HotFreeBooks.com
Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

"That is very true," quoth Sampson; "and if it please God, Sancho will not want a thousand islands to govern, much less one."

"I have seen governors ere now," quoth Sancho, "who, in my opinion, do not come up to the sole of my shoe; and yet they are called 'your lordship,' and eat their victuals upon plate."

With hay or with straw it is all the same.

Much knowledge and a mature understanding are requisite for an historian.

Wit and humor belong to genius alone.

The wittiest person in the comedy is he that plays the fool.

History is a sacred subject, because the soul of it is truth; and where truth is, there the divinity will reside; yet there are some who compose and cast off books as if they were tossing up a dish of pancakes.

There is no book so bad but something good may be found in it.

Printed works may be read leisurely, their defects easily seen, so they are scrutinized more or less strictly in proportion to the celebrity of the author.

"Men of great talents, whether poets or historians, seldom escape the attacks of those who, without ever favoring the world with any production of their own, take delight in criticising the works of others."

"Nor can we wonder at that," said Don Quixote, "when we observe the same practice among divines, who, though dull enough in the pulpit themselves, are wonderfully sharp-sighted in discovering the defects of other preachers."

"True, indeed, Signor Don Quixote," said Carrasco; "I wish critics would be less fastidious, nor dwell so much upon the motes which may be discerned even in the brightest works; for, though aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus, they ought to consider how much he was awake to produce a work with so much light and so little shade; nay, perhaps even his seeming blemishes are like moles, which are sometimes thought to be rather an improvement to beauty. But it cannot be denied that whoever publishes a book to the world, exposes himself to imminent peril, since, of all things, nothing is more impossible than to satisfy everybody. Above all, I would let my master know that, if he takes me with him, it must be upon condition that he shall battle it all himself, and that I shall only have to tend his person—I mean, look after his clothes and food; all which I will do with a hearty good-will; but if he expects I will lay hand to my sword, though it be only against beggarly wood-cutters with hooks and hatchets, he is very much mistaken. I, Signor Sampson, do not set up for being the most valiant, but the best and most faithful squire that ever served knight-errant; and if my lord Don Quixote, in consideration of my many and good services, shall please to bestow on me some one of the many islands his worship says he shall light upon, I shall be much beholden to him for the favor; and if he give me none, here I am, and it is better to trust God than each other; and mayhap my government bread might not go down so sweet as that which I should eat without it; and how? do I know but the devil, in one of these governments, might set up a stumbling-block in my way, over which I might fall, and dash out my grinders? Sancho I was born, and Sancho I expect to die; yet for all that, if, fairly and squarely, without much care or much risk, Heaven should chance to throw an island, or some such thing, in my way, I am not such a fool neither as to refuse it; for, as the saying is, 'when the heifer is offered, be ready with the rope.'"

When good fortune knocks, make haste to bid her welcome.

"Brother Sancho," quoth the bachelor, "you have spoken like any professor; nevertheless, trust in Heaven and Signor Don Quixote, and then you may get not only an island but even a kingdom."

"One as likely as the other," answered Sancho, "though I could tell Signor Carrasco that my master will not throw the kingdom he gives me into a rotten sack; for I have felt my pulse, and find myself strong enough to rule kingdoms and govern islands; and so much I have signified before now to my master."

"Take heed, Sancho," quoth the bachelor, "for honors change manners; and it may come to pass, when you are a governor, that you may not know even your own mother."

"That," answered Sancho, "may be the case with those that are born among the mallows, but not with one whose soul, like mine, is covered four inches thick with the grace of an old Christian. No, no, I am not one of the ungrateful sort."

"Heaven grant it," said Don Quixote; "but we shall see when the government comes, and methinks I have it already in my eye."

Sancho went home in such high spirits that his wife observed his gayety a bow-shot off, insomuch that she could not help saying, "What makes you look so blithe, friend Sancho?"

To which he answered: "Would to Heaven, dear wife, I were not so well pleased as I seem to be!"

"I know not what you mean, husband," replied she, "by saying you wish you were not so much pleased; now, silly as I am, I cannot guess how any one can desire not to be pleased."

"Look you, Teresa," answered Sancho, "I am thus merry because I am about to return to the service of my master, Don Quixote, who is going again in search after adventures, and I am to accompany him, for so my fate wills it. Besides, I am merry with the hopes of finding another hundred crowns like those we have spent, though it grieves me to part from you and my children; and if Heaven would be pleased to give me bread, dryshod and at home, without dragging me over crags and cross-paths, it is plain that my joy would be better grounded, since it is now mingled with sorrow for leaving you; so that I was right in saying that I should be glad if it pleased Heaven I were not so Well pleased."

"Look you, Sancho," replied Teresa, "ever since you have been a knight-errant man you talk in such a roundabout manner that nobody can understand you."

"It is enough, wife," said Sancho, "that God understands me, for He is the understander of all things; and so much for that. And do you hear, wife, it behooves you to take special care of Dapple for these three or four days to come, that he may be in a condition to bear arms; so double his allowance, and get the pack-saddle in order and the rest of his tackling, for we are not going to a wedding, but to roam about the world and to give and take with giants, fiery dragons, and goblins, and to hear hissings, roarings, bellowings, and bleatings, all which would be but flowers of lavender if we had not to do with Yangueses and enchanted Moors."

"I believe, indeed, husband," replied Teresa, "that your squires-errant do not eat their bread for nothing, and therefore I shall not fail to beseech Heaven to deliver you speedily from so much evil hap."

"I tell you, wife," answered Sancho, "that did I not expect, ere long, to see myself governor of an island, I vow I should drop down dead upon the spot."

"Not so, good husband," quoth Teresa, "let the hen live, though it be with the pip. Do you live, and the devil take all the governments in the world! Without a government you came into the world, without a government you have lived till now, and without it you can be carried to your grave whenever it shall please God. How many folks are there in the world that have no government! and yet they live and are reckoned among the people. The best sauce in the world is hunger, and as that is never wanting to the poor, they always eat with a relish. But if, perchance, Sancho, you should get a government, do not forget me and your children. Consider that your son Sancho is just fifteen years old, and it is fit he should go to school if his uncle the abbot means to breed him up to the church. Consider, also, that Mary Sancha, your daughter, will not break her heart if we marry her; for I am mistaken if she has not as much mind to a husband as you have to a government. And verily say I, better a daughter but humbly married than highly kept."

"In good faith, dear wife," said Sancho, "if Heaven be so good to me that I get anything like a government, I will match Mary Sancha so highly that there will be no coming near her without calling her your ladyship."

"Not so, Sancho," answered Teresa, "the best way is to marry her to her equal; for if you lift her from clouted shoes to high heels, and instead of her russet coat of fourteenpenny stuff, give her a farthingale and petticoats of silk, and instead of plain Molly and thou she be called madam and your ladyship, the girl will not know where she is and will fall into a thousand mistakes at every step, showing her homespun country stuff."

"Peace, fool!" quoth Sancho, "she has only to practise two or three years and the gravity will set upon her as if it were made for her; and if not, what matters it? Let her be a lady, and come of it what will."

"Measure yourself by your condition, Sancho," answered Teresa, "and do not seek to raise yourself higher, but remember the proverb, 'Wipe your neighbor's son's nose and take him into your house.' It would be a pretty business, truly, to marry our Mary to some great count or knight, who, when the fancy takes him, would look upon her as some strange thing, and be calling her country-wench, clod-breaker's brat, and I know not what else. No, not while I live, husband; I have not brought up my child to be so used. Do you provide money, Sancho, and leave the matching of her to my care; for there is Lope Tocho, John Tocho's son, a lusty, hale young man, whom we know, and I am sure he has a sneaking kindness for the girl. To him she will be very well married, considering he is our equal, and will be always under our eye; and we shall be all as one, parents and children, grandsons and sons-in-law, and so the peace and blessing of Heaven will be among us all; and do not you be for marrying her at your courts and great palaces, where they will neither understand her nor she understand herself."

"Hark you, beast, and wife for Barabbas," replied Sancho, "why would you now, without rhyme or reason, hinder me from marrying my daughter with one who may bring me grandchildren that may be styled your lordships? Look you, Teresa, I have always heard my betters say, 'He that will not when he may, when he will he shall have nay'; and it would be wrong, now that fortune is knocking at our door, not to open it and bid her welcome. Let us spread our sail to the favorable gale, now that it blows.' ... Can't you perceive, animal, with half an eye," proceeded Sancho, "that I shall act wisely, in devoting this body of mine to some beneficial government that will lift us out of the dirt, and enable me to match Mary Sancha according to my own good pleasure; then wilt thou hear thyself called Donna Teresa Panza, and find thyself seated at church upon carpets, cushions, and tapestry, in despite and defiance of all the small gentry in the parish; and not be always in the same moping circumstances, without increase or diminution, like a picture in the hangings. But no more of this; Sanchica shall be a countess, though thou shouldst cry thy heart out."

"Look before you leap, husband," answered Teresa; "after all, I wish to God this quality of my daughter may not be the cause of her perdition; take your own way, and make her duchess or princess, or what you please; but I'll assure you it shall never be with my consent or good-will; I was always a lover of equality, my dear, and can't bear to see people hold their heads high without reason. Teresa was I christened, a bare and simple name, without the addition, garniture, and embroidery of Don or Donna; my father's name is Cascajo, and mine, as being your spouse, Teresa Panza, though by rights I should be called Teresa Cascajo; but as the king minds, the law binds; and with that name am I contented, though it be not burdened with a Don, which weighs so heavy that I should not be able to bear it. Neither will I put it in the power of those who see me dressed like a countess or governor's lady, to say: 'Mind Mrs. Porkfeeder, how proud she looks! it was but yesterday she toiled hard at the distaff, and went to mass with the tail of her gown about her head, instead of a veil; but now, forsooth, she has got her fine farthingales and jewels, and holds up her head as if we did not know her.' If God preserves me in my seven or five senses, or as many as they be, I shall never bring myself into such a quandary. As for your part, spouse, you may go to your governments and islands, and be as proud as a peacock; but as for my daughter and me, by the life of my father! we will not stir one step from the village; for, the wife that deserves a good name, stays at home as if she were lame; and the maid must be still a-doing, that hopes to see the men come awooing."

He that covers, discovers.

The poor man is scarcely looked at, while every eye is turned upon the rich; and if the poor man grows rich and great, then I warrant you there is work enough for your grumblers and backbiters, who swarm everywhere like bees.

"The first time, he was brought home to us laid athwart an ass, all battered and bruised. The second time he returned in an ox-wagon, locked up in a cage, and so changed, poor soul, that his own mother would not have known him; so feeble, wan, and withered, and his eyes sunk into the farthest corner of his brains, insomuch that it took me above six hundred eggs to get him a little up again, as Heaven and the world is my witness, and my hens, that will not let me lie."

"I can easily believe that," answered the bachelor; "for your hens are too well bred and fed to say one thing and mean another."

All objects present to the view exist, and are impressed upon the imagination with much greater energy and force, than those which we only remember to have seen.

When we see any person finely dressed, and set off with rich apparel and with a train of servants, we are moved to show him respect; for, though we cannot but remember certain scurvy matters either of poverty or parentage, that formerly belonged to him, but which being long gone by are almost forgotten, we only think of what we see before our eyes. And if, as the preacher said, the person so raised by good luck, from nothing, as it were, to the tip-top of prosperity, be well behaved, generous, and civil, and gives himself no ridiculous airs, pretending to vie with the old nobility, take my word for it, Teresa, nobody will twit him with what he was, but will respect him for what he is; except, indeed the envious, who hate every man's good luck.

People are always ready enough to lend their money to governors.

Clothe the boy so that he may look not like what he is, but what he may be.

To this burden women are born, they must obey their husbands if they are ever such blockheads.

He that's coy when fortune's kind, may after seek but never find.

All knights cannot be courtiers, neither can all courtiers be knights.

The courtier knight travels only on a map, without fatigue or expense; he neither suffers heat nor cold, hunger nor thirst; while the true knight-errant explores every quarter of the habitable world, and is by night and day, on foot or on horseback, exposed to all the vicissitudes of the weather.

All are not affable and well-bred; on the contrary, some there are extremely brutal and impolite. All those who call themselves knights, are not entitled to that distinction; some being of pure gold, and others of baser metal, notwithstanding the denomination they assume. But these last cannot stand the touch-stone of truth; there are mean plebeians, who sweat and struggle to maintain the appearance of gentlemen; and, on the other hand, there are gentlemen of rank who seem industrious to appear mean and degenerate; the one sort raise themselves either by ambition or virtue, while the other abase themselves by viciousness or sloth; so that we must avail ourselves of our understanding and discernment in distinguishing those persons, who, though they bear the same appellation, are yet so different in point of character. All the genealogies in the world may be reduced to four kinds. The first are those families who from a low beginning have raised and extended themselves, until they have reached the highest pinnacle of human greatness; the second are those of high extraction, who have preserved their original dignity; the third sort are those who, from a great foundation, have gradually dwindled, until, like a pyramid, they terminate in a small point. The last, which are the most numerous class, are those who have begun and continue low, and who must end the same.

Genealogies are involved in endless confusion, and those only are illustrious and great who are distinguished by their virtue and liberality, as well as their riches; for the great man who is vicious is only a great sinner, and the rich man who wants liberality is but a miserly pauper.

The gratification which wealth can bestow is not in mere possession, nor in lavishing it with prodigality, but in the wise application of it.

The poor knight can only manifest his rank by his virtues and general conduct. He must be well-bred, courteous, kind, and obliging; not proud nor arrogant; no murmurer. Above all, he must be charitable, and by two maravedis given cheerfully to the poor he shall display as much generosity as the rich man who bestows large alms by sound of bell. Of such a man no one would doubt his honorable descent, and general applause wall be the sure reward of his virtue.

There are two roads by which men may attain riches and honor: the one by letters, the other by arms.

The path of virtue is narrow, that of vice is spacious and broad; as the great Castilian poet expresses it:—

"By these rough paths of toil and pain The immortal seats of bliss we gain, Denied to those who heedless stray In tempting pleasure's flowery way."

Fast bind, fast find.

He who shuffles is not he who cuts.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Though there is little in a woman's advice, yet he that won't take it is not over-wise.

We are all mortal: here to-day and gone to-morrow.

The lamb goes to the spit as soon as the sheep.

No man in this world can promise himself more hours of life than God is pleased to grant him; because death if deaf, and when he knocks at the door of life is always in a hurry, and will not be detained either by fair means or force, by sceptres or mitres, as the report goes, and as we have often heard it declared from the pulpit.

The hen sits, if it be but upon one egg.

Many littles make a mickle, and he that is getting aught is losing naught.

While there are peas in the dove-cote, it shall never want pigeons.

A good reversion is better than bad possession, and a good claim better than bad pay.

The bread eaten, the company broke up.

A man must be a man, and a woman a woman.

Nothing inspires a knight-errant with so much valor as the favor of his mistress.

O envy! thou root of infinite mischief and canker-worm of virtue! The commission of all other vices, Sancho, is attended with some sort of delight; but envy produces nothing in the heart that harbors it but rage, rancor, and disgust.

The love of fame is one of the most active principles in the human breast.

Let us keep our holy days in peace, and not throw the rope after the bucket.

"And now pray tell me which is the most difficult, to raise a dead man to life or to slay a giant?"

"The answer is very obvious," answered Don Quixote; "to raise a dead man."

"There I have caught you!" quoth Sancho. "Then his fame who raises the dead, gives sight to the blind, makes the lame walk, and cures the sick; who has lamps burning near his grave, and good Christians always in his chapels, adoring his relics upon their knees,—his fame, I say, shall be greater both in this world and the next than that which all the heathen emperors and knights-errant in the world ever had or ever shall have."

"I grant it," answered Don Quixote.

"Then," replied Sancho, "the bodies and relics of saints have this power and grace, and these privileges, or how do you call them, and with the license of our holy mother church have their lamps, winding-sheets, crutches, pictures, perukes, eyes, and legs, whereby they increase people's devotion and spread abroad their own Christian fame. Kings themselves carry the bodies or relics of saints upon their shoulders, kiss the fragments of their bones, and adorn their chapels and most favorite altars with them."

"Certainly, but what wouldst thou infer from all this, Sancho?" quoth Don Quixote.

"What I mean," said Sancho, "is, that we had better turn saints immediately, and we shall then soon get that fame we are seeking after. And pray take notice, sir, that it was but yesterday—I mean very lately—a couple of poor barefooted friars were canonized, and people now reckon it a greater happiness to touch or kiss the iron chains that bound them, and which are now held in greater veneration than Orlando's sword in the armory of our lord the king, Heaven save him; so that it is better to be a poor friar of the meanest order than the bravest knight-errant, because four dozen of good penitent lashes are more esteemed in the sight of God than two thousand tilts with a lance, though it be against giants, goblins, or dragons."

"I confess," answered Don Quixote, "all this is true. We cannot all be friars, and many and various are the ways by which God conducts his elect to Heaven. Chivalry is a kind of religious profession, and some knights are now saints in glory."

"True," quoth Sancho, "but I have heard say there are more friars in Heaven than knights-errant."

"It may well be so," replied Don Quixote, "because their number is much greater than that of knights-errant."

"And yet," quoth Sancho, "there are abundance of the errant sort."

"Abundance, indeed," answered Don Quixote, "but few who deserve the name of knight."

There is a time for jesting, and a time when jokes are unseasonable.

Truth may bend but never break, and will ever rise above falsehood, like oil above water.

With lovers the external actions and gestures are couriers, which bear authentic tidings of what is passing in the interior of the soul.

A stout heart flings misfortune.

Where you meet with no books you need expect no bacon.

The hare often starts where the hunter least expects her.

There is a remedy for everything but death, who will take us in his clutches spite of our teeth.

Show me who thou art with, and I will tell thee what thou art.

Not with whom thou wert bred, but with whom thou art fed.

Sorrow was made for man, not for beasts; yet if men encourage melancholy too much, they become no better than beasts.

"Thou bringest me good news, then?" cried Don Quixote.

"So good," answered Sancho, "that your worship has only to clap spurs to Rozinante, and get out upon the plain, to see the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, who, with a couple of her damsels, is coming to pay your worship a visit."

"Gracious Heaven!" exclaimed Don Quixote, "what dost thou say? Take care that thou beguilest not my real sorrow by a counterfeit joy."

"What should I get," answered Sancho, "by deceiving your worship, only to be found out the next moment? Come, sir, put on, and you will see the princess our mistress all arrayed and adorned—in short, like herself. She and her damsels are one blaze of naming gold; all strings of pearls, all diamonds, all rubies, all cloth of tissue above ten hands deep; their hair loose about their shoulders, like so many sunbeams blowing about in the wind; and what is more, they come mounted upon three pied belfreys, the finest you ever laid eyes on."

"Palfreys, thou wouldst say, Sancho," quoth Don Quixote.

"Well, well," answered Sancho, "belfreys and palfreys are much the same thing; but let them be mounted how they will, they are sure the finest creatures one would wish to see; especially my mistress the princess Dulcinea, who dazzles one's senses."

They were now got out of the wood, and saw the three wenches very near.

Don Quixote looked eagerly along the road towards Toboso, and seeing nobody but the three wenches, he asked Sancho, in much agitation, whether they were out of the city when he left them.

"Out of the city!" answered Sancho; "are your worship's eyes in the nape of your neck, that you do not see them now before you, shining like the sun at noon-day?"

"I see only three country girls," answered Don Quixote, "on three asses."

"Now, Heaven keep me from the devil," answered Sancho; "is it possible that three palfreys, or how do you call them, white as the driven snow, should look to you like asses? As the Lord liveth, you shall pluck off this beard of mine if it be so."

"I tell thee, friend Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "that it is as certain they are asses, as that I am Don Quixote and thou Sancho Panza;—at least, so they seem to me."

"Sir," quoth Sancho, "say not such a thing; but snuff those eyes of yours, and come and pay reverence to the mistress of your soul." So saying he advanced forward to meet the peasant girls, and, alighting from Dapple, he laid hold of one of their asses by the halter, and bending both knees to the ground, said to the girl: "Queen, princess, and duchess of beauty, let your haughtiness and greatness be pleased to receive into grace and good-liking your captive knight, who stands turned there into stone, all disorder, and without any pulse, to find himself before your magnificent presence. I am Sancho Panza, his squire, and he is that way-worn knight Don Quixote de la Mancha, otherwise called the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure."

It is not courage, but rashness, for one man singly to encounter an army, where death is present, and where emperors fight in person, assisted by good and bad angels.

Good Christians should never revenge injuries.

A sparrow in the hand is better than a vulture on the wing.

At the conclusion of this drama of life, death strips us of the robes which make the difference between man and man, and leaves us all on one level in the grave.

From a friend to a friend,[7] etc.

Nor let it be taken amiss that any comparison should be made between the mutual cordiality of animals and that of men; for much useful knowledge and many salutary precepts have been taught by the brute creation.

We may learn gratitude as well as vigilance from cranes, foresight from ants, modesty from elephants, and loyalty from horses.

Harken, and we shall discover his thoughts by his song, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.[8]

SONNET.

Bright authoress of my good or ill, Prescribe the law I must observe; My heart, obedient to thy will, Shall never from its duty swerve.

If you refuse my griefs to know, The stifled anguish seals my fate; But if your ears would drink my woe, Love shall himself the tale relate.

Though contraries my heart compose, Hard as the diamond's solid frame, And soft as yielding wax that flows, To thee, my fair, 'tis still the same.

Take it, for every stamp prepared; Imprint what characters you choose; The faithful tablet, soft or hard, The dear impression ne'er shall lose.

The sorrows that may arise from well-placed affections, ought rather to be accounted blessings than calamities.

Good fare lessens care.

The rarest sporting is that we find at other people's cost.

Covetousness bursts the bag.

Other folk's burdens break the ass's back.

There is no road so smooth but it has its stumbling-places.

Madness will have more followers than discretion.

Comparisons in grief lessen its weight.

If the blind lead the blind, both may fall into the ditch.

A good paymaster needs no pledge.

Nobody knows the heart of his neighbor; some go out for wool and come home shorn.

Let us drink and live, for time takes care to rid us of our lives, without our seeking ways to go before our appointed term and season.

"You must know I have had in my family, by the father's side, two of the rarest tasters that were ever known in La Mancha; and I will give you a proof of their skill. A certain hogshead was given to each of them to taste, and their opinion asked as to the condition, quality, goodness, or badness, of the wine. One tried it with the tip of his tongue; the other only put it to his nose. The first said the wine savored of iron; the second said it had rather a twang of goat's leather. The owner protested that the vessel was clean, and the wine neat, so that it could not taste either of iron or leather. Notwithstanding this, the two famous tasters stood positively to what they had said. Time went on; the wine was sold off, and, on cleaning the cask, a small key, hanging to a leathern thong, was found at the bottom. Judge then, sir, whether one of that race may not be well entitled to give his opinion in these matters."

"That being the case," quoth he of the wood, "we should leave off seeking adventures, and, since we have a good loaf, let us not look for cheesecakes."

The conquered must be at the discretion of the conqueror.

It is easy to undertake, but more difficult to finish a thing.

"Pray, which is the greater madman, he who is so because he cannot help it, or he who is so on purpose?"

"The difference between these two sorts of madmen is," replied Sampson, "that he who cannot help it will remain so, and he who deliberately plays the fool may leave off when he thinks fit."

Heaven knows the truth of all things.

The ancient sages, who were not enlightened with the knowledge of the true God, reckoned the gifts of fortune and nature, abundance of friends, and increase of dutiful children, as constituting part of the supreme happiness.

Letters without virtue are like pearls on a dunghill.

DON QUIXOTE ON POETRY.

Poetry I regard as a tender virgin, young and extremely beautiful, whom divers other virgins—namely, all the other sciences—are assiduous to enrich, to polish, and adorn. She is to be served by them, and they are to be ennobled through her. But the same virgin is not to be rudely handled, nor dragged through the streets, nor exposed in the market-places, nor posted on the corners of gates of palaces. She is of so exquisite a nature that he who knows how to treat her will convert her into gold of the most inestimable value. He who possesses her should guard her with vigilance; neither suffering her to be polluted by obscene, nor degraded by dull and frivolous works. Although she must be in no wise venal, she is not, therefore, to despise the fair reward of honorable labors, either in heroic or dramatic composition. Buffoons must not come near her, neither must she be approached by the ignorant vulgar, who have no sense of her charms; and this term is equally applicable to all ranks, for whoever is ignorant is vulgar. He, therefore, who, with the qualifications I have named, devotes himself to poetry, will be honored and esteemed by all nations distinguished for intellectual cultivation.

Indeed, it is generally said that the gift of poesy is innate—that is, a poet is born a poet, and, thus endowed by Heaven, apparently without study or art, composes things which verify the saying, Est Deus in nobis, etc. Thus the poet of nature, who improves himself by art, rises far above him who is merely the creature of study. Art may improve, but cannot surpass nature; and, therefore, it is the union of both which produces the perfect poet.

Let him direct the shafts of satire against vice, in all its various forms, but not level them at individuals, like some who, rather than not indulge their mischievous wit, will hazard a disgraceful banishment to the Isles of Pontus. If the poet be correct in his morals, his verse will partake of the same purity: the pen is the tongue of the mind, and what his conceptions are, such will be his productions. The wise and virtuous subject who is gifted with a poetic genius is ever honored and enriched by his sovereign, and crowned with the leaves of the tree which the thunderbolt hurts not, as a token that all should respect those brows which are so honorably adorned.

Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory.

It is a nobler sight to behold a knight-errant assisting a widow in solitude than a courtier-knight complimenting a damsel in the city.

Well I know that fortitude is a virtue placed between the two extremes of cowardice and rashness: but it is better the valiant should rise to the extreme of temerity than sink to that of cowardice, for, as it is easier for the prodigal than the miser to become liberal, so it is much easier for the rash than the cowardly to become truly brave.

THE ADVENTURE WITH THE LIONS.

Don Quixote, after having wiped his head, face, beard, and helmet, again put it on, and fixing himself firm in his stirrups, adjusting his sword, and grasping his lance, he exclaimed, "Now, come what may, I am prepared to encounter Satan himself!"

They were soon overtaken by the cart with flags, which was attended only by the driver, who rode upon one of the mules, and a man sitting upon the fore part of it. Don Quixote planted himself just before them, and said, "Whither go ye, brethren? What carriage is this? What does it contain, and what are those banners?"

"The cart is mine," answered the carter, "and in it are two fierce lions, which the general of Oran is sending to court as a present to his majesty; the flags belong to our liege the king, to show that what is in the cart belongs to him."

"And are the lions large?" demanded Don Quixote.

"Larger never came from Africa to Spain," said the man on the front of the cart; "I am their keeper, and in my time have had charge of many lions, but never of any so large as these. They are a male and a female; the male is in the first cage, and the female is in that behind. Not having eaten to-day, they are now hungry and therefore, sir, stand aside, for we must make haste to the place where they are to be fed."

"What!" said Don Quixote, with a scornful smile, "lion-whelps against me! Against me, your puny monsters! and at this time of day! By yon blessed sun! those who sent them hither shall see whether I am a man to be scared by lions. Alight, honest friend! and, since you are their keeper, open the cages and turn out your savages of the desert: for in the midst of this field will I make them know who Don Quixote de la Mancha is, in spite of the enchanters that sent them hither to me."

"So, so," quoth the gentleman to himself, "our good knight has now given us a specimen of what he is; doubtless the curds have softened his skull, and made his brains mellow."

Sancho now coming up to him, "For Heaven's sake, sir," cried he, "hinder my master from meddling with these lions; for if he does they will tear us all to pieces."

"What, then, is your master so mad," answered the gentleman, "that you really fear he will attack such fierce animals?"

"He is not mad," answered Sancho, "but daring."

"I will make him desist," replied the gentleman; and, going up to Don Quixote, who was importuning the keeper to open the cages, "Sir," said he, "Knights-errant should engage in adventures that, at least, afford some prospect of success, and not such as are altogether desperate; for the valor which borders on temerity has in it more of madness than courage. Besides, sir knight, these lions do not come to assail you: they are going to be presented to his majesty; and it is, therefore, improper to detain them or retard their journey."

"Sweet sir," answered Don Quixote, "go hence, and mind your decoy partridge, and your stout ferret, and leave every one to his functions. This is mine, and I shall see whether these gentlemen lions will come against me or not." Then, turning to the keeper, he said, "I vow to Heaven, Don Rascal, if thou dost not instantly open the cages, with this lance I will pin thee to the cart."

The carter seeing that the armed lunatic was resolute, "Good sir," said he, "for charity's sake, be pleased to let me take off my mules and get with them out of danger, before the lions are let loose: for should my cattle be killed, I am undone for ever, as I have no other means of living than by this cart and these mules."

"Incredulous wretch!" cried Don Quixote, "unyoke and do as thou wilt; but thou shalt soon see that thy trouble might have been spared."

The carter alighted and unyoked in great haste. The keeper then said aloud, "Bear witness, all here present, that against my will, and by compulsion, I open the cages and let the lions loose. I protest against what this gentleman is doing, and declare all the mischief done by these beasts shall be placed to his account, with my salary and perquisites over and above. Pray, gentlemen, take care of yourselves before I open the door; for, as to myself, I am sure they will do me no hurt."

Again the gentleman pressed Don Quixote to desist from so mad an action; declaring to him that he was thereby provoking God's wrath. Don Quixote replied that he knew what he was doing. The gentleman rejoined, and entreated him to consider well of it, for he was certainly deceived.

"Nay, sir," replied Don Quixote, "if you will not be a spectator of what you think will prove a tragedy, spur your flea-bitten, and save yourself."

Sancho, too, besought him, with tears in his eyes, to desist from an enterprise compared with which that of the windmills, the dreadful one of the fulling-mills, and in short, all the exploits he had performed in the whole course of his life, were mere tarts and cheesecakes. "Consider, sir," added Sancho, "here is no enchantment, nor anything like it; for I saw, through the grates and chinks of the cage, the paw of a true lion; and I guess, by the size of its claw, that it is bigger than a mountain."

"Thy fears," answered Don Quixote, "would make it appear to thee larger than half the world. Retire, Sancho, and leave me; and if I perish here, thou knowest our old agreement: repair to Dulcinea—I say no more." To these he added other expressions, which showed the firmness of his purpose, and that all argument would be fruitless. The gentleman would fain have compelled him to desist, but thought himself unequally matched in weapons and armor, and that it Would not be prudent to engage with a madman, whose violence and menaces against the keeper were now redoubled; the gentleman therefore spurred his mare, Sancho his Dapple, and the carter his mules, and all endeavored to get as far off as possible from the cart, before the lions were let loose. Sancho bewailed the death of his master; verily believing it would now overtake him between the paws of the lions; he cursed his hard fortune, and the unlucky hour when he again entered into his service. But, notwithstanding his tears and lamentations, he kept urging on his Dapple to get far enough from the cart. The keeper, seeing that the fugitives were at a good distance, repeated his arguments and entreaties, but to no purpose: Don Quixote answered that he heard him, and desired he would trouble himself no more, but immediately obey his commands, and open the door.

Whilst the keeper was unbarring the first gate, Don Quixote deliberated within himself whether it would be best to engage on horseback or not, and finally determined it should be on foot, as Rozinante might be terrified at the sight of the lions. He therefore leaped from his horse, flung aside his lance, braced on his shield, and drew his sword; and marching slowly, with marvellous intrepidity and an undaunted heart, he planted himself before the car, devoutly commending himself, first to God and then to his mistress Dulcinea.

Here it is to be noted that the author of this faithful history, coming to this passage, falls into exclamations, and cries out, O strenuous and beyond all expression courageous Don Quixote de la Mancha! thou mirror wherein all the valiant ones of the world may behold themselves, thou second and new Don Manuel de Leon, who was the glory and honor of the Spanish knights! With what words shall I relate this tremendous exploit? By what arguments shall I render it credible to succeeding ages? or what praises, though above all hyperboles hyperbolical, do not fit and become thee? Thou, alone, on foot, intrepid and magnanimous, with a single sword, and that none of the sharpest, with a shield not of the brightest and most shining steel, standest waiting for and expecting two of the fiercest lions that the forests of Africa ever bred. Let thy own deeds praise thee, valorous Manchegan! for here I must leave off for want of words whereby to enhance them. Here the author ends his exclamation, and resumes the thread of the history, saying:—

The keeper, seeing Don Quixote fixed in his posture, and that he could not avoid letting loose the male lion on pain of falling under the displeasure of the angry and daring knight, set wide open the door of the first cage, where lay the lion, which appeared to be of an extraordinary bigness and of a hideous and frightful aspect. The first thing he did was to turn himself round in the cage, reach out a paw, and stretch himself at full length. Then he gaped and yawned very leisurely; then licked the dust off his eyes, and washed his face, with some half a yard of tongue. This done, he thrust his head out of the cage and stared round on all sides with eyes of fire-coals,—a sight and aspect enough to have struck terror into temerity itself. Don Quixote only observed him with attention, wishing he would leap out from the car and grapple with him, that he might tear him in pieces, to such a pitch of extravagance had his unheard-of madness transported him.

But the generous lion, more civil than arrogant, taking no notice of his vaporing and bravados, after having stared about him, as has been said, turned his back and showed his posteriors to Don Quixote, and with great phlegm and calmness laid himself down again in the cage; which Don Quixote perceiving, he ordered the keeper to give him some blows and provoke him to come forth.

"That I will not do," answered the keeper; "for, should I provoke him, I myself shall be the first he will tear in pieces. Be satisfied, signor cavalier, with what is done, which is all that can be said in point of courage, and do not tempt fortune a second time. The lion has the door open, and it is in his choice to come forth or not; and since he has not yet come out, he will not come out all this day. The greatness of your worship's courage is already sufficiently shown. No brave combatant, as I take it, is obliged to more than to challenge his foe, and expect him in the field; and if the antagonist does not meet him, the disgrace falls on him, while the challenger is entitled to the crown of victory."

"That is true," answered Don Quixote; "shut the door, and give me a certificate in the best form you can of what you have here seen me perform. It should be known that you opened the door to the lion; that I waited for him; that he came not out; again I waited for him; again he came not out; and again he laid himself down. I am bound to no more,—enchantments avaunt! So Heaven prosper right and justice and true chivalry! Shut the door, as I told thee, while I make a signal to the fugitive and absent, that from your own mouth they may have an account of this exploit."

The keeper closed the door, and Don Quixote, having fixed the linen cloth with which he had wiped the curds from his face upon the point of his lance, began to hail the troop in the distance, who, with the gentleman in green at their head, were still retiring, but looking round at every step, when suddenly Sancho observed the signal of the white cloth.

"May I be hanged," cried he, "if my master has not vanquished the wild beasts, for he is calling to us!"

They all stopped, and saw that it was Don Quixote that made the sign; and, their fear in some degree abating, they ventured to return slowly till they could distinctly hear the words of Don Quixote, who continued calling to them. When they had reached the cart again, Don Quixote said to the driver: "Now, friend, put on your mules again, and in Heaven's name proceed; and, Sancho, give two crowns to him and the keeper, to make them amends for this delay."

"That I will, with all my heart," answered Sancho; "but what has become of the lions? are they dead or alive?"

The keeper then very minutely, and with due pauses, gave an account of the conflict, enlarging, to the best of his skill, on the valor of Don Quixote, at sight of whom the daunted lion would not, or durst not, stir out of the cage, though he had held open the door a good while; and, upon his representing to the knight that it was tempting God to provoke the lion, and to force him out, he had at length, very reluctantly, permitted him to close it again.

"What sayest thou to this, Sancho?" said Don Quixote; "can any enchantment prevail against true courage? Enchanters may, indeed, deprive me of good fortune, but of courage and resolution they never can."

Sancho gave the gold crowns; the carter yoked his mules; the keeper thanked Don Quixote for his present, and promised to relate this valorous exploit to the king himself when he arrived at court.

"If, perchance, his majesty," said Don Quixote, "should inquire who performed it, tell him the Knight of the Lions; for henceforward I resolve that the title I have hitherto borne, of the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure, shall be thus changed, converted, and altered; and herein I follow the ancient practice of knights-errant, who changed their names at pleasure."

It is a gallant sight to see a cavalier in shining armor prancing over the lists at some gay tournament in sight of the ladies; it is a gallant sight when, in the middle of a spacious square, a brave cavalier, before the eyes of his prince, transfixes with his lance a furious bull; and a gallant show do all those knights make, who, in military or other exercises, entertain, enliven, and do honor to their prince's court; but far above all these is the knight-errant, who, through deserts and solitudes, through cross-ways, through woods, and over mountains, goes in quest of perilous adventures, which he undertakes and accomplishes only to obtain a glorious and immortal fame.

All knights have their peculiar functions. Let the courtier serve the ladies, adorn his prince's court with rich liveries, entertain the poorer cavaliers at his splendid table, order his jousts, manage tournaments, and show himself great, liberal, and magnificent; above all, a good Christian, and thus will he fulfil his duties.

In enterprises of every kind, it is better to lose the game by a card too much than one too little; for it sounds better to be called rash and daring than timorous and cowardly.

"Signor Don Diego de Miranda, your father, sir, has informed me of the rare talents you possess, and particularly that you are a great poet."

"Certainly not a great poet," replied Lorenzo; "it is true I am fond of poetry, and honor the works of good poets; but I have no claim to the title my father is pleased to confer upon me."

"I do not dislike this modesty," answered Don Quixote; "for poets are usually very arrogant, each thinking himself the greatest in the world."

"There is no rule without an exception," answered Don Lorenzo; "and surely there may be some who do not appear too conscious of their real merits."

"Very few, I believe," said Don Quixote.

THE SCIENCE OF KNIGHT-ERRANTRY.

"It is a science," replied Don Quixote, "which comprehends all, or most of the other sciences; for he who professes it must be learned in the law, and understand distributive and commutative justice, that he may know not only how to assign to each man what is truly his own, but what is proper for him to possess; he must be conversant in divinity, in order to be able to explain, clearly and distinctly, the Christian faith which he professes; he must be skilled in medicine, especially in botany, that he may know both how to cure the diseases with which he may be afflicted, and collect the various remedies which Providence has scattered in the midst of the wilderness, nor be compelled on every emergency to be running in quest of a physician to heal him; he must be an astronomer, that he may if necessary ascertain by the stars the exact hour of the night and what part or climate of the world he is in; he must understand mathematics, because he will have occasion for them; and taking it for granted that he must be adorned with all the cardinal and theological virtues, I descend to other more minute particulars, and say that he must know how to swim as well as it is reported of Fish Nicholas;[9] he must know how to shoe a horse and repair his saddle and bridle: and to return to higher concerns, he must preserve his faith inviolable towards Heaven, and also to his mistress; he must be chaste in his thoughts, modest in his words, liberal in good works, valiant in exploits, patient in toils, charitable to the needy, and steadfastly adhering to the truth, even at the hazard of his life. Of all these great and small parts a good knight-errant is composed."

THE TEXT.

Could I recall departed joy, Though barred the hopes of greater gain, Or now the future hours employ That must succeed my present pain.

THE PARAPHRASE.

All fortune's blessings disappear, She's fickle as the wind; And now I find her as severe As once I thought her kind. How soon the fleeting pleasures passed! How long the lingering sorrows last! Unconstant goddess, in thy haste, Do not thy prostrate slave destroy, I'd ne'er complain, but bless my fate, Could I recall departed joy.

Of all thy gifts I beg but this, Glut all mankind with more, Transport them with redoubled bliss, But only mine restore. With thought of pleasure once possessed, I'm now as cursed as I was blessed: Oh, would the charming hours return, How pleased I'd live, how free from pain, I ne'er would pine, I ne'er would mourn. Though barred the hopes of greater gain.

But oh, the blessing I implore Not fate itself can give! Since time elapsed exists no more, No power can bid it live. Our days soon vanish into naught, And have no being but in thought. Whate'er began must end at last, In vain we twice would youth enjoy, In vain would we recall the past, Or now the future hours employ.

Deceived by hope, and racked by fear, No longer life can please; I'll then no more its torments bear, Since death so soon can ease. This hour I'll die—but, let me pause— A rising doubt my courage awes. Assist, ye powers that rule my fate, Alarm my thoughts, my rage restrain, Convince my soul there's yet a state That must succeed my present pain.

O Flattery, how potent is thy sway! How wide the bounds of thy pleasing jurisdiction!

On the story of Pyramus and Thisbe.

SONNET.

The nymph who Pyramus with love inspired Pierces the wall, with equal passion fired: Cupid from distant Cyprus thither flies, And views the secret breach with laughing eyes.

Here silence, vocal, mutual vows conveys, And whispering eloquent, their love betrays: Though chained by fear, their voices dare not pass, Their souls, transmitted through the chink, embrace.

Ah, woful story of disastrous love! Ill-fated haste that did their ruin prove! One death, one grave, unite the faithful pair, And in one common fame their memories share.

No parents can see the deformity of their own children, and still stronger is this self-deception with respect to the offspring of the mind.

At parting, Don Quixote addressing himself to Don Lorenzo: "I know not," said he, "whether I have already told your worship, but if I have, let me now repeat the intimation, that when you are inclined to take the shortest and easiest road to the inaccessible summit of the temple of fame, you have no more to do, but to leave on one side the path of poetry, which is pretty narrow, and follow that of knight-errantry, which, though the narrowest of all others, will conduct you to the throne of empire in the turning of a straw."

Riches are able to solder abundance of flaws.

Every sheep to its like.

Let every goose a gander choose.

AN ACCOUNT OF THE MARRIAGE OF CAMACHO THE RICH; AND ALSO THE ADVENTURE OF BASILIUS THE POOR.

"Come with us, and you will see one of the greatest and richest weddings that has ever been celebrated in La Mancha, or for many leagues round."

"The nuptials of some prince, I presume?" said Don Quixote.

"No," replied the scholar, "only that of a farmer and a country maid: he the wealthiest in this part of the country, and she the most beautiful that eyes ever beheld. The preparations are very uncommon: for the wedding is to be celebrated in a meadow near the village where the bride lives, who is called Quiteria the Fair, and the bridegroom Camacho the Rich: she is about the age of eighteen, and he twenty-two, both equally matched, though some nice folks, who have all the pedigrees of the world in their heads, pretend that the family of Quiteria the Fair has the advantage over that of Camacho; but that is now little regarded, for riches are able to solder up abundance of flaws. In short, this same Camacho is as liberal as a prince; and, intending to be at some cost in this wedding, has taken it into his head to convert a whole meadow into a kind of arbor, shading it so that the sun itself will find some difficulty to visit the green grass beneath. He will also have morris-dances, both with swords and bells; for there are people in the village who jingle and clatter them with great dexterity. As to the number of shoe-clappers[10] invited, it is impossible to count them; but what will give the greatest interest to this wedding is the effect it is expected to have on the slighted Basilius.

"This Basilius is a swain of the same village as Quiteria; his house is next to that of her parents, and separated only by a wall, whence Cupid took occasion to revive the ancient loves of Pyramus and Thisbe: for Basilius was in love with Quiteria from his childhood, and she returned his affection with a thousand modest favors, insomuch that the loves of the two children, Basilius and Quiteria, became the common talk of the village. When they were grown up, the father of Quiteria resolved to forbid Basilius the usual access to his family; and to relieve himself of all fears on his account, he determined to marry his daughter to the rich Camacho; not choosing to bestow her on Basilius, whose endowments are less the gifts of fortune than of nature: in truth he is the most active youth we know; a great pitcher of the bar, an excellent wrestler, a great player at cricket, runs like a buck, leaps like a wild goat, and plays at ninepins as if by witchcraft; sings like a lark, and touches a guitar delightfully and, above all, he handles a sword like the most skilful fencer."

It now began to grow dark, and as they approached the village there appeared before them a new heaven, blazing with innumerable stars. At the same time they heard the sweet and mingled sounds of various instruments—such as flutes, tambourines, psalters, cymbals, drums, and bells; and, drawing still nearer, they perceived a spacious arbor, formed near the entrance into the town, hung round with lights that shone undisturbed by the breeze; for it was so calm that not a leaf was seen to move. The musicians, who are the life and joy of such festivals, paraded in bands up and down this delightful place, some dancing, others singing, and others playing upon different instruments: in short, nothing was there to be seen but mirth and pleasure. Several were employed in raising scaffolds, from which they might commodiously behold the shows and entertainments of the following day, that were to be dedicated to the nuptial ceremony of the rich Camacho and the obsequies of poor Basilius.

If he is poor he cannot think to wed Quiteria. A pleasant fancy, forsooth, for a fellow who has not a groat in his pocket to look for a yoke-mate above the clouds. Faith, sir, in my opinion a poor man should be contented with what he finds, and not be seeking for truffles at the bottom of the sea.

The first thing that presented itself to Sancho's sight was a whole bullock spitted upon a large elm. The fire it was roasted by was composed of a middling mountain of wood, and round it were placed six pots, not cast in common moulds; for they were half-jars, each containing a whole shamble of flesh; and entire sheep were sunk and swallowed up in them, as commodiously as if they were only so many pigeons. The hares ready cased, and the fowls ready plucked, that hung about upon the branches, in order to be buried in the caldrons, were without number. Infinite was the wild fowl and venison hanging about the trees, that the air might cool them. Sancho counted above threescore skins, each of above twenty-four quarts, and all, as appeared afterwards, full of generous wines.

There were also piles of the whitest bread, arranged like heaps of wheat on the threshing-floor, and cheeses, piled up in the manner of bricks, formed a kind of wall. Two caldrons of oil, larger than dyers' vats, stood ready for frying all sorts of batter-ware; and, with a couple of stout peels, they shovelled them up when fried, and forthwith immersed them in a kettle of prepared honey that stood near. The men and women cooks were about fifty in number, all clean, all active, and all in good humor. In the bullock's distended belly were sewed up a dozen sucking pigs, to make it savory and tender. The spices of various kinds, which seemed to have been bought, not by the pound, but by the hundredweight, were deposited in a great chest, and open to every hand. In short the preparation for the wedding was all rustic, but in sufficient abundance to have feasted an army.

Sancho beheld all with wonder and delight. The first that captivated and subdued his inclinations were the flesh-pots, out of which he would have been glad to have filled a moderate pipkin; next the wine-skins drew his affections; and lastly the products of the frying-pans—if such capacious vessels might be so called; and, being unable any longer to abstain, he ventured to approach one of the busy cooks, and in persuasive and hungry terms begged leave to sop a luncheon of bread in one of the pots.

To which the cook answered, "This, friend, is not a day for hunger to be abroad—thanks to rich Camacho. Alight, and look about you for a ladle to skim out a fowl or two, and much good may they do you."

"I see no ladle," answered Sancho.

"Stay," said the cook. "Heaven save me, what a helpless varlet!" So saying, he laid hold of a kettle, and sousing it into one of the half-jars, he fished out three pullets and a couple of geese, and said to Sancho, "Eat, friend, and make your breakfast of this scum, to stay your stomach till dinner-time."

"I have nothing to put it in," answered Sancho.

"Then take ladle and all," quoth the cook; "for Camacho's riches and joy supply everything."

While Sancho was thus employed, Don Quixote stood observing the entrance of a dozen peasants at one side of the spacious arbor, each mounted on a beautiful mare, in rich and gay caparisons, hung round with little bells. They were clad in holiday apparel, and in a regular troop made sundry careers about the meadow, with a joyful Moorish cry of "Long live Camacho and Quiteria! he as rich as she is fair, and she the fairest of the world!"

Don Quixote hearing this, said to himself, "These people, it is plain, have never seen my Dulcinea del Toboso; otherwise they would have been less extravagant in the praise of their Quiteria."

Soon after there entered, on different sides of the arbor, various sets of dancers, among which was one consisting of four-and-twenty sword-dancers; handsome, sprightly swains, all arrayed in fine white linen, and handkerchiefs wrought with several colors of fine silk. One of those mounted on horseback inquired of a young man who led the sword-dance, whether any of his comrades were hurt.

"No," replied the youth; "thank Heaven, as yet we are all well;" and instantly he twined himself in among his companions with so many turns, and so dexterously, that though Don Quixote had often seen such dances before, none had ever pleased him so well. Another dance also delighted him much, performed by twelve damsels, young and beautiful, all clad in green stuff of Cuenza, having their hair partly plaited, and partly flowing, all of golden hue, rivalling the sun itself, and covered with garlands of jessamine, roses and woodbine. They were led up by a venerable old man and an ancient matron, to whom the occasion had given more agility than might have been expected from their years. A Zamora bagpipe regulated their motions, which being no less sprightly and graceful than their looks were modest and maidenly, more lovely dancers were never seen in the world.

A pantomimic dance now succeeded, by eight nymphs, divided into two ranks—"Cupid" leading the one, and "Interest," the other; the former equipped with wings, bow, quiver, and arrows; the latter gorgeously apparelled with rich and variously colored silks, embroidered with gold. The nymphs in Cupid's band displayed their names, written in large letters on their backs. "Poetry" was the first: then succeeded "Discretion," "Good Lineage," and "Valor." The followers of "Interest" were "Liberality," "Bounty," "Wealth," and "Security." This band was preceded by a wooden castle, drawn by savages, clad so naturally in ivy and green cloth, coarse and shaggy, that Sancho was startled. On the front and sides of the edifice was written, "The Castle of Reserve." Four skilful musicians played on the tabor and pipe; Cupid began the dance, and after two movements, he raised his eyes, and bending his bow, pointed an arrow towards a damsel that stood on the battlements of the castle; at the same time addressing to her the following verses:—

CUPID'S ADDRESS.

I am the god whose power extends Through the wide ocean, earth, and sky; To my soft sway all nature bends, Compelled by beauty to comply.

Fearless I rule, in calm and storm, Indulge my pleasure to the full; Things deemed impossible perform, Bestow, resume, ordain, annul.

Cupid, having finished his address, shot an arrow over the castle, and retired to his station; upon which Interest stepped forth, and after two similar movements, the music ceasing, he said:—

My power exceeds the might of love, For Cupid bows to me alone; Of all things framed by heaven above, The most respected, sought, and known.

My name is Interest; mine aid But few obtain, though all desire: Yet shall thy virtue, beauteous maid, My constant services acquire.

Interest then withdrew, and Poetry advanced; and, fixing her eyes on the damsel of the castle, she said:—

Let Poetry, whose strain divine The wondrous power of song displays, Her heart to thee, fair nymph, consign, Transported in melodious lays:

If haply thou wilt not refuse To grant my supplicated boon, Thy fame shall, wafted by the muse, Surmount the circle of the moon.

Poetry having retired from the side of Interest, Liberality advanced; and, after making her movements, said:—

My name is Liberality, Alike beneficent and wise, To shun wild prodigality, And sordid avarice despise. Yet, for thy favor lavish grown, A prodigal I mean to prove; An honorable vice I own, But giving is the test of love.

In this manner all the figures of the two parties advanced and retreated, and each made its movements and recited its verses, some elegant, and some ridiculous of which Don Quixote, who had a very good memory, treasured up the foregoing only.

The bridal pair proceeded towards a theatre on one side of the arbor, decorated with tapestry and garlands, where the nuptial ceremony was to be performed, and whence they were to view the dances and shows prepared for the occasion. Immediately on their arrival at that place, a loud noise was heard at a distance, amidst which a voice was distinguished calling aloud, "Hold a little, rash and thoughtless people!" On turning their heads they saw that these words were uttered by a man who was advancing towards them, clad in a black doublet, welted with flaming crimson. He was crowned with a garland of mournful cypress, and held in his hand a large truncheon; and, as he drew near, all recognized the gallant Basilius, and waited in fearful expectation of some disastrous result from this unseasonable visit.

At length he came up, tired and out of breath, and placed himself just before the betrothed couple; then, pressing his staff, which was pointed with steel, into the ground, he fixed his eyes on Quiteria, and in a broken and tremulous voice thus addressed her: "Ah, false and forgetful Quiteria, well thou knowest that, by the laws of our holy religion, thou canst not marry another man whilst I am living; neither art thou ignorant that, while waiting till time and mine own industry should improve my fortune, I have never failed in the respect due to thy honor. But thou hast cast aside every obligation due to my lawful love, and art going to make another man master of what is mine: a man who is not only enriched, but rendered eminently happy by his wealth; and, in obedience to the will of Heaven, the only impediment to his supreme felicity I will remove, by withdrawing this wretched being. Long live the rich Camacho with the ungrateful Quiteria! Long and happily may they live, and let poor Basilius die, who would have risen to good fortune had not poverty clipped his wings and laid him in an early grave!"

So saying, he plucked his staff from the ground, and, drawing out a short tuck, to which it had served as a scabbard, he fixed what might be called the hilt into the ground, and, with a nimble spring and resolute air, he threw himself on the point, which, instantly appearing at his back, the poor wretch lay stretched on the ground, pierced through and through, and weltering in his blood.

His friends, struck with horror and grief, rushed forward to help him, and Don Quixote, dismounting, hastened also to lend his aid, and taking the dying man in his arms, found that he was still alive. They would have drawn out the tuck, but the priest who was present thought that it should not be done till he had made his confession; as, the moment it was taken out of his body he would certainly expire. But Basilius, not having quite lost the power of utterance, in a faint and doleful voice said: "If, cruel Quiteria, in this my last and fatal agony, thou wouldst give me thy hand, as my spouse, I should hope my rashness might find pardon in heaven, since it procured me the blessing of being thine." Upon which the priest advised him to attend rather to the salvation of his soul than to his bodily appetites, and seriously implore pardon of God for his sins, especially for this last desperate action. Basilius replied that he could not make any confession till Quiteria had given him her hand in marriage as that would be a solace to his mind, and enable him to confess his sins.

Don Quixote, hearing the wounded man's request, said, in a loud voice, that Basilius had made a very just and reasonable request, and, moreover, a very practicable one; and that it would be equally honorable for Signor Camacho to take Quiteria, a widow of the brave Basilius, as if he received her at her father's hand; nothing being required but the simple word, "Yes," which could be of no consequence, since, in these espousals, the nuptial bed must be the grave. Camacho heard all this, and was perplexed and undecided what to do or say; but so much was he importuned by the friends of Basilius to permit Quiteria to give him her hand, and thereby save his soul from perdition, that they at length moved, nay forced him to say that if it pleased Quiteria to give it to him, he should not object, since it was only delaying for a moment the accomplishment of his wishes. They all immediately applied to Quiteria, and, with entreaties, tears, and persuasive arguments, pressed and importuned her to give her hand to Basilius; but she, harder than marble, and more immovable than a statue, returned no answer, until the priest told her that she must decide promptly, as the soul of Basilius was already between his teeth, and there was no time for hesitation.

Then the beautiful Quiteria, in silence, and to all appearance troubled and sad, approached Basilius, whose eyes were already turned in his head, and he breathed short and quick, muttering the name of Quiteria, and giving tokens of dying more like a heathen than a Christian. At last Quiteria, kneeling down by him, made signs to him for his hand. Basilius unclosed his eyes, and fixing them steadfastly upon her, said "O Quiteria! thou relentest at a time when thy pity is a sword to put a final period to this wretched life; for now I have not strength to bear the glory thou conferrest upon me in making me thine, nor will it suspend the pain which shortly will veil my eyes with the dreadful shadow of death. What I beg of thee, O fatal star of mine! is that thou give not thy hand out of compliment, or again to deceive me, but to declare that thou bestowest it upon me as thy lawful husband, without any compulsion on thy will—for it would be cruel in this extremity to deal falsely or impose on him who has been so true to thee."

Here he fainted, and the bystanders thought his soul was just departing. Quiteria, all modesty and bashfulness, taking Basilius's right hand in hers, said: "No force would be sufficient to bias my will; and therefore, with all the freedom I have, I give thee my hand to be thy lawful wife, and receive thine, if it be as freely given, and if the anguish caused by thy rash act doth not trouble and prevent thee."

"Yes, I give it thee," answered Basilius, "neither discomposed nor confused, but with the clearest understanding that Heaven was ever pleased to bestow on me; and so I give and engage myself to be thy husband."

"And I to be thy wife," answered Quiteria, "whether thou livest many years, or art carried from my arms to the grave."

"For one so much wounded," observed Sancho, "this young man talks a great deal. Advise him to leave off his courtship and mind the business of his soul; though to my thinking he has it more on his tongue than between his teeth."

Basilius and Quiteria being thus, with hands joined, the tender-hearted priest, with tears in his eyes, pronounced the benediction upon them, and prayed to Heaven for the repose of the bridegroom's soul; who, as soon as he had received the benediction, suddenly started up, and nimbly drew out the tuck which was sheathed in his body. All the spectators were astonished, and some more simple than the rest cried out "A miracle, a miracle!" But Basilius replied, "no miracle, no miracle, but a stratagem, a stratagem!"

The priest, astonished and confounded, ran to feel, with both his hands, the wound, and found that the sword had passed, not through Basilius's flesh and ribs, but through a hollow iron pipe, cunningly fitted to the place, and filled with blood, so prepared as not to congeal. In short, the priests, Camacho, and the rest of the spectators, found they were imposed upon, and completely duped. The bride showed no signs of regret at the artifice: on the contrary, hearing it said the marriage, as being fraudulent, was not valid, she said that she confirmed it anew; it was, therefore, generally supposed that the matter had been concerted with the privity and concurrence of both parties; which so enraged Camacho and his friends that they immediately had recourse to vengeance, and unsheathing abundance of swords they fell upon Basilius, in whose behalf as many more were instantly drawn, and Don Quixote, leading the van on horseback, his lance upon his arm, and well covered with his shield, made them all give way.

Don Quixote cried aloud, "Hold, sirs, hold! It is not right to avenge the injuries committed against us by love. Remember that the arts of warfare and courtship are in some points alike; in war, stratagems are lawful, so likewise are they in the conflicts and rivalships of love, if the means employed be not dishonorable. Quiteria and Basilius were destined for each other by the just and favoring will of Heaven. Camacho is rich, and may purchase his pleasure when, where and how he pleases. Basilius has but this one ewe-lamb; and no one, however powerful, has a right to take it from him; for those whom God hath joined let no man sunder, and whoever shall attempt it must first pass the point of this lance." Then he brandished it with such vigor and dexterity that he struck terror into all those who did not know him.

Quiteria's disdain made such an impression upon Camacho, that he instantly banished her from his heart. The persuasions, therefore, of the priest, who was a prudent, well-meaning man, had their effect; Camacho and his party sheathed their weapons and remained satisfied, blaming rather the fickleness of Quiteria than the cunning of Basilius. With much reason Camacho thought within himself that if Quiteria loved Basilius when a virgin, she would love him also when married, and that he had more cause to thank Heaven for so fortunate an escape than to repine at the loss he had sustained. The disappointed bridegroom and his followers, being thus consoled and appeased, those of Basilius were so likewise; and the rich Camacho, to show that his mind was free from resentment, would have the diversions and entertainments go on as if they had been really married. The happy pair, however, not choosing to share in them, retired to their own dwelling, accompanied by their joyful adherents; for, if the rich man can draw after him attendants and flatterers, the poor man who is virtuous and deserving is followed by friends who honor and support him.

Don Quixote joined the party of Basilius, having been invited by them as a person of worth and bravery; while Sancho, finding it impossible to remain and share the relishing delights of Camacho's festival, which continued till night, with a heavy heart accompanied his master, leaving behind the flesh-pots of Egypt, the skimmings of which, though now almost consumed, still reminded him of the glorious abundance he had lost.

"If love only were to be considered," said Don Quixote, "parents would no longer have the privilege of judiciously matching their children. Were daughters left to choose for themselves, there are those who would prefer their father's serving-man, or throw themselves away on some fellow they might chance to see in the street, mistaking, perhaps, an impostor and swaggering poltroon for a gentleman, since passion too easily blinds the understanding, so indispensably necessary in deciding on that most important point, matrimony, which is peculiarly exposed to the danger of a mistake, and therefore needs all the caution that human prudence can supply, aided by the particular favor of Heaven. A person who proposes to take a long journey, if he is prudent, before he sets forward will look out for some safe and agreeable companion; and should not he who undertakes a journey for life use the same precaution, especially as his fellow-traveller is to be his companion at bed and board and in all other situations? The wife is not a commodity which, when once bought, you can exchange or return; the marriage bargain, once struck, is irrevocable. It is a noose which, once thrown about the neck, turns to a Gordian knot, and cannot be unloosed till cut asunder by the scythe of death."

By the streets of "by-and-by" one arrives at the house of "never."

God who gives the wound sends the cure.

Nobody knows what is to come. A great many hours come in between this and to-morrow; and in one hour, yea, in one minute, down falls the house. I have seen rain and sunshine at the same moment. A man may go to bed well at night and not be able to stir next morning: and tell me who can boast of having driven a nail in fortune's wheel?

Between the yes and no of a woman I would not undertake to thrust the point of a pin.

"Love, as I have heard say, wears spectacles, through which copper looks like gold, rags like rich apparel, and specks in the eye like pearls."

"A curse on thee, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "what wouldst thou be at? When once thy stringing of proverbs begins, Judas alone—I wish he had thee!—can have patience to the end. Tell me, animal! what knowest thou of nails and wheels, or of anything else?"

"Oh, if I am not understood," replied Sancho, "no wonder that what I say passes for nonsense. But no matter for that,—I understand myself. Neither have I said many foolish things, only your worship is such a cricket."

"Critic, not cricket, fool! thou corrupter of good language!" said the knight.

"Pray, sir, do not be so sharp upon me," answered Sancho, "for I was not bred at court nor studied in Salamanca, to know whether my words have a letter short or one too many. As Heaven shall save me, it is unreasonable to expect that beggarly Sayagnes should talk like Toledans; nay, even some of them are not over-nicely spoken."

Purity, propriety, and elegance of style will always be found among polite, well-bred, and sensible men.

I have heard it said of your fencers that they can thrust you the point of a sword through the eye of a needle.

O happy thou above all that live on the face of the earth, who, neither envying nor envied, canst take thy needful rest with tranquillity of soul, neither persecuted by enchanters nor affrighted by their machinations! Sleep on! a hundred times I say, sleep on! No jealousies on thy lady's account keep thee in perpetual watchings, nor do anxious thoughts of debts unpaid awake thee; nor care how on the morrow thou and thy little straitened family shall be provided for. Ambition disquiets thee not, nor does the vain pomp of the world disturb thee; for thy chief concern is the care of thy ass, since to me is committed the comfort and protection of thine own person,—a burden imposed on the master by nature and custom. The servant sleeps, and the master lies awake considering how he is to maintain, assist, and do him kindness. The pain of seeing the heavens obdurate in withholding the moisture necessary to refresh the earth touches only the master, who is bound to provide in times of sterility and famine for those who served him in the season of fertility and abundance.

So much thou art worth as thou hast, and so much thou hast as thou art worth.

There are only two families in the world,—the have somethings and the have nothings. Nowadays we are apt to feel more often the pulse of property than of wisdom.

An ass with golden trappings makes a better appearance than a horse with a pack-saddle.

"That ought not to be called deception which aims at a virtuous end," said Don Quixote; "and no end is more excellent than the marriage of true lovers; though love," added he, "has its enemies, and none greater than hunger and poverty, for love is all gayety, joy, and content."

SANCHO PANZA ON DEATH.

"In good sooth, signor," said the squire, "there is no trusting to Mrs. Ghostly, I mean Death, who gobbles up the gosling as well as the goose; and, as I have heard our curate observe, tramples down the lofty turrets of the prince as well as the lowly cottage of the swain. That same lady, who is more powerful than coy, knows not what it is to be dainty and squeamish; but eats of everything, and crams her wallet with people of all nations, degrees, and conditions; she is none of your laborers that take their afternoon's nap, but mows at all hours, cutting down the dry stubble as well as the green grass; nor does she seem to chew, but rather swallows and devours everything that falls in her way; for she is gnawed by a dog's hunger that is never satisfied; and though she has no belly, plainly shows herself dropsical, and so thirsty as to drink up the lives of all the people upon earth, just as one would swallow a draught of cool water."

"Enough, friend Sancho," cried the knight, interrupting him in this place; "keep thyself well, now thou art in order, and beware of stumbling again; for really a good preacher could not speak more to the purpose than thou hast spoken upon Death, in thy rustic manner of expression; I say unto thee, Sancho, if thy discretion were equal to thy natural parts, thou mightest ascend the pulpit, and go about teaching and preaching to admiration."

"He is a good preacher who is a good liver," answered Panza, "and that is all the divinity I know."

"And that is sufficient," said the knight; "yet I shall never understand or comprehend, as the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, how thou, who art more afraid of a lizard than of thy Maker, should be so wise?"

"Signor," replied Sancho, "I desire your worship would determine in your own affairs of chivalry, without taking the trouble to judge of other people's valor or fears; for my own part, I am as pretty a fearer of God as one would desire to see in any neighbor's child; wherefore, I beseech your worship, let me discuss this same scum; for everything else is idle chat, of which we shall be able to give a bad account in the other world."

"The poor man of honor (if a poor man can deserve that title) possesses, in a beautiful wife, a jewel; and when that is taken away, he is deprived of his honor, which is murdered; a beautiful and chaste woman, whose husband is poor, deserves to be crowned with laurel and palms of triumph; for beauty alone attracts the inclinations of those who behold it; just as the royal eagle and soaring hawk stoop to the savory lure; but if that beauty is incumbered by poverty and want, it is likewise attacked by ravens, kites, and other birds of prey; and if she who possesses it firmly withstands all these assaults, she well deserves to be called the crown of her husband.

"Take notice, dearest Basilius," added the knight, "it was the opinion of a certain sage, that there was but one good wife in the whole world; and he advised every husband to believe she had fallen to his share, and accordingly be satisfied with his lot. I myself am not married, nor hitherto have I entertained the least thought of changing my condition; nevertheless, I will venture to advise him who asks my advice, in such a manner, that he may find a woman to his wish; in the first place, I would exhort him to pay more regard to reputation than to fortune; for a virtuous woman does not acquire a good name merely by being virtuous; she must likewise maintain the exteriors of deportment, for the honor of the sex suffers much more from levity and freedom of behavior in public, than from any private misdeeds. If thou bringest a good woman to thy house, it will be an easy task to preserve and even improve her virtue; but, shouldst thou choose a wife of a different character, it will cost thee abundance of pains to mend her; for it is not very practicable to pass from one extreme to another; I do not say it is altogether impossible, though I hold it for a matter of much difficulty."

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse