day, And to-morrow wings its way, Leaves no traces on the soul, Its affections to control. Where a sovereign beauty reigns, Fruitless are a rival's pains,— O'er a finished picture who E'er a second picture drew? Fair Dulcinea, queen of beauty, Rules my heart, and claims its duty, Nothing there can take her place, Naught her image can erase. Whether fortune smile or frown, Constancy 's the lover's crown; And, its force divine to prove, Miracles performs in love.


The history relates that Sancho Panza was conducted from the court of justice to a sumptuous palace, where in a great hall he found a magnificent entertainment prepared. He had no sooner entered than his ears were saluted by the sound of many instruments, and four pages served him with water to wash his hands, which the governor received with becoming gravity. The music having ceased, Sancho now sat down to dinner in a chair of state placed at the upper end of the table, for there was but one seat and only one plate and napkin. A personage, who, as it afterwards appeared, was a physician, took his stand at one side of his chair with a whalebone rod in his hand. They then removed the beautiful white cloth, which covered a variety of fruits and other eatables. Grace was said by one in a student's dress, and a laced bib was placed by a page under Sancho's chin. Another, who performed the office of sewer, now set a plate of fruit before him; but he had scarcely tasted it, when, on being touched by the wand-bearer, it was snatched away, and another containing meat instantly supplied its place. Yet before Sancho could make a beginning it vanished, like the former, on a signal of the wand.

The governor was surprised at this proceeding, and looking around him, asked if this dinner was only to show off their sleight of hand.

"My lord," said the wand-bearer, "your lordship's food must here be watched with the same care as is customary with the governors of other islands. I am a doctor of physic, sir, and my duty, for which I receive a salary, is to watch over the governor's health, whereof I am more careful than of my own. I study his constitution night and day, that I may know how to restore him when sick; and therefore think it incumbent on me to pay especial regard to his meals, at which I constantly preside, to see that he eats what is good and salutary, and prevent his touching whatever I imagine may be prejudicial to his health or offensive to his stomach. It was for that reason, my lord," continued he, "I ordered the dish of fruit to be taken away, as being too watery, and that other dish, as being too hot and over-seasoned with spices, which are apt to provoke thirst; and he that drinks much destroys and consumes the radical moisture, which is the fuel of life."

"Well, then," quoth Sancho, "that plate of roasted partridges, which seem to me to be very well seasoned, I suppose will do me no manner of harm?"

"Hold," said the doctor, "my lord governor shall not eat them while I live to prevent it."

"Pray, why not?" quoth Sancho.

"Because," answered the doctor, "our great master Hippocrates, the north star and luminary of medicine, says in one of his aphorisms, Omnis saturatio mala, perdicis autem pessima; which means, 'All repletion is bad, but that from partridges the worst.'"

"If it be so," quoth Sancho, "pray cast your eye, signor doctor, over all these dishes here on the table, and see which will do me the most good or the least harm, and let me eat of it without whisking it away with your conjuring-stick; for, by my soul, and as Heaven shall give me life to enjoy this government, I am dying with hunger; and to deny me food—let signor doctor say what he will—is not the way to lengthen my life, but to cut it short."

"Your worship is in the right, my lord governor," answered the physician, "and therefore I am of opinion you should not eat of these stewed rabbits, as being a food that is tough and acute; of that veal, indeed, you might have taken a little, had it been neither roasted nor stewed; but as it is, not a morsel."

"What think you, then," said Sancho, "of that huge dish there, smoking hot, which I take to be an olla-podrida?—for, among the many things contained in it, I surely may light upon something both wholesome and toothsome."

"Absit!" quoth the doctor, "far be such a thought from us. Olla-podrida! there is no worse dish in the world. Leave them to prebends and rectors of colleges or lusty feeders at country weddings; but let them not be seen on the tables of governors, where nothing contrary to health and delicacy should be tolerated. Simple medicines are always more estimable and safe, for in them there can be no mistake, whereas in such as are compounded all is hazard and uncertainty. Therefore, what I would at present advise my lord governor to eat, in order to corroborate and preserve his health, is about a hundred small rolled-up wafers, with some thin slices of marmalade, that may sit upon the stomach and help digestion."

Sancho, hearing this, threw himself backward in his chair, and looking at the doctor from head to foot very seriously, asked him his name and where he had studied. To which he answered, "My lord governor, my name is Doctor Pedro Rezio de Aguero; I am a native of a place called Tirteafuera, lying between Caraquel and Almoddobar del Campo, on the right hand, and I have taken my doctor's degrees in the university of Ossuna."

"Then, hark you," said Sancho in a rage, "Signor Doctor Pedro Rezzio de Aguero, native of Tirteafuera, lying on the right hand as we go from Caraquel to Almoddobar del Campo, graduate in Ossuna, get out of my sight this instant, or, by the light of Heaven, I will take a cudgel, and, beginning with your carcass, will so belabor all the physic-mongers in the island, that not one of the tribe shall be left!—I mean of those like yourself, who are ignorant quacks. For those who are learned and wise I shall make much of and honor as so many angels. I say again, Signor Pedro Rezio, begone, or I shall take the chair I sit on and comb your head to some tune; and if I am called to an account for it when I give up my office, I shall prove that I have done a good service in ridding the world of a bad physician, who is a public executioner. Body of me! give me something to eat, or let them take back their government,—for an office that will not find a man in victuals is not worth two beans."

On seeing the governor in such a fury the doctor would have fled out in the hall had not the sound of a courier's horn at that instant been heard in the street. "A courier from my lord duke," said the sewer (who had looked out of the window), "and he must certainly have brought despatches of importance."

The courier entered hastily, foaming with sweat and in great agitation, and pulling a packet out of his bosom, he delivered it into the governor's hands, and by him it was given to the steward, telling him to read the superscription, which was this: "To Don Sancho Panza, Governor of the Island of Barataria. To be delivered only to himself or to his secretary."

"Who is my secretary?" said Sancho.

"It is I, my lord," answered one who was present, "for I can read and write, and am, besides, a Biscayan."

"With that addition," quoth Sancho, "you may very well be secretary to the emperor himself. Open the packet and see what it holds."

The new secretary did so, and having run his eye over the contents, he said it was a business which required privacy. Accordingly, Sancho commanded all to retire excepting the steward and sewer; and when the hall was cleared, the secretary read the following letter:—

"It has just come to my knowledge, Signor Don Panza, that certain enemies of mine intend very soon to make a desperate attack, by night, upon the island under your command; it is necessary, therefore, to be vigilant and alert, that you may not be taken by surprise. I have also received intelligence from trusty spies, that four persons in disguise are now in your town, sent thither by the enemy, who, fearful of your great talents, have a design upon your life. Keep a strict watch, be careful who are admitted to you, and eat nothing sent you as a present. I will not fail to send you assistance if you are in want of it. Whatever may be attempted, I have full reliance on your activity and judgment.

"Your friend,


"From this place, the 16th of August, at four in the morning."

Sancho was astonished at this information, and the others appeared to be no less so. At length, turning to the steward, "I will tell you," said he, "the first thing to be done, which is to clap Doctor Rezio into a dungeon; for if anybody has a design to kill me, it is he, and that by the most lingering and the worst of all deaths,—starvation."

"Be that as it may," said the steward, "it is my opinion your honor would do well to eat none of the meat here upon the table, for it was presented by some nuns, and it is a saying, 'The devil lurks behind the cross.'"

"You are in the right," quoth Sancho, "and for the present give me only a piece of bread and some four pounds of grapes,—there can be no poison in them,—for, in truth, I cannot live without food, and if we must keep in readiness for these battles that threaten us, it is fit that we should be well fed, for the stomach upholds the heart and the heart the man. Do you, Mr. Secretary, answer the letter of my lord duke, and tell him his commands shall be obeyed throughout most faithfully; and present my dutiful respects to my lady duchess, and beg her not to forget to send a special messenger with my letter and bundle to my wife Teresa Panza, which I shall take as a particular favor, and will be her humble servant to the utmost of my power. And, by the way, you may put in my hearty service to my master, Don Quixote de la Mancha, that he may see that I am neither forgetful nor ungrateful; and as to the rest, I leave it to you, as a good secretary and a true Biscayan, to add whatever you please, or that may turn to the best account. Now away with this cloth, and bring me something that may be eaten, and then let these spies, murderers, and enchanters see how they meddle with me or my island."

A page now entered, saying, "Here is a countryman who would speak with your lordship on business, as he says, of great importance."

"It is very strange," quoth Saneho, "that these men of business should be so silly as not to see that this is not a time for such matters. What! we who govern and belike are not made of flesh and bone like other men! We are made of marble-stone, forsooth, and have no need of rest or refreshment! Before Heaven and upon my conscience, if my government lasts, as I have a glimmering it will not, I shall hamper more than one of these men of business! Well, for this once, tell the fellow to come in; but first see that he is no spy, nor one of my murderers."

"He looks, my lord," answered the page, "like a simple fellow, and I am much mistaken if he be not as harmless as a crust of bread."

"Your worship need not fear," quoth the steward, "since we are with you."

"But now that Doctor Pedro Rezio is gone," quoth Sancho, "may I not have something to eat of substance and weight, though it were but a luncheon of bread and an onion?"

"At night your honor shall have no cause to complain," quoth the sewer; "supper shall make up for the want of dinner."

"Heaven grant it may," replied Sancho.


The countryman, who was of goodly presence, then came in, and it might be seen a thousand leagues off that he was an honest, good soul.

"Which among you here is the lord governor?" said he.

"Who should it be," answered the secretary, "but he who is seated in the chair?"

"I humble myself in his presence," quoth the countryman; and kneeling down, he begged for his hand to kiss.

Sancho refused it, and commanded him to rise and tell his business. The countryman did so, and said: "My lord, I am a husbandman, a native of Miguel Terra, two leagues from Ciudad Real."

"What! another Tirteafuera?" quoth Sancho. "Say on, brother; for let me tell you, I know Miguel Terra very well; it is not very far from my own village."

"The business is this, sir," continued the peasant: "by the mercy of Heaven I was married in peace and in the face of the holy Roman Catholic Church. I have two sons, bred scholars; the younger studies for bachelor, and the elder for licentiate. I am a widower, for my wife died, or rather a wicked physician killed her by improper medicines when she was pregnant; and if it had been God's will that the child had been born, and had proved a son, I would have put him to study for doctor, that he might not envy his two brothers, the bachelor and the licentiate."

"So that, if your wife," quoth Sancho, "had not died, or had not been killed, you would not now be a widower."

"No, certainly, my lord," answered the peasant.

"We are much the nearer," replied Sancho; "go on, friend, for this is an hour rather for bed than business."

"I say, then," quoth the countryman, "that my son who is to be the bachelor fell in love with a damsel in the same village, called Clara Perlerino, daughter of Andres Perlerino, a very rich farmer; which name of Perlerino came to them not by lineal or any other descent, but because all of that race are paralytic; and to mend the name, they call them Perlerinos. Indeed, to say the truth, the damsel is like any oriental pearl, and looked at on the right side seems a very flower of the field; but on the left not quite so fair, for on that side she wants an eye, which she lost by the small-pox; and though the pits in her face are many and deep, her admirers say they are not pits but graves wherein the hearts of her lovers are buried. So clean and delicate, too, is she, that to prevent defiling her face, she carries her nose so hooked up that it seems to fly from her mouth; yet for all that she looks charmingly, for she has a large mouth, and did she not lack half a score or a dozen front teeth she might pass and make a figure among the fairest. I say nothing of her lips, for they are so thin that, were it the fashion to reel lips, one might make a skein of them; but, being of a different color from what is usual in lips, they have a marvellous appearance, for they are streaked with blue, green, and orange-tawny. Pardon me, good my lord governor, if I paint so minutely the parts of her who is about to become my daughter; for in truth I love and admire her more than I can tell."

"Paint what you will," quoth Sancho, "for I am mightily taken with the picture; and had I but dined, I would not desire a better dessert than your portrait."

"It shall be always at your service," answered the peasant; "and the time may come when we may be acquainted, though we are not so now; and I assure you, my lord, if I could but paint her genteelness and the tallness of her person, you would admire: but that cannot be, because she is crooked, and crumpled up together, and her knees touch her mouth; though, for all that, you may see plainly that could she but stand upright she would touch the ceiling with her head. And she would ere now have given her hand to my bachelor to be his wife, but that she cannot stretch it out, it is so shrunk; nevertheless, her long guttered nails show the goodness of its make."

"So far so good," quoth Sancho; "and now, brother, make account that you have painted her from head to foot. What is it you would be at? Come to the point without so many windings and turnings, so many fetches and digressions."

"What I desire, my lord," answered the countryman, "is, that your lordship would do me the favor to give me a letter of recommendation to her father, begging his consent to the match, since we are pretty equal in our fortunes and natural endowments; for, to say the truth, my lord governor, my son is possessed, and scarcely a day passes in which the evil spirits do not torment him three or four times; and having thereby once fallen into the fire, his face is as shrivelled as a piece of scorched parchment, and his eyes are somewhat bleared and running; but, bless him! he has the temper of an angel, and did he not buffet and belabor himself, he would be a very saint for gentleness."

"Would you have anything else, honest friend?" said Sancho.

"One thing more I would ask," quoth the peasant, "but I dare not,—yet out it shall; come what may, it shall not rot in my breast. I say then, my lord, I could wish your worship to give me three or six hundred ducats towards mending the fortunes of my bachelor,—I mean, to assist in furnishing his house; for it is agreed that they shall live by themselves, without being subject to the impertinences of their fathers-in-law."

"Well," quoth Sancho, "see if there is anything else you would have, and be not squeamish in asking."

"No, nothing more," answered the peasant.

The governor then rising, and seizing the chair on which he had been seated, exclaimed, "I vow to Heaven, Don Lubberly, saucy bumpkin, if you do not instantly get out of my sight, I will break your head with this chair! Son of a rascal, and the devil's own painter! At this time of day to come and ask me for six hundred ducats! Where should I have them, villain? And if I had them, idiot! why should I give them to thee? What care I for Miguel Terra, or for the whole race of the Perlerinos? Begone, I say! or, by the life of my lord duke, I will be as good as my word. Thou art no native of Miguel Terra, but some scoffer sent from the devil to tempt me. Impudent scoundrel! I have not yet had the government a day and a half, and you expect I should have six hundred ducats!"

The sewer made signs to the countryman to go out of the hall, which he did, hanging down his head, and seemingly much afraid lest the governor should put his threat into execution,—for the knave knew very well how to play his part.

But let us leave Sancho in his passion; peace be with him!

The devil will never give you a high nose if a flat nose will serve your turn.

All is not gold that glitters.

I am fully convinced that judges and governors are, or ought to be, made of brass, so as that they may not feel the importunity of people of business, who expect to be heard and despatched at all hours and at all seasons, come what will, attending only to their own affairs; and if the poor devil of a judge does not hear and despatch them, either because it is not in his power, or it happens to be an unseasonable time for giving audience, then they grumble and backbite, gnaw him to the very bones, and even bespatter his whole generation. Ignorant man of business! foolish man of business! be not in such a violent hurry; wait for the proper season and conjuncture, and come not at meals and sleeping-time; for judges are made of flesh and blood, and must give to nature that which nature requires.

Good physicians deserve palms and laurels.

Either we are, or we are not.

Walls have ears.

Let us all live and eat together in harmony and good friendship.

When God sends the morning, the light shines upon all.

Make yourselves honey, and the flies will devour you.

Your idle and lazy people in a commonwealth are like drones in a beehive, which only devour the honey the laboring bees gather.

Every day produces something new in the world: jests turn into earnest, and the biters are bit.

They who expect snacks should be modest, and take cheerfully whatever is given them, and not haggle with the winners; unless they know them to be sharpers, and their gains unfairly gotten.


After traversing a few streets, they heard the clashing of swords, and, hastening to the place, they found two men fighting. On seeing the officers coming they desisted, and one of them said, "Help, in the name of Heaven and the king! Are people to be attacked here, and robbed in the open streets?"

"Hold, honest man," quoth Sancho, "and tell me what is the occasion of this fray; for I am the governor."

His antagonist, interposing, said, "My lord governor, I will briefly relate the matter:—Your honor must know that this gentleman is just come from the gaming-house over the way, where he has been winning above a thousand reals, and heaven knows how, except that I, happening to be present, was induced, even against my conscience, to give judgment in his favor in many a doubtful point; and when I expected he would have given me something, though it were but the small matter of a crown, by way of present, as it is usual with gentlemen of character like myself, who stand by, ready to back unreasonable demands, and to prevent quarrels, up he got, with his pockets filled, and marched out of the house.

"Surprised and vexed at such conduct, I followed him, civilly reminded him that he could not refuse me the small sum of eight reals, as he knew me to be a man of honor, without either office or pension; my parents having brought me up to nothing: yet this knave, who is as great a thief as Cacus, and as arrant a sharper as Andradilla, would give me but four reals! Think, my lord governor, what a shameless and unconscionable fellow he is! But as I live had it not been for your worship coming, I would have made him disgorge his winnings, and taught him how to balance accounts."

"What shall be done," replied Sancho, "is this: you, master winner, whether by fair play or foul, instantly give your hackster here a hundred reals, and pay down thirty more for the poor prisoners; and you, sir, who have neither office nor pension, nor honest employment, take the hundred reals, and, some time to-morrow, be sure you get out of this island, nor set foot in it again these ten years, unless you would finish your banishment in the next life: for if I find you here, I will make you swing on a gibbet—at least the hangman shall do it for me: so let no man reply, or he shall repent it."

The decree was immediately executed: the one disbursed, the other received; the one quitted the island, the other went home.

Cheats are always at the mercy of their accomplices.

The maid that would keep her good name, stays at home as if she were lame. A hen and a housewife, whatever they cost, if once they go gadding will surely be lost. And she that longs to see, I ween, is as desirous to be seen.

Good fortune wants only a beginning.

When they offer thee a government, lay hold of it.

When an earldom is put before thee, lay thy clutches on it.

When they throw thee some beneficial bone, snap at the favor; if not, sleep on and never answer to good fortune and preferment when they knock at thy door.

Truth will always rise uppermost, as oil rises above water.

Seeing is believing.

According to reason, each thing has its season.

When justice is doubtful, I should lean to the side of mercy.


Being desirous to please his lord and lady, he set off with much glee to Sancho's village. Having arrived near it, he inquired of some women whom he saw washing in a brook if there lived not in that town one Teresa Panza, wife of one Sancho Panza, squire to a knight called Don Quixote de la Mancha.

"That Teresa Panza is my mother," said a young lass who was washing among the rest, "and that Sancho my own father, and that knight our master."

"Are they so?" quoth the page: "come then, my good girl, and lead me to your mother, for I have a letter and a token for her from that same father of yours."

"That I will, with all my heart, sir," answered the girl (who seemed to be about fourteen years of age); and leaving the linen she was washing to one of her companions, without stopping to cover either her head or feet, away she ran skipping along before the page's horse, bare-legged, and her hair dishevelled.

"Come along, sir, an 't please you," quoth she, "for our house stands hard by, and you will find my mother in trouble enough for being so long without tidings of my father."

"Well," said the page, "I now bring her news that will cheer her heart, I warrant her."

So on he went, with his guide running, skipping, and capering before him, till they reached the village, and, before she got up to the house, she called out aloud, "Mother, mother, come out! here's a gentleman who brings letters and other things from my good father."

At these words out came her mother Teresa Panza with a distaff in her hand—for she was spinning flax. She was clad in a russet petticoat, so short that it looked as if it had been docked at the placket, with a jacket of the same, and the sleeves of her under-garment hanging about it. She appeared to be about forty years of age and was strong, hale, sinewy, and hard as a hazel-nut.

"What is the matter, girl?" quoth she, seeing her daughter with the page; "what gentleman is that?"

"It is an humble servant of my Lady Donna Teresa Panza," answered the page; and throwing himself from his horse, with great respect he went and kneeled before the Lady Teresa, saying, "Be pleased, Signora Donna Teresa, to give me your ladyship's hand to kiss, as the lawful wife of Signor Don Sancho Panza, sole governor of the island of Barataria."

"Alack-a-day, good sir, how you talk!" she replied: "I am no court-dame, but a poor country woman, daughter of a ploughman, and wife indeed of a squire-errant, but no governor."

"Your ladyship," answered the page, "is the most worthy wife of a thrice-worthy governor, and to confirm the truth of what I say, be pleased, madam, to receive what I here bring you."

He then drew the letter from his pocket, and a string of corals, each bead set in gold, and, putting it about her neck, he said, "This letter is from my lord governor, and another that I have here, and those corals are from my lady duchess, who sends me to your ladyship."

Teresa and her daughter were all astonishment.

"May I die," said the girl, "if our master Don Quixote be not at the bottom of this—as sure as day he has given my father the government or earldom he has so often promised him."

"It is even so," answered the page; "and for Signor Don Quixote's sake, my Lord Sancho is now governor of the island of Barataria, as the letter will inform you."

"Pray, young gentleman," quoth Teresa, "be pleased to read it; for though I can spin I cannot read a jot."

"Nor I neither, i' faith," cried Sanchica; "but stay a little, and I will fetch one who can, either the bachelor Sampson Carrasco or the priest himself, who will come with all their hearts to hear news of my father."

"You need not take that trouble," said the page; "for I can read though I cannot spin, and will read it to you." Which he accordingly did: but as its contents have already been given, it is not here repeated. He then produced the letter from the duchess, and read as follows:—


"Finding your husband Sancho worthy of my esteem for his honesty and good understanding, I prevailed upon the duke, my spouse, to make him governor of one of the many islands in his possession. I am informed he governs like any hawk; at which I and my lord duke are mightily pleased, and give many thanks to Heaven that I have not been deceived in my choice, for madam Teresa may be assured that it is no easy matter to find a good governor—and God make me as good as Sancho governs well. I have sent you, my dear friend, a string of corals set in gold—I wish they were oriental pearls; but whoever gives thee a bone has no mind to see thee dead: the time will come when we shall be better acquainted, and converse with each other, and then heaven knows what may happen. Commend me to your daughter Sanchica, and tell her from me to get herself ready; for I mean to have her highly married when she least expects it. I am told the acorns near your town are very large—pray send me some two dozen of them; for I shall value them the more as coming from your hand. Write to me immediately, to inform me of your health and welfare; and if you want anything, you need but open your mouth, and it shall be measured. So God keep you.

"Your loving Friend,


"From this place."

"Ah!" quoth Teresa, at hearing the letter, "how good, how plain, how humble a lady! let me be buried with such ladies as this, say I and not with such proud madams as this town affords, who think because they are gentlefolks, the wind must not blow upon them; and go flaunting to church as if they were queens! they seem to think it a disgrace to look upon a peasant woman: and yet you see how this good lady, though she be a duchess, calls me friend, and treats me as if I were her equal!—and equal may I see her to the highest steeple in La Mancha! As to the acorns, sir, I will send her ladyship a peck of them, and such as, for their size, people shall come from far and near to see and admire. But for the present, Sanchica, let us make much of this gentleman. Do thou take care of his horse, child, and bring some new-laid eggs out of the stable, and slice some rashers of bacon, and let us entertain him like any prince; for his good news and his own good looks deserve no less."

Sanchica now came in with her lap full of eggs. "Pray, sir," said she to the page, "does my father, now he is a governor, wear trunk-hose?"[15]

"I never observed," answered the page, "but doubtless he does."

"God's my life!" replied Sanchica, "what a sight to see my father in long breeches? Is it not strange that ever since I was born I have longed to see my father with breeches of that fashion laced to his girdle?"

"I warrant you will have that pleasure if you live," answered the page; "before Heaven, if his government lasts but two months, he is likely to travel with a cape to his cap." [16]


The first business that occurred on that day was an appeal to his judgment in a case which was thus stated by a stranger—the appellant: "My lord," said he, "there is a river which passes through the domains of a certain lord, dividing it into two parts—I beseech your honor to give me your attention, for it is a case of great importance and some difficulty. I say, then, that upon this river there was a bridge, and at one end of it a gallows and a kind of court-house, where four judges sit to try, and pass sentence upon those who are found to transgress a certain law enacted by the proprietor, which runs thus: 'Whoever would pass over this bridge must first declare upon oath whence he comes, and upon what business he is going; and if he swears the truth, he shall pass over; but if he swears to a falsehood, he shall certainly die upon a gibbet there provided.'

"After this law was made known, many persons ventured over it, and the truth of what they swore being admitted, they were allowed freely to pass. But a man now comes demanding a passage over the bridge; and, on taking the required oath, he swears that he is going to be executed upon the gibbet before him, and that he has no other business. The judges deliberated, but would not decide. 'If we let this man pass freely,' said they, 'he will have sworn falsely, and by the law, he ought to die: and, if we hang him, he will verify his oath, and he, having sworn the truth, ought to have passed unmolested as the law ordains.' The case, my lord, is yet suspended, for the judges know not how to act; and, therefore having heard of your lordship's great wisdom and acuteness, they have sent me humbly to beseech your lordship on their behalf, to give your opinion in so intricate and perplexing a case."

"To deal plainly with you," said Sancho, "these gentlemen judges who sent you to me might have saved themselves and you the labor; for I have more of the blunt than the acute in me. However, let me hear your question once more, that I may understand it the better, and mayhap I may chance to hit the right nail on the head."

The man accordingly told his tale once or twice more, and when he had done, the governor thus delivered his opinion: "To my thinking," said he, "this matter may soon be settled; and I will tell you how. The man, you say, swears he is going to die upon the gallows; and if he is hanged, it would be against the law, because he swore the truth; and if they do not hang him, why then he swore a lie, and ought to have suffered."

"It is just as you say, my lord governor," said the messenger, "and nothing more is wanting to a right understanding of the case."

"I say, then," continued Sancho, "that they must let that part of the man pass that swore the truth and hang that part that swore the lie, and thereby the law will be obeyed."

"If so, my lord," replied the stranger, "the man must be divided into two parts; and thereby he will certainly die, and thus the law, which we are bound to observe, is in no respect complied with."

"Harkee, honest man," said Sancho, "either I have no brains, or there is as much reason to put this passenger to death as to let him live and pass the bridge; for, if the truth saves him, the lie also condemns him, and this being so, you may tell those gentlemen who sent you to me, that since the reasons for condemning and acquitting him are equal, they should let the man pass freely, for it is always more commendable to do good than to do harm."

Sancho having plentifully dined that day, in spite of all the aphorisms of Dr. Tirteafuera, when the cloth was removed in came an express with a letter from Don Quixote to the governor. Sancho ordered the secretary to read it to himself, and if there was nothing in it for secret perusal, then to read it aloud. The secretary having first run it over, accordingly, "My lord," said he, "the letter may not only be publicly read, but deserves to be engraved in characters of gold; and thus it is:—"


"When I expected to have had an account of thy carelessness and blunders, friend Sancho, I was agreeably disappointed with news of thy wise behavior,—for which I return thanks to Heaven, that can raise the lowest from their poverty and turn the fool into a man of sense. I hear thou governest with all discretion; and that, nevertheless, thou retainest the humility of the meanest creature. But I would observe to thee, Sancho, that it is often expedient and necessary, for the due support of authority, to act in contradiction to the humility of the heart. The personal adornments of one that is raised to a high situation must correspond with his present greatness, and not with his former lowliness. Let thy apparel, therefore, be good and becoming; for the hedgestake, when decorated no longer, appears what it really is. I do not mean that thou shouldst wear jewels or finery; nor, being a judge, would I have thee dress like a soldier; but adorn thyself in a manner suitable to thy employment. To gain the good-will of thy people, two things, among others, thou must not fail to observe: one is, to be courteous to all,—that, indeed, I have already told thee; the other is, to take especial care that the people be exposed to no scarcity of food, for, with the poor, hunger is, of all afflictions, the most insupportable. Publish few edicts, but let those be good; and, above all, see that they are well observed, for edicts that are not kept are the same as not made, and serve only to show that the prince, though he had wisdom and authority to make them had not the courage to insist upon their execution. Laws that threaten and are not enforced become like King Log, whose croaking subjects first feared, then despised him. Be a father to virtue and a step-father to vice. Be not always severe, nor always mild; but choose the happy mean between them, which is the true point of discretion. Visit the prisons, the shambles, and the markets; for there the presence of the governor is highly necessary. Such attention is a comfort to the prisoner hoping for release; it is a terror to the butchers, who then dare not make use of false weights; and the same effect is produced on all other dealers. Shouldst thou unhappily be secretly inclined to avarice, to gluttony, or women,—which I hope thou art not,—avoid showing thyself guilty of these vices; for, when those who are concerned with thee discover thy ruling passion, they will assault thee on that quarter, nor leave thee till they have effected thy destruction. View and review, consider and reconsider, the counsels and documents I gave thee in writing before thy departure hence to thy government, and in them thou wilt find a choice supply to sustain thee through the toils and difficulties which governors must continually encounter. Write to thy patrons, the duke and duchess, and show thyself grateful, for ingratitude is the daughter of pride, and one of the greatest sins; whereas, he who is grateful to those that have done him service, thereby testifies that he will be grateful also to God, his constant benefactor.

"My lady duchess has despatched a messenger to thy wife Teresa with thy hunting-suit, and also a present from herself. We expect an answer every moment. I have been a little out of order with a certain cat-clawing which befell me, not much to the advantage of my nose; but it was nothing, for if there are enchanters who persecute me, there are others who defend me. Let me know if the steward who is with thee had any hand in the actions of the Trifaldi, as thou hast suspected; and give me advice, from time to time, of all that happens to thee, since the distance between us is so short. I think of quitting this idle life very soon, for I was not born for luxury and ease. A circumstance has occurred which may, I believe, tend to deprive me of the favor of the duke and duchess; but, though it afflicts me much, it affects not my determination, for I must comply with the duties of my profession in preference to any other claim; as it is often said, Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas. I write this in Latin, being persuaded that thou hast learned that language since thy promotion. Farewell, and God have thee in His keeping; so mayst thou escape the pity of the world.

"Thy friend,


Sancho gave great attention to the letter; and it was highly applauded, both for sense and integrity, by everybody that heard it. After that, he rose from the table, and calling the secretary, went without any further delay and locked himself up with him in his chamber, to write an answer to his master, Don Quixote, which was as follows:—


"I am so taken up with business that I have not yet had time to let you know whether it goes well or ill with me in this same government, where I am more hunger-starved than when you and I wandered through woods and wildernesses.

"My lord duke wrote to me the other day to inform me of some spies that were got into this island to kill me; but as yet I have discovered none but a certain doctor, hired by the islanders to kill all the governors that come near it. They call him Dr. Pedro Rezio de Anguero, and he was born at Tirteafuera. His name is enough to make me fear he will be the death of me. This same doctor says of himself, that he does cure diseases when you have them; but when you have them not, he only pretends to keep them from coming. The physic he uses is fasting upon fasting, till he turns a body to a mere skeleton; as if to be wasted to skin and bones were not as bad as a fever. In short, he starves me to death; so that, when I thought, as being a governor, to have plenty of good hot victuals and cool liquor, and to repose on a soft feather-bed, I am come to do penance like a hermit.

"I have not yet so much as fingered the least penny of money, either for fees or anything else; and how it comes to be no better with me I cannot imagine, for I have heard that the governors who come to this island are wont to have a very good gift, or at least a very round sum given them by the town before they enter. And they say, too, that this is the usual custom, not only here but in other places.

"Last night, in going my rounds, I met with a mighty handsome damsel in boy's clothes, and a brother of hers in woman's apparel. My gentleman-waiter fell in love with the girl, and intends to make her his wife, as he says. As for the youth, I have pitched on him to be my son-in-law. To-day we both design to talk to the father, one Diego de la Llana, who is a gentleman, and an old Christian every inch of him.

"I visit the markets as you advised me, and yesterday found one of the hucksters selling hazel-nuts. She pretended they were all new; but I found she had mixed a whole bushel of old, empty, rotten nuts among the same quantity of new. With that I adjudged them to be given to the hospital boys, who know how to pick the good from the bad, and gave sentence against her that she should not come into the market for fifteen days; and people said I did well.

"I am mighty well pleased that my lady duchess has written to my wife, Teresa Pauza, and sent her the token you mention. It shall go hard but I will requite her kindness one time or other. Pray give my service to her, and tell her from me she has not cast her gift in a broken sack, as something more than words shall show.

"If I might advise you, and had my wish, there should be no falling out between your worship and my lord and lady; for, if you quarrel with them, it is I must come by the worst for it. And, since you mind me of being grateful, it will not look well in you not to be so to those who have made so much of you at their castle.

"If my wife, Teresa Panza, writes to me, pray pay the postage and send me the letter; for I have a mighty desire to know how fares it with her, and my house and children. So Heaven protect your worship from evil-minded enchanters, and bring me safe and sound out of this government; which I very much doubt, seeing how I am treated by Doctor Pedro Rezio.

"Your worship's servant,

"SANCHO PANZA, the Governor."


"I received thy letter, dear Sancho of my soul, and I promise and swear to thee, on the faith of a Catholic Christian, I was within two finger-breadths of running mad with joy; and take notice, brother, when I heard thou wast a governor, I had liked to have dropped down dead with pure pleasure; for thou knowest they say sudden joy kills as well as deadly sorrow.

"Thy hunting-suit lay before me, the string of corals sent by lady duchess was tied round my neck, the letters were in my hand, and the messenger in my presence; and yet I imagined and believed that all I saw and handled was a dream, for who could conceive that a goatherd should come to be governor of islands? Thou knowest, my friend, that my mother said, 'One must live long to see a great deal.' This I mention because I hope to see more if I live longer, for I do not intend to stop until I see thee a farmer or collector of the revenue,—offices which, though they carry those who abuse them to the devil, are, in short, always bringing in the penny.

"My lady duchess will tell thee how desirous I am of going to court. Consider of it, and let me know thy pleasure, for I will endeavor to do thee honor there by riding in my coach.

"The curate, barber, bachelor, and even the sexton, cannot believe thou art a governor, and say the whole is a deception or matter of enchantment, like all the affairs of thy master, Don Quixote. Sampson vows he will go in quest of thee, and drive this government out of thy head, as well as the madness out of Don Quixote's skull. I say nothing, but laugh in my own sleeve, look at my beads, and contrive how to make thy hunting-suit into a gown and petticoat for our daughter. I have sent some acorns to my lady duchess, and I wish they were of gold. Send me some strings of pearls, if they are in fashion in thy island.

"The news of our town are these: the widow of the hill has matched her daughter with a bungling painter, who came here and undertook all sort of work. The corporation employed him to paint the king's arms over the gate of the town-house. He asked them two ducats for the job, which they paid beforehand; so he fell to it and worked eight days, at the end of which he had made nothing of it, and said he could not bring his hand to paint such trumpery, and returned the money; yet, for all that, he married in the name of a good workman. The truth is, he has left his brushes and taken up the spade, and goes to the field like a gentleman. Pedro de Lobo's son has taken orders and shaved his crown, meaning to be a priest. Minguilla, Mingo Silvato's niece, hearing of it, is suing him upon a promise of marriage. We have had no olives this year, nor is there a drop of vinegar to be had in all the town. A company of foot-soldiers passed through here, and carried off with them three girls. I will not say who they are; mayhap they will return, and somebody or other marry them, with all their faults. Sanchica makes bone-lace, and gets eight maravedis a day, which she drops into a saving-box, to help her toward household stuff; but now that she is a governor's daughter, she has no need to work, for thou wilt give her a portion without it. The fountain in our market-place is dried up. A thunderbolt fell upon the pillory, and there may they all alight! I expect an answer to this, and about my going to court. And so God grant thee more years than myself, or as many, for I would not willingly leave thee behind me.

"Thy wife,


To think that the affairs of this life are always to remain in the same state is an erroneous fancy. The face of things rather seems continually to change and roll with circular motion; summer succeeds the spring, autumn the summer, winter the autumn, and then spring again. So time proceeds in this perpetual round; only the life of man is ever hastening to its end, swifter than time itself, without hopes to be renewed, unless in the next, that is unlimited and infinite. For even by the light of nature and without that of faith, many have discovered the swiftness and instability of this present being, and the duration of the eternal life which is expected.

"I know St. Peter is well at Rome," meaning every one does well to follow the employment to which he was bred.

Let no one stretch his feet beyond the length of his sheet.

When thou art in Rome follow the fashions of Rome.

Sweet is our love of native land.

The prudent man who is expecting to be deprived of his habitation looks out for another before he is turned out of doors.

Well-got wealth may meet disaster, But ill-got wealth destroys its master.

Bread is relief for all kind of grief.

We can bear with patience the ill-luck that comes alone.

Man projects in vain, For God doth still ordain.

As is the reason, Such is the season.

Let no man presume to think Of this cup I will not drink. Where the flitch we hope to find, Not even a hook is left behind.

Keep a safe conscience, and let people say what they will.

It is as impracticable to tie up the tongue of malice as to erect barricades in the open fields.

"If a governor resigns his office in good circumstances, people say he must have been an oppressor and a knave; and if poverty attends him in his retreat, they set him down as an idiot and fool."

"For this time," answered Sancho, "I am certain they will think me more fool than knave."

The great Sancho Panza, the flower and mirror of all island governors.

A law neglected is the same as if it had never been enacted.

Give always to the cat What was kept for the rat, And let it be thy view All mischief to eschew.

It is fitting that all who receive a benefit should show themselves grateful, though it be only a trifle.


Stay, cruel knight, Take not thy flight, Nor spur thy battered jade; Thy haste restrain, Draw in the rein, And hear a love-sick maid. Why dost thou fly? No snake am I, That poison those I love. Gentle I am As any lamb, And harmless as a dove. Thy cruel scorn Has left forlorn A nymph whose charms may vie With theirs who sport In Cynthia's court, Though Venus' self were by. Since, fugitive knight, to no purpose I woo thee, Barabbas's fate still pursue and undo thee!

Like ravenous kite That takes its flight Soon as't has stol'n a chicken, Thou bear'st away My heart, thy prey, And leav'st me here to sicken. Three night-caps, too, And garters blue, That did to legs belong Smooth to the sight As marble white, And faith, almost as strong. Two thousand groans, As many moans, And sighs enough to fire Old Priam's town, And burn it down, Did it again aspire. Since, fugitive knight, to no purpose I woo thee, Barabbas's fate still pursue and undo thee!

May Sancho ne'er His buttocks bare Fly-flap, as is his duty; And thou still want To disenchant Dulcinea's injured beauty. May still transformed, And still deformed, Toboso's nymph remain, In recompense Of thy offence, Thy scorn and cold disdain. When thou dost wield Thy sword in field, In combat, or in quarrel, Ill-luck and harms Attend thy arms, Instead of fame and laurel. Since, fugitive knight, to no purpose I woo thee, Barabbas's fate still pursue and undo thee!

May thy disgrace Fill every place, Thy falsehood ne'er be hid, But round the world Be tossed and hurled, From Seville to Madrid. If, brisk and gay, Thou sitt'st to play At ombre or at chess, May ne'er spadille Attend thy will, Nor luck thy movements bless. Though thou with care Thy corns dost pare, May blood the penknife follow; May thy gums rage, And naught assuage The pain of tooth that's hollow. Since, fugitive knight, to no purpose I woo thee, Barabbas's fate still pursue and undo thee!

Liberty is one of the most precious gifts which Heaven hath bestowed on man, exceeding all the treasures which earth encloses, or which ocean hides; and for this blessing, as well as for honor, we may and ought to venture life itself. On the other hand, captivity and restraint are the greatest evils that human nature can endure. I make this observation, Sancho, because thou hast seen the delicacies and the plenty with which we were entertained in that castle; yet, in the midst of those savory banquets and ice-cooled potations, I thought myself confined within the very straits of famine, because I did not enjoy the treat with that liberty which I should have felt had it been my own.

Obligations incurred by benefits and favors received are fetters which hamper the free-born soul.

Happy is he to whom Heaven hath sent a morsel of bread, for which he is obliged to none but Heaven itself.

The man in wisdom must be old Who knows in giving where to hold.

All times are not the same, nor equally fortunate; and those incidents which the vulgar call omens, though not founded on any natural reason, have, even by persons of sagacity, been held and deemed as fair and fortunate. One of these superstitious omen-mongers rises in the morning, goes abroad, chances to meet a friar belonging to the beatified St. Francis; and as if he had encountered a dragon in his way, runs back to his own house with fear and consternation. Another Foresight by accident scatters the salt upon the table, by which fear and melancholy are scattered through his heart; as if Nature was obliged to foretell future misfortunes by such trivial signs and tokens; whereas a prudent man and a good Christian will not so minutely scrutinize the purposes of Heaven. Scipio, chancing to fall in landing upon the coast of Afric, and perceiving that his soldiers looked upon this accident as a bad omen, he embraced the soil with seeming eagerness, saying, "Thou shalt not 'scape me, Afric, for I have thee safe in my arms."

Love has no respect of persons, and laughs at the admonitions of reason; like Death, he pursues his game both in the stately palaces of kings and the humble huts of shepherds. When he has got a soul fairly in his clutches, his first business is to deprive it of all shame and fear.

Beauty, they say, is the chief thing in love-matters.

"Hearken to me, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "there are two kinds of beauty,—the one of the mind, the other of the body. That of the mind shines forth in good sense and good conduct, in modesty, liberality, and courtesy; and all these qualities may be found in one who has no personal attractions; and when that species of beauty captivates, it produces a vehement and superior passion. I well know, Sancho, that I am not handsome, but I know also that I am not deformed; and a man of worth, if he be not hideous, may inspire love, provided he has those qualities of the mind which I have mentioned."

Of all the sins that men commit, though some say pride, in my opinion ingratitude is the worst. It is truly said that hell is full of the ungrateful. From that foul crime I have endeavored to abstain ever since I enjoyed the use of reason; and if I cannot return the good offices done me by equal benefits, I substitute my desire to repay them; and if this be not enough, I publish them: for he who proclaims the favors he has received would return them if he could. And generally the power of the receiver is unequal to that of the giver, like the bounty of Heaven, to which no man can make an equal return. But, though utterly unable to repay the unspeakable beneficence of God, gratitude affords an humble compensation suited to our limited powers.

Lay a bridge of silver for a flying enemy.

Let Martha die, so that she be well fed.

He that has skill should handle the quill.

There is no greater folly than to give way to despair.

Patience often falls to the ground when it is over-loaded with injuries.

Alexander the Great ventured to cut the Gordian knot, on the supposition that cutting would be as effectual as untying it, and, notwithstanding this violence, became sole master of all Asia.

"Be not concerned," said Roque, addressing himself to Don Quixote, "nor tax Fortune with unkindness. By thus stumbling, you may chance to stand more firmly than ever; for Heaven, by strange and circuitous ways, incomprehensible to men, is wont to raise the fallen and enrich the needy."

Oh, maddening sting of jealousy, how deadly thy effects!

Justice must needs be a good thing, for it is necessary even among thieves.

"Signor Roque," said he, "the beginning of a cure consists in the knowledge of the distemper and in the patient's willingness to take the medicines prescribed to him by his physician. You are sick; you know your malady, and God, our physician, is ready with medicines that, in time, will certainly effect a cure. Besides, sinners of good understanding are nearer to amendment than those who are devoid of it; and, as your superior sense is manifest be of good cheer and hope for your entire recovery. If in this desirable work you would take the shortest way and at once enter that of your salvation, come with me and I will teach you to be a knight-errant,—a profession, it is true, full of labors and disasters, but which, being placed to the account of penance, will not fail to lead you to honor and felicity."

The abbot must eat that sings for his meat.

Courtesy begets courtesy.

The jest that gives pain is no jest.

That pastime should not be indulged which tends to the detriment of a fellow-creature.

The fire is discovered by its own light; so is virtue by its own excellence.

No renown equals in splendor that which is acquired by the profession of arms.

Virtue demands our homage wherever it is found.

Women are commonly impatient and inquisitive.

By a man's actions may be seen the true disposition of his mind.

"Body of me," said Don Quixote, "what a progress you have made, signor, in the Tuscan language! I would venture a good wager that where the Tuscan says piace, you say, in Castilian, plaze; and where he says piu, you say mas; and su you translate by the word arriba; and giu by abaxo."

"I do so, most certainly," quoth the author, "for such are the corresponding words."

"And yet, I dare say, sir," quoth Don Quixote, "that you are scarcely known in the world,—but it is the fate of all ingenious men. What abilities are lost, what genius obscured, and what talents despised! Nevertheless, I cannot but think that translation from one language into another, unless it be from the noblest of all languages, Greek and Latin, is like presenting the back of a piece of tapestry, where, though the figures are seen, they are obscured by innumerable knots and ends of thread, very different from the smooth and agreeable texture of the proper face of the work; and to translate easy languages of a similar construction requires no more talent than transcribing one paper from another. But I would not hence infer that translating is not a laudable exercise; for a man may be worse and more unprofitably employed. Nor can my observation apply to the two celebrated translators, Doctor Christopher de Figueroa, in his 'Pastor Fido,' and Don John de Xaurigui, in his 'Aminta,' who, with singular felicity, have made it difficult to decide which is the translation and which is the original. But tell me, signor, is this book printed at your charge, or have you sold the copyright to some bookseller?"

"I print it, sir, on my own account," answered the author, "and expect a thousand ducats by this first impression of two thousand copies. At six reals each copy they will go off in a trice."

"'Tis mighty well," quoth Don Quixote, "though I fear you know but little of the tricks of booksellers, and the juggling there is amongst them. Take my word for it, you will find a burden of two thousand volumes upon your back no trifling matter, especially if the book be deficient in sprightliness."

"What, sir!" cried the author, "would you have me give my labor to a bookseller, who, if he paid me three maravedis for it, would think it abundant, and say I was favored? No, sir, fame is not my object: of that I am already secure. Profit is what I now seek, without which fame is nothing."

"Well, Heaven prosper you, sir!" said the knight, who, passing on, observed a man correcting a sheet of a book entitled "The Light of the Soul." On seeing the title, he said, "Books of this kind, numerous as they already are, ought still to be encouraged; for numerous are the benighted sinners that require to be enlightened." He went forward, and saw another book under the corrector's hand, and, on inquiring the title, they told him it was the second part of the ingenious gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha, written by such a one, of Tordesillas.

"I know something of that book," quoth Don Quixote, "and, on my conscience, I thought it had been burnt long before now for its stupidity; but its Martinmas will come, as it does to every hog. Works of invention are only so far good as they come near to truth and probability; as general history is valuable in proportion as it is authentic."

Rashness is not valor; doubtful hopes ought to make men resolute, not rash.

There is a remedy for all things except death.

Between said and done A long race may be run.

He whom Heaven favors may St. Peter bless.

They that give must take.

Where there are hooks, we do not always find bacon.

Good expectation is better than bad possession.

To-day for you, and to-morrow for me.

He that falls to-day may rise to-morrow.

Great hearts should be patient under misfortunes, as well as joyful when all goes well.

I have heard say, she they call Fortune is a drunken, freakish dame, and withal so blind that she does not see what she is about; neither whom she raises, nor whom she pulls down.

One thing I must tell thee, there is no such thing in the world as fortune; nor do the events which fall out, whether good or evil, proceed from chance, but from the particular appointment of Heaven,—and hence comes the usual saying, that every man is the maker of his own fortune.

The faults of the ass should not be laid on the pack-saddle.

When it rains let the shower fall upon my cloak.

"Observe, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "there is a great deal of difference between love and gratitude. It is very possible for a gentleman not to be in love; but, strictly speaking, it is impossible he should be ungrateful."

The sin will cease when the temptation is removed.

The heart will not grieve for what the eye doth not perceive.

What prayers can ne'er gain, a leap from a hedge may obtain.

Proverbs are short maxims of human wisdom, the result of experience and observation, and are the gifts of ancient sages; yet the proverb which is not aptly applied, instead of being wisdom, is stark nonsense.

It is the part of a good servant to sympathize with his master's pains.

"Methinks," quoth Sancho, "that a man cannot be suffering much when he can turn his brain to verse-making."


"No entiendo eso," replied Sancho; "solo entiendo que en tanto que duermo, ni tengo temor, ni esperanza, ni trabajo, ni gloria; y bien haya el que invento el sueno, capa que cubre todos los humanos pensamientos, manjar que quita la hambre, agua que ahuyenta la sed, fuego que calienta el frio, frio que templa el ardor, y finalmente moneda general con que todas las cosas se compran, balanza y peso que iguala al pastor con el rey, y al simple con el discreto. Sola una cosa tiene mala el sueno, segun he oido decir, y es que se parece a la muerte, pues de un dormido a un muerto hay muy poca diferencia."

"I know not what that means," replied Sancho; "I only know that while I am asleep I have neither fear, nor hope, nor trouble, nor glory. Blessings light on him who first invented sleep! Sleep is the mantle that shrouds all human thoughts; the food that dispels hunger; the drink that quenches thirst; the fire that warms the cold; the cool breeze that moderates heat; in a word, the general coin that purchases every commodity; the weight and balance that makes the shepherd even with his sovereign, and the simple with the sage. There is only one bad circumstance, as I have heard, in sleep: it resembles death, inasmuch as between a dead corse and a sleeping man there is no apparent difference."

"Enjoy thy repose," said Don Quixote; "thou wast born to sleep and I to watch; and, during the little of night that remains, I will give my thoughts the rein, and cool the furnace of my reflections with a short madrigal, which I have this evening, unknown to thee, composed in my own mind."

Amor, cuando yo pienso En el mal que me das terrible y fuerte, Voy corriendo a la muerte, Pensando asi acabar mi mal inmenso:

Mas en llegando al paso, Que es puerto en este mar de mi tormento, Tanta alegria siento, Que la vida se esfuerza, y no le paso.

Asi el vivir me mata, Que la muerte me torna a dar la vida. O condicion no oida, La que conmigo muerte y vida trata!

O love! when, sick of heart-felt grief, I sigh, and drag thy cruel chain, To death I fly, the sure relief Of those who groan in lingering pain.

But coming to the fatal gates, The port in this my sea of woe, The joy I feel new life creates, And bids my spirits brisker flow.

Thus dying every hour I live, And living I resign my breath. Strange power of love, that thus can give A dying life and living death!

Till Heaven, in pity to the weeping world, Shall give Altisidora back to day, By Quixote's scorn to realms of Pluto hurled, Her every charm to cruel death a prey; While matrons throw their gorgeous robes away, To mourn a nymph by cold disdain betrayed: To the complaining lyre's enchanting lay I'll sing the praises of this hapless maid, In sweeter notes than Thracian Orpheus ever played.

Nor shall my numbers with my life expire, Or this world's light confine the boundless song: To thee, bright maid, in death I'll touch the lyre, And to my soul the theme shall still belong. When, freed from clay, the flitting ghosts among, My spirit glides the Stygian shores around, Though the cold hand of death has sealed my tongue, Thy praise the infernal caverns shall rebound, And Lethe's sluggish waves move slower to the sound.

Better kill me outright than break my back with other men's burdens.

Sleep is the best cure for waking troubles.

Devils, play or not play, win or not win, can never be content.

History that is good, faithful, and true, will survive for ages; but should it have none of these qualities, its passage will be short between the cradle and the grave.

As for dying for love, it is all a jest; your lovers, indeed, may easily say they are dying, but that they will actually give up the ghost, believe it—Judas.

"Madam," said he, "your ladyship should know that the chief cause of this good damsel's suffering is idleness, the remedy whereof is honest and constant employment. Lace, she tells me, is much worn in purgatory, and since she cannot but know how to make it, let her stick to that; for, while her fingers are assiduously employed with her bobbins, the images that now haunt her imagination will keep aloof, and leave her mind tranquil and happy. This, madam, is my opinion and advice."

"And mine, too," added Sancho, "for I never in my life heard of a lacemaker that died for love; for your damsels that bestir themselves at some honest labor think more of their work than of their sweethearts. I know it by myself; when I am digging, I never think of my Teresa, though, God bless her! I love her more than my very eyelids."

Railing among lovers is the next neighbor to forgiveness.

The ass will carry the load, but not a double load.

When money's paid before it's due, A broken limb will straight ensue.

Delay breeds danger.

Pray to God devoutly, And hammer away stoutly.

A sparrow in the hand is worth an eagle on the wing.

"No more proverbs, for God's sake," quoth Don Quixote, "for, methinks, Sancho, thou art losing ground, and returning to sicut erat. Speak plainly, as I have often told thee, and thou wilt find it worth a loaf per cent to thee."

"I know not how I came by this unlucky trick," replied Sancho: "I cannot bring you in three words to the purpose without a proverb, nor give you a proverb which, to my thinking, is not to the purpose;—but I will try to mend."

The straw is too hard to make pipes of.

The knight and squire ascended a little eminence, whence they discovered their village; which Sancho no sooner beheld than, kneeling down, he said: "Open thine eyes, O my beloved country! and behold thy son, Sancho Panza, returning to thee again, if not rich, yet well whipped! Open thine arms, and receive thy son Don Quixote, too! who, though worsted by another, has conquered himself, which, as I have heard say, is the best kind of victory! Money I have gotten, and though I have been soundly banged, I have come off like a gentleman."

"Leave these fooleries, Sancho," quoth Don Quixote, "and let us go directly to our homes, where we will give full scope to our imagination, and settle our intended scheme of a pastoral life."

It must here be mentioned that Sancho Panza, by way of sumpter-cloth, had thrown the buckram robe painted with flames, which he had worn on the night of Altisidora's revival, upon his ass. He likewise clapped the mitre on Dapple's head,—in short, never was an ass so honored and bedizened. The priest and bachelor, immediately recognizing their friends, ran toward them with open arms. Don Quixote alighted, and embraced them cordially. In the mean time, the boys, whose keen eyes nothing can escape, came flocking from all parts.

"Ho!" cries one, "here comes Sancho Panza's ass, as gay as a parrot, and Don Quixote's old horse, leaner than ever!"

Thus, surrounded by the children and accompanied by the priest and the bachelor, they proceeded through the village till they arrived at Don Quixote's house, where, at the door, they found the housekeeper and the niece, who had already heard of his arrival. It had likewise reached the ears of Sancho's wife, Teresa, who, half-naked, with her hair about her ears, and dragging Sanchica after her, ran to meet her husband; and seeing him not so well equipped as she thought a governor ought to be, she said: "What makes you come thus, dear husband? methinks you come afoot and foundered! This, I trow, is not as a governor should look."

"Peace, wife," quoth Sancho; "the bacon is not so easily found as the pin to hang it on. Let us go home, and there you shall hear wonders. I have got money, and honestly, too, without wronging anybody."

"Hast thou got money, good husband? Nay, then, 't is well, however it be gotten; for, well or ill, it will have brought up no new custom in the world."

All things human, especially the lives of men, are transitory, ever advancing from their beginning to their decline and final determination.

"The greatest folly," said Sancho, "that a man can commit in this world, is to give himself up to death without any good cause for it, but only from melancholy."


"I feel, good sirs," said Don Quixote, "that death advances fast upon me. Let us then be serious, and bring me a confessor, and a notary to draw up my will, for a man in my state must not trifle with his soul. Let the notary be sent for, I beseech you, while my friend here, the priest, is taking my confession."

The priest, having listened to his dying friend's confession, came out of the room and told them that the good Alonzo Quixano was near his end, and certainly in his right senses; he therefore advised them to go in, as it was full time that his will should be made. These tidings gave a terrible stab to the overcharged hearts of the two ladies and his faithful squire, whose eyes overflowed with weeping, and whose bosoms had well-nigh burst with a thousand sighs and groans; for, indeed, it must be owned, as we have somewhere observed, that whether in the character of Alonzo Quixano the Good, or in the capacity of Don Quixote de la Mancha, the poor gentleman had always exhibited marks of a peaceable temper and agreeable demeanor, for which he was beloved, not only by his own family, but also by all those who had the pleasure of his acquaintance.

The notary entering the apartment with the rest of the company, wrote the preamble of the will, in which Don Quixote disposed of his soul in all the necessary Christian forms; then proceeding to the legacies, he said:—

"Item: whereas, Sancho Panza, whom, in my madness, I made my squire, has in his hands a certain sum of money for my use; and, as divers accounts, disbursements, and pecuniary transactions have passed between us, it is my will that he shall not be charged or brought to account for the said money; but, if there be any overplus after he has deducted the payment of what I owe him, the said overplus, which must be a mere trifle, shall be his own, and much good may it do him; and as, during my disorder, I contributed to his being made governor of an island, I would now, while I enjoy my perfect senses, confer upon him, were it in my power, a whole kingdom, which he richly deserves for the innocency of his heart and the fidelity of his service."

Then turning to the disconsolate squire, "Forgive me, friend," said he, "for having been the cause of thy appearing in the eye of the world a madman like myself, by drawing thee into my erroneous notions concerning the existence and adventures of knights-errant."

"Gentlemen," said Don Quixote, "let us proceed fair and softly. I was mad, I am now sane; I was Don Quixote de la Mancha; I am now, as formerly styled, Alonzo Quixano the Good. And may my repentance and sincerity restore me to the esteem you once had for me. Now let the notary proceed.

"Item: I bequeath to Antonia Quixano, my niece, here present, all my estate, real and personal, after the payment of all my debts and legacies; and the first to be discharged shall be the wages due to my housekeeper for the time she has been in my service, and twenty ducats besides for a suit of mourning.

"I appoint for my executors signor the priest and signor bachelor Sampson Carrasco, here present.

"Item: It is also my will that, if Antonia Quixano, my niece, should be inclined to marry, it shall be only with a man who, upon the strictest inquiry, shall be found to know nothing of books of chivalry; and, in case it appear that he is acquainted with such books, and that my niece, notwithstanding, will and doth marry him, then shall she forfeit all I have bequeathed her, which my executors may dispose of in pious uses as they think proper.

"And, finally, I beseech the said gentlemen, my executors, that if haply they should come to the knowledge of the author of a certain history dispersed abroad, entitled, 'The Second Part of the Achievements of Don Quixote de la Mancha,' that they will, in my name, most earnestly entreat him to forgive me for having been the innocent cause of his writing such a number of absurdities as that performance contains; for I quit this life with some scruples of conscience arising from that consideration."

The will being thus concluded, he was seized with a fainting-fit, and stretched himself at full length in the bed, so that all the company were alarmed and ran to his assistance. During three days which he lived after the will was signed and sealed, he frequently fainted, and the whole family was in confusion. Nevertheless, the niece ate her victuals, the housekeeper drank to the repose of his soul, and even Sancho cherished his little carcass; for the prospect of succession either dispels or moderates that affliction which an heir ought to feel at the death of the testator.

At last Don Quixote expired, after having received all the sacraments, and in the strongest terms, pathetically enforced, expressed his abomination against all books of chivalry; and the notary observed, that in all the books of that kind which he had perused, he had never read of any knight-errant who died quietly in his bed as a good Christian, like Don Quixote; who, amidst the tears and lamentations of all present, gave up the ghost, or, in other words, departed this life. The curate was no sooner certified of his decease, than he desired the notary to make out a testimonial, declaring that Alonzo Quixano the Good, commonly called Don Quixote de la Mancha, had taken his departure from this life, and died of a natural death; that no other author, different from Cid Hamet Benengeli, should falsely pretend to raise him from the dead, and write endless histories of his achievements.

This was the end of that extraordinary gentleman of La Mancha, whose birthplace Cid Hamet was careful to conceal, that all the towns and villages of that province might contend for the honor of having produced him, as did the seven cities of Greece for the glory of giving birth to Homer. The lamentations of Sancho, the niece and the housekeeper, are not here given, nor the new epitaphs on the tomb of the deceased knight, except the following one, composed by Sampson Carrasco:—

Here lies the valiant cavalier, Who never had a sense of fear: So high his matchless courage rose, He reckoned death among his vanquished foes.

Wrongs to redress, his sword he drew, And many a caitiff giant slew; His days of life though madness stained, In death his sober senses he regained.


[1] Rodrigo de Bivar, or the Cid, the national champion of Spain.

[2] Some biographers have it that the house was in the Calle de Leon, afterwards the royal asylum, and that his wife and sister had belonged to the third order of St. Francis for seven years before his death.

[3] Showing that Cervantes was familiar with the Bible as well as Latin classics.

[4] Showing also his familiarity with AEsop.

[5] The king's morsel is better than the lord's bounty.

[6] Certain churches, with indulgences, appointed to be visited, either for pardon of sins, or for procuring blessings. Madmen, probably, in their lucid intervals, were obliged to this exercise.

[7] "From a friend to a friend, a bug in the eye," is a proverb applied to the false professions of friendship.

[8] Cervantes makes frequent use of Bible quotations.

[9] A Sicilian, native of Catania, who lived in the latter part of the sixteenth century. He was commonly called Pesce-cola, or Fish-Nicholas, and is said to have lived so much in the water from his infancy, that he could cleave the waters in the midst of a storm like a marine animal.

[10] Zapateadores: dancers that strike the soles of their shoes with the palms of their hands, in time and measure.

[11] The phrase, No quiero de tu capilla, alludes to the practice of friars, who, when charity is offered, hold out their hoods to receive it, while they pronounce a refusal with their tongues.

[12] The entire proverb is: "He whose father is mayor goes safe to his trial."

[13] The proverb is: "To keep silence well is called Santo."

[14] Jarvis's translation.

[15] Trunk-hose were prohibited by royal decree shortly after the publication of Don Quixote.

[16] It was customary for men of quality to wear a veil or mask depending from the covering worn on the head, in order to shield the face from the sun.

University Press: John Wilson and Son, Cambridge.


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