The History of Don Quixote, Vol. II., Part 22
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Produced by David Widger


Volume II.

Part 22.

by Miguel de Cervantes

Translated by John Ormsby



Don Quixote went off satisfied, elated, and vain-glorious in the highest
degree at having won a victory over such a valiant knight as he fancied
him of the Mirrors to be, and one from whose knightly word he expected to
learn whether the enchantment of his lady still continued; inasmuch as
the said vanquished knight was bound, under the penalty of ceasing to be
one, to return and render him an account of what took place between him
and her. But Don Quixote was of one mind, he of the Mirrors of another,
for he just then had no thought of anything but finding some village
where he could plaster himself, as has been said already. The history
goes on to say, then, that when the bachelor Samson Carrasco recommended
Don Quixote to resume his knight-errantry which he had laid aside, it was
in consequence of having been previously in conclave with the curate and
the barber on the means to be adopted to induce Don Quixote to stay at
home in peace and quiet without worrying himself with his ill-starred
adventures; at which consultation it was decided by the unanimous vote of
all, and on the special advice of Carrasco, that Don Quixote should be
allowed to go, as it seemed impossible to restrain him, and that Samson
should sally forth to meet him as a knight-errant, and do battle with
him, for there would be no difficulty about a cause, and vanquish him,
that being looked upon as an easy matter; and that it should be agreed
and settled that the vanquished was to be at the mercy of the victor.
Then, Don Quixote being vanquished, the bachelor knight was to command
him to return to his village and his house, and not quit it for two
years, or until he received further orders from him; all which it was
clear Don Quixote would unhesitatingly obey, rather than contravene or
fail to observe the laws of chivalry; and during the period of his
seclusion he might perhaps forget his folly, or there might be an
opportunity of discovering some ready remedy for his madness. Carrasco
undertook the task, and Tom Cecial, a gossip and neighbour of Sancho
Panza's, a lively, feather-headed fellow, offered himself as his squire.
Carrasco armed himself in the fashion described, and Tom Cecial, that he
might not be known by his gossip when they met, fitted on over his own
natural nose the false masquerade one that has been mentioned; and so
they followed the same route Don Quixote took, and almost came up with
him in time to be present at the adventure of the cart of Death and
finally encountered them in the grove, where all that the sagacious
reader has been reading about took place; and had it not been for the
extraordinary fancies of Don Quixote, and his conviction that the
bachelor was not the bachelor, senor bachelor would have been
incapacitated for ever from taking his degree of licentiate, all through
not finding nests where he thought to find birds.

Tom Cecial, seeing how ill they had succeeded, and what a sorry end their
expedition had come to, said to the bachelor, "Sure enough, Senor Samson
Carrasco, we are served right; it is easy enough to plan and set about an
enterprise, but it is often a difficult matter to come well out of it.
Don Quixote a madman, and we sane; he goes off laughing, safe, and sound,
and you are left sore and sorry! I'd like to know now which is the
madder, he who is so because he cannot help it, or he who is so of his
own choice?"

To which Samson replied, "The difference between the two sorts of madmen
is, that he who is so will he nil he, will be one always, while he who is
so of his own accord can leave off being one whenever he likes."

"In that case," said Tom Cecial, "I was a madman of my own accord when I
volunteered to become your squire, and, of my own accord, I'll leave off
being one and go home."

"That's your affair," returned Samson, "but to suppose that I am going
home until I have given Don Quixote a thrashing is absurd; and it is not
any wish that he may recover his senses that will make me hunt him out
now, but a wish for the sore pain I am in with my ribs won't let me
entertain more charitable thoughts."

Thus discoursing, the pair proceeded until they reached a town where it
was their good luck to find a bone-setter, with whose help the
unfortunate Samson was cured. Tom Cecial left him and went home, while he
stayed behind meditating vengeance; and the history will return to him
again at the proper time, so as not to omit making merry with Don Quixote



Don Quixote pursued his journey in the high spirits, satisfaction, and
self-complacency already described, fancying himself the most valorous
knight-errant of the age in the world because of his late victory. All
the adventures that could befall him from that time forth he regarded as
already done and brought to a happy issue; he made light of enchantments
and enchanters; he thought no more of the countless drubbings that had
been administered to him in the course of his knight-errantry, nor of the
volley of stones that had levelled half his teeth, nor of the ingratitude
of the galley slaves, nor of the audacity of the Yanguesans and the
shower of stakes that fell upon him; in short, he said to himself that
could he discover any means, mode, or way of disenchanting his lady
Dulcinea, he would not envy the highest fortune that the most fortunate
knight-errant of yore ever reached or could reach.

He was going along entirely absorbed in these fancies, when Sancho said
to him, "Isn't it odd, senor, that I have still before my eyes that
monstrous enormous nose of my gossip, Tom Cecial?"

"And dost thou, then, believe, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "that the
Knight of the Mirrors was the bachelor Carrasco, and his squire Tom
Cecial thy gossip?"

"I don't know what to say to that," replied Sancho; "all I know is that
the tokens he gave me about my own house, wife and children, nobody else
but himself could have given me; and the face, once the nose was off, was
the very face of Tom Cecial, as I have seen it many a time in my town and
next door to my own house; and the sound of the voice was just the same."

"Let us reason the matter, Sancho," said Don Quixote. "Come now, by what
process of thinking can it be supposed that the bachelor Samson Carrasco
would come as a knight-errant, in arms offensive and defensive, to fight
with me? Have I ever been by any chance his enemy? Have I ever given him
any occasion to owe me a grudge? Am I his rival, or does he profess arms,
that he should envy the fame I have acquired in them?"

"Well, but what are we to say, senor," returned Sancho, "about that
knight, whoever he is, being so like the bachelor Carrasco, and his
squire so like my gossip, Tom Cecial? And if that be enchantment, as your
worship says, was there no other pair in the world for them to take the
likeness of?"

"It is all," said Don Quixote, "a scheme and plot of the malignant
magicians that persecute me, who, foreseeing that I was to be victorious
in the conflict, arranged that the vanquished knight should display the
countenance of my friend the bachelor, in order that the friendship I
bear him should interpose to stay the edge of my sword and might of my
arm, and temper the just wrath of my heart; so that he who sought to take
my life by fraud and falsehood should save his own. And to prove it, thou
knowest already, Sancho, by experience which cannot lie or deceive, how
easy it is for enchanters to change one countenance into another, turning
fair into foul, and foul into fair; for it is not two days since thou
sawest with thine own eyes the beauty and elegance of the peerless
Dulcinea in all its perfection and natural harmony, while I saw her in
the repulsive and mean form of a coarse country wench, with cataracts in
her eyes and a foul smell in her mouth; and when the perverse enchanter
ventured to effect so wicked a transformation, it is no wonder if he
effected that of Samson Carrasco and thy gossip in order to snatch the
glory of victory out of my grasp. For all that, however, I console
myself, because, after all, in whatever shape he may have been, I have
victorious over my enemy."

"God knows what's the truth of it all," said Sancho; and knowing as he
did that the transformation of Dulcinea had been a device and imposition
of his own, his master's illusions were not satisfactory to him; but he
did not like to reply lest he should say something that might disclose
his trickery.

As they were engaged in this conversation they were overtaken by a man
who was following the same road behind them, mounted on a very handsome
flea-bitten mare, and dressed in a gaban of fine green cloth, with tawny
velvet facings, and a montera of the same velvet. The trappings of the
mare were of the field and jineta fashion, and of mulberry colour and
green. He carried a Moorish cutlass hanging from a broad green and gold
baldric; the buskins were of the same make as the baldric; the spurs were
not gilt, but lacquered green, and so brightly polished that, matching as
they did the rest of his apparel, they looked better than if they had
been of pure gold.

When the traveller came up with them he saluted them courteously, and
spurring his mare was passing them without stopping, but Don Quixote
called out to him, "Gallant sir, if so be your worship is going our road,
and has no occasion for speed, it would be a pleasure to me if we were to
join company."

"In truth," replied he on the mare, "I would not pass you so hastily but
for fear that horse might turn restive in the company of my mare."

"You may safely hold in your mare, senor," said Sancho in reply to this,
"for our horse is the most virtuous and well-behaved horse in the world;
he never does anything wrong on such occasions, and the only time he
misbehaved, my master and I suffered for it sevenfold; I say again your
worship may pull up if you like; for if she was offered to him between
two plates the horse would not hanker after her."

The traveller drew rein, amazed at the trim and features of Don Quixote,
who rode without his helmet, which Sancho carried like a valise in front
of Dapple's pack-saddle; and if the man in green examined Don Quixote
closely, still more closely did Don Quixote examine the man in green, who
struck him as being a man of intelligence. In appearance he was about
fifty years of age, with but few grey hairs, an aquiline cast of
features, and an expression between grave and gay; and his dress and
accoutrements showed him to be a man of good condition. What he in green
thought of Don Quixote of La Mancha was that a man of that sort and shape
he had never yet seen; he marvelled at the length of his hair, his lofty
stature, the lankness and sallowness of his countenance, his armour, his
bearing and his gravity--a figure and picture such as had not been seen
in those regions for many a long day.

Don Quixote saw very plainly the attention with which the traveller was
regarding him, and read his curiosity in his astonishment; and courteous
as he was and ready to please everybody, before the other could ask him
any question he anticipated him by saying, "The appearance I present to
your worship being so strange and so out of the common, I should not be
surprised if it filled you with wonder; but you will cease to wonder when
I tell you, as I do, that I am one of those knights who, as people say,
go seeking adventures. I have left my home, I have mortgaged my estate, I
have given up my comforts, and committed myself to the arms of Fortune,
to bear me whithersoever she may please. My desire was to bring to life
again knight-errantry, now dead, and for some time past, stumbling here,
falling there, now coming down headlong, now raising myself up again, I
have carried out a great portion of my design, succouring widows,
protecting maidens, and giving aid to wives, orphans, and minors, the
proper and natural duty of knights-errant; and, therefore, because of my
many valiant and Christian achievements, I have been already found worthy
to make my way in print to well-nigh all, or most, of the nations of the
earth. Thirty thousand volumes of my history have been printed, and it is
on the high-road to be printed thirty thousand thousands of times, if
heaven does not put a stop to it. In short, to sum up all in a few words,
or in a single one, I may tell you I am Don Quixote of La Mancha,
otherwise called 'The Knight of the Rueful Countenance;' for though
self-praise is degrading, I must perforce sound my own sometimes, that is
to say, when there is no one at hand to do it for me. So that, gentle
sir, neither this horse, nor this lance, nor this shield, nor this
squire, nor all these arms put together, nor the sallowness of my
countenance, nor my gaunt leanness, will henceforth astonish you, now
that you know who I am and what profession I follow."

With these words Don Quixote held his peace, and, from the time he took
to answer, the man in green seemed to be at a loss for a reply; after a
long pause, however, he said to him, "You were right when you saw
curiosity in my amazement, sir knight; but you have not succeeded in
removing the astonishment I feel at seeing you; for although you say,
senor, that knowing who you are ought to remove it, it has not done so;
on the contrary, now that I know, I am left more amazed and astonished
than before. What! is it possible that there are knights-errant in the
world in these days, and histories of real chivalry printed? I cannot
realise the fact that there can be anyone on earth now-a-days who aids
widows, or protects maidens, or defends wives, or succours orphans; nor
should I believe it had I not seen it in your worship with my own eyes.
Blessed be heaven! for by means of this history of your noble and genuine
chivalrous deeds, which you say has been printed, the countless stories
of fictitious knights-errant with which the world is filled, so much to
the injury of morality and the prejudice and discredit of good histories,
will have been driven into oblivion."

"There is a good deal to be said on that point," said Don Quixote, "as to
whether the histories of the knights-errant are fiction or not."

"Why, is there anyone who doubts that those histories are false?" said
the man in green.

"I doubt it," said Don Quixote, "but never mind that just now; if our
journey lasts long enough, I trust in God I shall show your worship that
you do wrong in going with the stream of those who regard it as a matter
of certainty that they are not true."

From this last observation of Don Quixote's, the traveller began to have
a suspicion that he was some crazy being, and was waiting him to confirm
it by something further; but before they could turn to any new subject
Don Quixote begged him to tell him who he was, since he himself had
rendered account of his station and life. To this, he in the green gaban
replied "I, Sir Knight of the Rueful Countenance, am a gentleman by
birth, native of the village where, please God, we are going to dine
today; I am more than fairly well off, and my name is Don Diego de
Miranda. I pass my life with my wife, children, and friends; my pursuits
are hunting and fishing, but I keep neither hawks nor greyhounds, nothing
but a tame partridge or a bold ferret or two; I have six dozen or so of
books, some in our mother tongue, some Latin, some of them history,
others devotional; those of chivalry have not as yet crossed the
threshold of my door; I am more given to turning over the profane than
the devotional, so long as they are books of honest entertainment that
charm by their style and attract and interest by the invention they
display, though of these there are very few in Spain. Sometimes I dine
with my neighbours and friends, and often invite them; my entertainments
are neat and well served without stint of anything. I have no taste for
tattle, nor do I allow tattling in my presence; I pry not into my
neighbours' lives, nor have I lynx-eyes for what others do. I hear mass
every day; I share my substance with the poor, making no display of good
works, lest I let hypocrisy and vainglory, those enemies that subtly take
possession of the most watchful heart, find an entrance into mine. I
strive to make peace between those whom I know to be at variance; I am
the devoted servant of Our Lady, and my trust is ever in the infinite
mercy of God our Lord."

Sancho listened with the greatest attention to the account of the
gentleman's life and occupation; and thinking it a good and a holy life,
and that he who led it ought to work miracles, he threw himself off
Dapple, and running in haste seized his right stirrup and kissed his foot
again and again with a devout heart and almost with tears.

Seeing this the gentleman asked him, "What are you about, brother? What
are these kisses for?"

"Let me kiss," said Sancho, "for I think your worship is the first saint
in the saddle I ever saw all the days of my life."

"I am no saint," replied the gentleman, "but a great sinner; but you are,
brother, for you must be a good fellow, as your simplicity shows."

Sancho went back and regained his pack-saddle, having extracted a laugh
from his master's profound melancholy, and excited fresh amazement in Don
Diego. Don Quixote then asked him how many children he had, and observed
that one of the things wherein the ancient philosophers, who were without
the true knowledge of God, placed the summum bonum was in the gifts of
nature, in those of fortune, in having many friends, and many and good

"I, Senor Don Quixote," answered the gentleman, "have one son, without
whom, perhaps, I should count myself happier than I am, not because he is
a bad son, but because he is not so good as I could wish. He is eighteen
years of age; he has been for six at Salamanca studying Latin and Greek,
and when I wished him to turn to the study of other sciences I found him
so wrapped up in that of poetry (if that can be called a science) that
there is no getting him to take kindly to the law, which I wished him to
study, or to theology, the queen of them all. I would like him to be an
honour to his family, as we live in days when our kings liberally reward
learning that is virtuous and worthy; for learning without virtue is a
pearl on a dunghill. He spends the whole day in settling whether Homer
expressed himself correctly or not in such and such a line of the Iliad,
whether Martial was indecent or not in such and such an epigram, whether
such and such lines of Virgil are to be understood in this way or in
that; in short, all his talk is of the works of these poets, and those of
Horace, Perseus, Juvenal, and Tibullus; for of the moderns in our own
language he makes no great account; but with all his seeming indifference
to Spanish poetry, just now his thoughts are absorbed in making a gloss
on four lines that have been sent him from Salamanca, which I suspect are
for some poetical tournament."

To all this Don Quixote said in reply, "Children, senor, are portions of
their parents' bowels, and therefore, be they good or bad, are to be
loved as we love the souls that give us life; it is for the parents to
guide them from infancy in the ways of virtue, propriety, and worthy
Christian conduct, so that when grown up they may be the staff of their
parents' old age, and the glory of their posterity; and to force them to
study this or that science I do not think wise, though it may be no harm
to persuade them; and when there is no need to study for the sake of pane
lucrando, and it is the student's good fortune that heaven has given him
parents who provide him with it, it would be my advice to them to let him
pursue whatever science they may see him most inclined to; and though
that of poetry is less useful than pleasurable, it is not one of those
that bring discredit upon the possessor. Poetry, gentle sir, is, as I
take it, like a tender young maiden of supreme beauty, to array, bedeck,
and adorn whom is the task of several other maidens, who are all the rest
of the sciences; and she must avail herself of the help of all, and all
derive their lustre from her. But this maiden will not bear to be
handled, nor dragged through the streets, nor exposed either at the
corners of the market-places, or in the closets of palaces. She is the
product of an Alchemy of such virtue that he who is able to practise it,
will turn her into pure gold of inestimable worth. He that possesses her
must keep her within bounds, not permitting her to break out in ribald
satires or soulless sonnets. She must on no account be offered for sale,
unless, indeed, it be in heroic poems, moving tragedies, or sprightly and
ingenious comedies. She must not be touched by the buffoons, nor by the
ignorant vulgar, incapable of comprehending or appreciating her hidden
treasures. And do not suppose, senor, that I apply the term vulgar here
merely to plebeians and the lower orders; for everyone who is ignorant,
be he lord or prince, may and should be included among the vulgar. He,
then, who shall embrace and cultivate poetry under the conditions I have
named, shall become famous, and his name honoured throughout all the
civilised nations of the earth. And with regard to what you say, senor,
of your son having no great opinion of Spanish poetry, I am inclined to
think that he is not quite right there, and for this reason: the great
poet Homer did not write in Latin, because he was a Greek, nor did Virgil
write in Greek, because he was a Latin; in short, all the ancient poets
wrote in the language they imbibed with their mother's milk, and never
went in quest of foreign ones to express their sublime conceptions; and
that being so, the usage should in justice extend to all nations, and the
German poet should not be undervalued because he writes in his own
language, nor the Castilian, nor even the Biscayan, for writing in his.
But your son, senor, I suspect, is not prejudiced against Spanish poetry,
but against those poets who are mere Spanish verse writers, without any
knowledge of other languages or sciences to adorn and give life and
vigour to their natural inspiration; and yet even in this he may be
wrong; for, according to a true belief, a poet is born one; that is to
say, the poet by nature comes forth a poet from his mother's womb; and
following the bent that heaven has bestowed upon him, without the aid of
study or art, he produces things that show how truly he spoke who said,
'Est Deus in nobis,' etc. At the same time, I say that the poet by nature
who calls in art to his aid will be a far better poet, and will surpass
him who tries to be one relying upon his knowledge of art alone. The
reason is, that art does not surpass nature, but only brings it to
perfection; and thus, nature combined with art, and art with nature, will
produce a perfect poet. To bring my argument to a close, I would say
then, gentle sir, let your son go on as his star leads him, for being so
studious as he seems to be, and having already successfully surmounted
the first step of the sciences, which is that of the languages, with
their help he will by his own exertions reach the summit of polite
literature, which so well becomes an independent gentleman, and adorns,
honours, and distinguishes him, as much as the mitre does the bishop, or
the gown the learned counsellor. If your son write satires reflecting on
the honour of others, chide and correct him, and tear them up; but if he
compose discourses in which he rebukes vice in general, in the style of
Horace, and with elegance like his, commend him; for it is legitimate for
a poet to write against envy and lash the envious in his verse, and the
other vices too, provided he does not single out individuals; there are,
however, poets who, for the sake of saying something spiteful, would run
the risk of being banished to the coast of Pontus. If the poet be pure in
his morals, he will be pure in his verses too; the pen is the tongue of
the mind, and as the thought engendered there, so will be the things that
it writes down. And when kings and princes observe this marvellous
science of poetry in wise, virtuous, and thoughtful subjects, they
honour, value, exalt them, and even crown them with the leaves of that
tree which the thunderbolt strikes not, as if to show that they whose
brows are honoured and adorned with such a crown are not to be assailed
by anyone."

He of the green gaban was filled with astonishment at Don Quixote's
argument, so much so that he began to abandon the notion he had taken up
about his being crazy. But in the middle of the discourse, it being not
very much to his taste, Sancho had turned aside out of the road to beg a
little milk from some shepherds, who were milking their ewes hard by; and
just as the gentleman, highly pleased, was about to renew the
conversation, Don Quixote, raising his head, perceived a cart covered
with royal flags coming along the road they were travelling; and
persuaded that this must be some new adventure, he called aloud to Sancho
to come and bring him his helmet. Sancho, hearing himself called, quitted
the shepherds, and, prodding Dapple vigorously, came up to his master, to
whom there fell a terrific and desperate adventure.



The history tells that when Don Quixote called out to Sancho to bring him
his helmet, Sancho was buying some curds the shepherds agreed to sell
him, and flurried by the great haste his master was in did not know what
to do with them or what to carry them in; so, not to lose them, for he
had already paid for them, he thought it best to throw them into his
master's helmet, and acting on this bright idea he went to see what his
master wanted with him. He, as he approached, exclaimed to him:

"Give me that helmet, my friend, for either I know little of adventures,
or what I observe yonder is one that will, and does, call upon me to arm

He of the green gaban, on hearing this, looked in all directions, but
could perceive nothing, except a cart coming towards them with two or
three small flags, which led him to conclude it must be carrying treasure
of the King's, and he said so to Don Quixote. He, however, would not
believe him, being always persuaded and convinced that all that happened
to him must be adventures and still more adventures; so he replied to the
gentleman, "He who is prepared has his battle half fought; nothing is
lost by my preparing myself, for I know by experience that I have
enemies, visible and invisible, and I know not when, or where, or at what
moment, or in what shapes they will attack me;" and turning to Sancho he
called for his helmet; and Sancho, as he had no time to take out the
curds, had to give it just as it was. Don Quixote took it, and without
perceiving what was in it thrust it down in hot haste upon his head; but
as the curds were pressed and squeezed the whey began to run all over his
face and beard, whereat he was so startled that he cried out to Sancho:

"Sancho, what's this? I think my head is softening, or my brains are
melting, or I am sweating from head to foot! If I am sweating it is not
indeed from fear. I am convinced beyond a doubt that the adventure which
is about to befall me is a terrible one. Give me something to wipe myself
with, if thou hast it, for this profuse sweat is blinding me."

Sancho held his tongue, and gave him a cloth, and gave thanks to God at
the same time that his master had not found out what was the matter. Don
Quixote then wiped himself, and took off his helmet to see what it was
that made his head feel so cool, and seeing all that white mash inside
his helmet he put it to his nose, and as soon as he had smelt it he

"By the life of my lady Dulcinea del Toboso, but it is curds thou hast
put here, thou treacherous, impudent, ill-mannered squire!"

To which, with great composure and pretended innocence, Sancho replied,
"If they are curds let me have them, your worship, and I'll eat them; but
let the devil eat them, for it must have been he who put them there. I
dare to dirty your helmet! You have guessed the offender finely! Faith,
sir, by the light God gives me, it seems I must have enchanters too, that
persecute me as a creature and limb of your worship, and they must have
put that nastiness there in order to provoke your patience to anger, and
make you baste my ribs as you are wont to do. Well, this time, indeed,
they have missed their aim, for I trust to my master's good sense to see
that I have got no curds or milk, or anything of the sort; and that if I
had it is in my stomach I would put it and not in the helmet."

"May be so," said Don Quixote. All this the gentleman was observing, and
with astonishment, more especially when, after having wiped himself
clean, his head, face, beard, and helmet, Don Quixote put it on, and
settling himself firmly in his stirrups, easing his sword in the
scabbard, and grasping his lance, he cried, "Now, come who will, here am
I, ready to try conclusions with Satan himself in person!"

By this time the cart with the flags had come up, unattended by anyone
except the carter on a mule, and a man sitting in front. Don Quixote
planted himself before it and said, "Whither are you going, brothers?
What cart is this? What have you got in it? What flags are those?"

To this the carter replied, "The cart is mine; what is in it is a pair of
wild caged lions, which the governor of Oran is sending to court as a
present to his Majesty; and the flags are our lord the King's, to show
that what is here is his property."

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

"So large," replied the man who sat at the door of the cart, "that
larger, or as large, have never crossed from Africa to Spain; I am the
keeper, and I have brought over others, but never any like these. They
are male and female; the male is in that first cage and the female in the
one behind, and they are hungry now, for they have eaten nothing to-day,
so let your worship stand aside, for we must make haste to the place
where we are to feed them."

Hereupon, smiling slightly, Don Quixote exclaimed, "Lion-whelps to me! to
me whelps of lions, and at such a time! Then, by God! those gentlemen who
send them here shall see if I am a man to be frightened by lions. Get
down, my good fellow, and as you are the keeper open the cages, and turn
me out those beasts, and in the midst of this plain I will let them know
who Don Quixote of La Mancha is, in spite and in the teeth of the
enchanters who send them to me."

"So, so," said the gentleman to himself at this; "our worthy knight has
shown of what sort he is; the curds, no doubt, have softened his skull
and brought his brains to a head."

At this instant Sancho came up to him, saying, "Senor, for God's sake do
something to keep my master, Don Quixote, from tackling these lions; for
if he does they'll tear us all to pieces here."

"Is your master then so mad," asked the gentleman, "that you believe and
are afraid he will engage such fierce animals?"

"He is not mad," said Sancho, "but he is venturesome."

"I will prevent it," said the gentleman; and going over to Don Quixote,
who was insisting upon the keeper's opening the cages, he said to him,
"Sir knight, knights-errant should attempt adventures which encourage the
hope of a successful issue, not those which entirely withhold it; for
valour that trenches upon temerity savours rather of madness than of
courage; moreover, these lions do not come to oppose you, nor do they
dream of such a thing; they are going as presents to his Majesty, and it
will not be right to stop them or delay their journey."

"Gentle sir," replied Don Quixote, "you go and mind your tame partridge
and your bold ferret, and leave everyone to manage his own business; this
is mine, and I know whether these gentlemen the lions come to me or not;"
and then turning to the keeper he exclaimed, "By all that's good, sir
scoundrel, if you don't open the cages this very instant, I'll pin you to
the cart with this lance."

The carter, seeing the determination of this apparition in armour, said
to him, "Please your worship, for charity's sake, senor, let me unyoke
the mules and place myself in safety along with them before the lions are
turned out; for if they kill them on me I am ruined for life, for all I
possess is this cart and mules."

"O man of little faith," replied Don Quixote, "get down and unyoke; you
will soon see that you are exerting yourself for nothing, and that you
might have spared yourself the trouble."

The carter got down and with all speed unyoked the mules, and the keeper
called out at the top of his voice, "I call all here to witness that
against my will and under compulsion I open the cages and let the lions
loose, and that I warn this gentleman that he will be accountable for all
the harm and mischief which these beasts may do, and for my salary and
dues as well. You, gentlemen, place yourselves in safety before I open,
for I know they will do me no harm."

Once more the gentleman strove to persuade Don Quixote not to do such a
mad thing, as it was tempting God to engage in such a piece of folly. To
this, Don Quixote replied that he knew what he was about. The gentleman
in return entreated him to reflect, for he knew he was under a delusion.

"Well, senor," answered Don Quixote, "if you do not like to be a
spectator of this tragedy, as in your opinion it will be, spur your
flea-bitten mare, and place yourself in safety."

Hearing this, Sancho with tears in his eyes entreated him to give up an
enterprise compared with which the one of the windmills, and the awful
one of the fulling mills, and, in fact, all the feats he had attempted in
the whole course of his life, were cakes and fancy bread. "Look ye,
senor," said Sancho, "there's no enchantment here, nor anything of the
sort, for between the bars and chinks of the cage I have seen the paw of
a real lion, and judging by that I reckon the lion such a paw could
belong to must be bigger than a mountain."

"Fear at any rate," replied Don Quixote, "will make him look bigger to
thee than half the world. Retire, Sancho, and leave me; and if I die here
thou knowest our old compact; thou wilt repair to Dulcinea--I say no
more." To these he added some further words that banished all hope of his
giving up his insane project. He of the green gaban would have offered
resistance, but he found himself ill-matched as to arms, and did not
think it prudent to come to blows with a madman, for such Don Quixote now
showed himself to be in every respect; and the latter, renewing his
commands to the keeper and repeating his threats, gave warning to the
gentleman to spur his mare, Sancho his Dapple, and the carter his mules,
all striving to get away from the cart as far as they could before the
lions broke loose. Sancho was weeping over his master's death, for this
time he firmly believed it was in store for him from the claws of the
lions; and he cursed his fate and called it an unlucky hour when he
thought of taking service with him again; but with all his tears and
lamentations he did not forget to thrash Dapple so as to put a good space
between himself and the cart. The keeper, seeing that the fugitives were
now some distance off, once more entreated and warned him as before; but
he replied that he heard him, and that he need not trouble himself with
any further warnings or entreaties, as they would be fruitless, and bade
him make haste.

During the delay that occurred while the keeper was opening the first
cage, Don Quixote was considering whether it would not be well to do
battle on foot, instead of on horseback, and finally resolved to fight on
foot, fearing that Rocinante might take fright at the sight of the lions;
he therefore sprang off his horse, flung his lance aside, braced his
buckler on his arm, and drawing his sword, advanced slowly with
marvellous intrepidity and resolute courage, to plant himself in front of
the cart, commending himself with all his heart to God and to his lady

It is to be observed, that on coming to this passage, the author of this
veracious history breaks out into exclamations. "O doughty Don Quixote!
high-mettled past extolling! Mirror, wherein all the heroes of the world
may see themselves! Second modern Don Manuel de Leon, once the glory and
honour of Spanish knighthood! In what words shall I describe this dread
exploit, by what language shall I make it credible to ages to come, what
eulogies are there unmeet for thee, though they be hyperboles piled on
hyperboles! On foot, alone, undaunted, high-souled, with but a simple
sword, and that no trenchant blade of the Perrillo brand, a shield, but
no bright polished steel one, there stoodst thou, biding and awaiting the
two fiercest lions that Africa's forests ever bred! Thy own deeds be thy
praise, valiant Manchegan, and here I leave them as they stand, wanting
the words wherewith to glorify them!"

Here the author's outburst came to an end, and he proceeded to take up
the thread of his story, saying that the keeper, seeing that Don Quixote
had taken up his position, and that it was impossible for him to avoid
letting out the male without incurring the enmity of the fiery and daring
knight, flung open the doors of the first cage, containing, as has been
said, the lion, which was now seen to be of enormous size, and grim and
hideous mien. The first thing he did was to turn round in the cage in
which he lay, and protrude his claws, and stretch himself thoroughly; he
next opened his mouth, and yawned very leisurely, and with near two
palms' length of tongue that he had thrust forth, he licked the dust out
of his eyes and washed his face; having done this, he put his head out of
the cage and looked all round with eyes like glowing coals, a spectacle
and demeanour to strike terror into temerity itself. Don Quixote merely
observed him steadily, longing for him to leap from the cart and come to
close quarters with him, when he hoped to hew him in pieces.

So far did his unparalleled madness go; but the noble lion, more
courteous than arrogant, not troubling himself about silly bravado, after
having looked all round, as has been said, turned about and presented his
hind-quarters to Don Quixote, and very coolly and tranquilly lay down
again in the cage. Seeing this, Don Quixote ordered the keeper to take a
stick to him and provoke him to make him come out.

"That I won't," said the keeper; "for if I anger him, the first he'll
tear in pieces will be myself. Be satisfied, sir knight, with what you
have done, which leaves nothing more to be said on the score of courage,
and do not seek to tempt fortune a second time. The lion has the door
open; he is free to come out or not to come out; but as he has not come
out so far, he will not come out to-day. Your worship's great courage has
been fully manifested already; no brave champion, so it strikes me, is
bound to do more than challenge his enemy and wait for him on the field;
if his adversary does not come, on him lies the disgrace, and he who
waits for him carries off the crown of victory."

"That is true," said Don Quixote; "close the door, my friend, and let me
have, in the best form thou canst, what thou hast seen me do, by way of
certificate; to wit, that thou didst open for the lion, that I waited for
him, that he did not come out, that I still waited for him, and that
still he did not come out, and lay down again. I am not bound to do more;
enchantments avaunt, and God uphold the right, the truth, and true
chivalry! Close the door as I bade thee, while I make signals to the
fugitives that have left us, that they may learn this exploit from thy

The keeper obeyed, and Don Quixote, fixing on the point of his lance the
cloth he had wiped his face with after the deluge of curds, proceeded to
recall the others, who still continued to fly, looking back at every
step, all in a body, the gentleman bringing up the rear. Sancho, however,
happening to observe the signal of the white cloth, exclaimed, "May I
die, if my master has not overcome the wild beasts, for he is calling to

They all stopped, and perceived that it was Don Quixote who was making
signals, and shaking off their fears to some extent, they approached
slowly until they were near enough to hear distinctly Don Quixote's voice
calling to them. They returned at length to the cart, and as they came
up, Don Quixote said to the carter, "Put your mules to once more,
brother, and continue your journey; and do thou, Sancho, give him two
gold crowns for himself and the keeper, to compensate for the delay they
have incurred through me."

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

The keeper, then, in full detail, and bit by bit, described the end of
the contest, exalting to the best of his power and ability the valour of
Don Quixote, at the sight of whom the lion quailed, and would not and
dared not come out of the cage, although he had held the door open ever
so long; and showing how, in consequence of his having represented to the
knight that it was tempting God to provoke the lion in order to force him
out, which he wished to have done, he very reluctantly, and altogether
against his will, had allowed the door to be closed.

"What dost thou think of this, Sancho?" said Don Quixote. "Are there any
enchantments that can prevail against true valour? The enchanters may be
able to rob me of good fortune, but of fortitude and courage they

Sancho paid the crowns, the carter put to, the keeper kissed Don
Quixote's hands for the bounty bestowed upon him, and promised to give an
account of the valiant exploit to the King himself, as soon as he saw him
at court.

"Then," said Don Quixote, "if his Majesty should happen to ask who
performed it, you must say THE KNIGHT OF THE LIONS; for it is my desire
that into this the name I have hitherto borne of Knight of the Rueful
Countenance be from this time forward changed, altered, transformed, and
turned; and in this I follow the ancient usage of knights-errant, who
changed their names when they pleased, or when it suited their purpose."

The cart went its way, and Don Quixote, Sancho, and he of the green gaban
went theirs. All this time, Don Diego de Miranda had not spoken a word,
being entirely taken up with observing and noting all that Don Quixote
did and said, and the opinion he formed was that he was a man of brains
gone mad, and a madman on the verge of rationality. The first part of his
history had not yet reached him, for, had he read it, the amazement with
which his words and deeds filled him would have vanished, as he would
then have understood the nature of his madness; but knowing nothing of
it, he took him to be rational one moment, and crazy the next, for what
he said was sensible, elegant, and well expressed, and what he did,
absurd, rash, and foolish; and said he to himself, "What could be madder
than putting on a helmet full of curds, and then persuading oneself that
enchanters are softening one's skull; or what could be greater rashness
and folly than wanting to fight lions tooth and nail?"

Don Quixote roused him from these reflections and this soliloquy by
saying, "No doubt, Senor Don Diego de Miranda, you set me down in your
mind as a fool and a madman, and it would be no wonder if you did, for my
deeds do not argue anything else. But for all that, I would have you take
notice that I am neither so mad nor so foolish as I must have seemed to
you. A gallant knight shows to advantage bringing his lance to bear
adroitly upon a fierce bull under the eyes of his sovereign, in the midst
of a spacious plaza; a knight shows to advantage arrayed in glittering
armour, pacing the lists before the ladies in some joyous tournament, and
all those knights show to advantage that entertain, divert, and, if we
may say so, honour the courts of their princes by warlike exercises, or
what resemble them; but to greater advantage than all these does a
knight-errant show when he traverses deserts, solitudes, cross-roads,
forests, and mountains, in quest of perilous adventures, bent on bringing
them to a happy and successful issue, all to win a glorious and lasting
renown. To greater advantage, I maintain, does the knight-errant show
bringing aid to some widow in some lonely waste, than the court knight
dallying with some city damsel. All knights have their own special parts
to play; let the courtier devote himself to the ladies, let him add
lustre to his sovereign's court by his liveries, let him entertain poor
gentlemen with the sumptuous fare of his table, let him arrange
joustings, marshal tournaments, and prove himself noble, generous, and
magnificent, and above all a good Christian, and so doing he will fulfil
the duties that are especially his; but let the knight-errant explore the
corners of the earth and penetrate the most intricate labyrinths, at each
step let him attempt impossibilities, on desolate heaths let him endure
the burning rays of the midsummer sun, and the bitter inclemency of the
winter winds and frosts; let no lions daunt him, no monsters terrify him,
no dragons make him quail; for to seek these, to attack those, and to
vanquish all, are in truth his main duties. I, then, as it has fallen to
my lot to be a member of knight-errantry, cannot avoid attempting all
that to me seems to come within the sphere of my duties; thus it was my
bounden duty to attack those lions that I just now attacked, although I
knew it to be the height of rashness; for I know well what valour is,
that it is a virtue that occupies a place between two vicious extremes,
cowardice and temerity; but it will be a lesser evil for him who is
valiant to rise till he reaches the point of rashness, than to sink until
he reaches the point of cowardice; for, as it is easier for the prodigal
than for the miser to become generous, so it is easier for a rash man to
prove truly valiant than for a coward to rise to true valour; and believe
me, Senor Don Diego, in attempting adventures it is better to lose by a
card too many than by a card too few; for to hear it said, 'such a knight
is rash and daring,' sounds better than 'such a knight is timid and

"I protest, Senor Don Quixote," said Don Diego, "everything you have said
and done is proved correct by the test of reason itself; and I believe,
if the laws and ordinances of knight-errantry should be lost, they might
be found in your worship's breast as in their own proper depository and
muniment-house; but let us make haste, and reach my village, where you
shall take rest after your late exertions; for if they have not been of
the body they have been of the spirit, and these sometimes tend to
produce bodily fatigue."

"I take the invitation as a great favour and honour, Senor Don Diego,"
replied Don Quixote; and pressing forward at a better pace than before,
at about two in the afternoon they reached the village and house of Don
Diego, or, as Don Quixote called him, "The Knight of the Green Gaban."



Don Quixote found Don Diego de Miranda's house built in village style,
with his arms in rough stone over the street door; in the patio was the
store-room, and at the entrance the cellar, with plenty of wine-jars
standing round, which, coming from El Toboso, brought back to his memory
his enchanted and transformed Dulcinea; and with a sigh, and not thinking
of what he was saying, or in whose presence he was, he exclaimed--

"O ye sweet treasures, to my sorrow found!
Once sweet and welcome when 'twas heaven's good-will.

"O ye Tobosan jars, how ye bring back to my memory the
sweet object of my bitter regrets!"

The student poet, Don Diego's son, who had come out with his mother to
receive him, heard this exclamation, and both mother and son were filled
with amazement at the extraordinary figure he presented; he, however,
dismounting from Rocinante, advanced with great politeness to ask
permission to kiss the lady's hand, while Don Diego said, "Senora, pray
receive with your wonted kindness Senor Don Quixote of La Mancha, whom
you see before you, a knight-errant, and the bravest and wisest in the

The lady, whose name was Dona Christina, received him with every sign of
good-will and great courtesy, and Don Quixote placed himself at her
service with an abundance of well-chosen and polished phrases. Almost the
same civilities were exchanged between him and the student, who listening
to Don Quixote, took him to be a sensible, clear-headed person.

Here the author describes minutely everything belonging to Don Diego's
mansion, putting before us in his picture the whole contents of a rich
gentleman-farmer's house; but the translator of the history thought it
best to pass over these and other details of the same sort in silence, as
they are not in harmony with the main purpose of the story, the strong
point of which is truth rather than dull digressions.

They led Don Quixote into a room, and Sancho removed his armour, leaving
him in loose Walloon breeches and chamois-leather doublet, all stained
with the rust of his armour; his collar was a falling one of scholastic
cut, without starch or lace, his buskins buff-coloured, and his shoes
polished. He wore his good sword, which hung in a baldric of sea-wolf's
skin, for he had suffered for many years, they say, from an ailment of
the kidneys; and over all he threw a long cloak of good grey cloth. But
first of all, with five or six buckets of water (for as regard the number
of buckets there is some dispute), he washed his head and face, and still
the water remained whey-coloured, thanks to Sancho's greediness and
purchase of those unlucky curds that turned his master so white. Thus
arrayed, and with an easy, sprightly, and gallant air, Don Quixote passed
out into another room, where the student was waiting to entertain him
while the table was being laid; for on the arrival of so distinguished a
guest, Dona Christina was anxious to show that she knew how and was able
to give a becoming reception to those who came to her house.

While Don Quixote was taking off his armour, Don Lorenzo (for so Don
Diego's son was called) took the opportunity to say to his father, "What
are we to make of this gentleman you have brought home to us, sir? For
his name, his appearance, and your describing him as a knight-errant have
completely puzzled my mother and me."

"I don't know what to say, my son," replied. Don Diego; "all I can tell
thee is that I have seen him act the acts of the greatest madman in the
world, and heard him make observations so sensible that they efface and
undo all he does; do thou talk to him and feel the pulse of his wits, and
as thou art shrewd, form the most reasonable conclusion thou canst as to
his wisdom or folly; though, to tell the truth, I am more inclined to
take him to be mad than sane."

With this Don Lorenzo went away to entertain Don Quixote as has been
said, and in the course of the conversation that passed between them Don
Quixote said to Don Lorenzo, "Your father, Senor Don Diego de Miranda,
has told me of the rare abilities and subtle intellect you possess, and,
above all, that you are a great poet."

"A poet, it may be," replied Don Lorenzo, "but a great one, by no means.
It is true that I am somewhat given to poetry and to reading good poets,
but not so much so as to justify the title of 'great' which my father
gives me."

"I do not dislike that modesty," said Don Quixote; "for there is no poet
who is not conceited and does not think he is the best poet in the

"There is no rule without an exception," said Don Lorenzo; "there may be
some who are poets and yet do not think they are."

"Very few," said Don Quixote; "but tell me, what verses are those which
you have now in hand, and which your father tells me keep you somewhat
restless and absorbed? If it be some gloss, I know something about
glosses, and I should like to hear them; and if they are for a poetical
tournament, contrive to carry off the second prize; for the first always
goes by favour or personal standing, the second by simple justice; and so
the third comes to be the second, and the first, reckoning in this way,
will be third, in the same way as licentiate degrees are conferred at the
universities; but, for all that, the title of first is a great

"So far," said Don Lorenzo to himself, "I should not take you to be a
madman; but let us go on." So he said to him, "Your worship has
apparently attended the schools; what sciences have you studied?"

"That of knight-errantry," said Don Quixote, "which is as good as that of
poetry, and even a finger or two above it."

"I do not know what science that is," said Don Lorenzo, "and until now I
have never heard of it."

"It is a science," said Don Quixote, "that comprehends in itself all or
most of the sciences in the world, for he who professes it must be a
jurist, and must know the rules of justice, distributive and equitable,
so as to give to each one what belongs to him and is due to him. He must
be a theologian, so as to be able to give a clear and distinctive reason
for the Christian faith he professes, wherever it may be asked of him. He
must be a physician, and above all a herbalist, so as in wastes and
solitudes to know the herbs that have the property of healing wounds, for
a knight-errant must not go looking for some one to cure him at every
step. He must be an astronomer, so as to know by the stars how many hours
of the night have passed, and what clime and quarter of the world he is
in. He must know mathematics, for at every turn some occasion for them
will present itself to him; and, putting it aside that he must be adorned
with all the virtues, cardinal and theological, to come down to minor
particulars, he must, I say, be able to swim as well as Nicholas or
Nicolao the Fish could, as the story goes; he must know how to shoe a
horse, and repair his saddle and bridle; and, to return to higher
matters, he must be faithful to God and to his lady; he must be pure in
thought, decorous in words, generous in works, valiant in deeds, patient
in suffering, compassionate towards the needy, and, lastly, an upholder
of the truth though its defence should cost him his life. Of all these
qualities, great and small, is a true knight-errant made up; judge then,
Senor Don Lorenzo, whether it be a contemptible science which the knight
who studies and professes it has to learn, and whether it may not compare
with the very loftiest that are taught in the schools."

"If that be so," replied Don Lorenzo, "this science, I protest, surpasses

"How, if that be so?" said Don Quixote.

"What I mean to say," said Don Lorenzo, "is, that I doubt whether there
are now, or ever were, any knights-errant, and adorned with such

"Many a time," replied Don Quixote, "have I said what I now say once
more, that the majority of the world are of opinion that there never were
any knights-errant in it; and as it is my opinion that, unless heaven by
some miracle brings home to them the truth that there were and are, all
the pains one takes will be in vain (as experience has often proved to
me), I will not now stop to disabuse you of the error you share with the
multitude. All I shall do is to pray to heaven to deliver you from it,
and show you how beneficial and necessary knights-errant were in days of
yore, and how useful they would be in these days were they but in vogue;
but now, for the sins of the people, sloth and indolence, gluttony and
luxury are triumphant."

"Our guest has broken out on our hands," said Don Lorenzo to himself at
this point; "but, for all that, he is a glorious madman, and I should be
a dull blockhead to doubt it."

Here, being summoned to dinner, they brought their colloquy to a close.
Don Diego asked his son what he had been able to make out as to the wits
of their guest. To which he replied, "All the doctors and clever scribes
in the world will not make sense of the scrawl of his madness; he is a
madman full of streaks, full of lucid intervals."

They went in to dinner, and the repast was such as Don Diego said on the
road he was in the habit of giving to his guests, neat, plentiful, and
tasty; but what pleased Don Quixote most was the marvellous silence that
reigned throughout the house, for it was like a Carthusian monastery.

When the cloth had been removed, grace said and their hands washed, Don
Quixote earnestly pressed Don Lorenzo to repeat to him his verses for the
poetical tournament, to which he replied, "Not to be like those poets
who, when they are asked to recite their verses, refuse, and when they
are not asked for them vomit them up, I will repeat my gloss, for which I
do not expect any prize, having composed it merely as an exercise of

"A discerning friend of mine," said Don Quixote, "was of opinion that no
one ought to waste labour in glossing verses; and the reason he gave was
that the gloss can never come up to the text, and that often or most
frequently it wanders away from the meaning and purpose aimed at in the
glossed lines; and besides, that the laws of the gloss were too strict,
as they did not allow interrogations, nor 'said he,' nor 'I say,' nor
turning verbs into nouns, or altering the construction, not to speak of
other restrictions and limitations that fetter gloss-writers, as you no
doubt know."

"Verily, Senor Don Quixote," said Don Lorenzo, "I wish I could catch your
worship tripping at a stretch, but I cannot, for you slip through my
fingers like an eel."

"I don't understand what you say, or mean by slipping," said Don Quixote.

"I will explain myself another time," said Don Lorenzo; "for the present
pray attend to the glossed verses and the gloss, which run thus:

Could 'was' become an 'is' for me,
Then would I ask no more than this;
Or could, for me, the time that is
Become the time that is to be!--


Dame Fortune once upon a day
To me was bountiful and kind;
But all things change; she changed her mind,
And what she gave she took away.
O Fortune, long I've sued to thee;
The gifts thou gavest me restore,
For, trust me, I would ask no more,
Could 'was' become an 'is' for me.

No other prize I seek to gain,
No triumph, glory, or success,
Only the long-lost happiness,
The memory whereof is pain.
One taste, methinks, of bygone bliss
The heart-consuming fire might stay;
And, so it come without delay,
Then would I ask no more than this.

I ask what cannot be, alas!
That time should ever be, and then
Come back to us, and be again,
No power on earth can bring to pass;
For fleet of foot is he, I wis,
And idly, therefore, do we pray
That what for aye hath left us may
Become for us the time that is.

Perplexed, uncertain, to remain
'Twixt hope and fear, is death, not life;
'Twere better, sure, to end the strife,
And dying, seek release from pain.
And yet, thought were the best for me.
Anon the thought aside I fling,
And to the present fondly cling,
And dread the time that is to be."

When Don Lorenzo had finished reciting his gloss, Don Quixote stood up,
and in a loud voice, almost a shout, exclaimed as he grasped Don
Lorenzo's right hand in his, "By the highest heavens, noble youth, but
you are the best poet on earth, and deserve to be crowned with laurel,
not by Cyprus or by Gaeta--as a certain poet, God forgive him, said--but
by the Academies of Athens, if they still flourished, and by those that
flourish now, Paris, Bologna, Salamanca. Heaven grant that the judges who
rob you of the first prize--that Phoebus may pierce them with his arrows,
and the Muses never cross the thresholds of their doors. Repeat me some
of your long-measure verses, senor, if you will be so good, for I want
thoroughly to feel the pulse of your rare genius."

Is there any need to say that Don Lorenzo enjoyed hearing himself praised
by Don Quixote, albeit he looked upon him as a madman? power of flattery,
how far-reaching art thou, and how wide are the bounds of thy pleasant
jurisdiction! Don Lorenzo gave a proof of it, for he complied with Don
Quixote's request and entreaty, and repeated to him this sonnet on the
fable or story of Pyramus and Thisbe.


The lovely maid, she pierces now the wall;
Heart-pierced by her young Pyramus doth lie;
And Love spreads wing from Cyprus isle to fly,
A chink to view so wondrous great and small.
There silence speaketh, for no voice at all
Can pass so strait a strait; but love will ply
Where to all other power 'twere vain to try;
For love will find a way whate'er befall.
Impatient of delay, with reckless pace
The rash maid wins the fatal spot where she
Sinks not in lover's arms but death's embrace.
So runs the strange tale, how the lovers twain
One sword, one sepulchre, one memory,
Slays, and entombs, and brings to life again.

"Blessed be God," said Don Quixote when he had heard Don Lorenzo's
sonnet, "that among the hosts there are of irritable poets I have found
one consummate one, which, senor, the art of this sonnet proves to me
that you are!"

For four days was Don Quixote most sumptuously entertained in Don Diego's
house, at the end of which time he asked his permission to depart,
telling him he thanked him for the kindness and hospitality he had
received in his house, but that, as it did not become knights-errant to
give themselves up for long to idleness and luxury, he was anxious to
fulfill the duties of his calling in seeking adventures, of which he was
informed there was an abundance in that neighbourhood, where he hoped to
employ his time until the day came round for the jousts at Saragossa, for
that was his proper destination; and that, first of all, he meant to
enter the cave of Montesinos, of which so many marvellous things were
reported all through the country, and at the same time to investigate and
explore the origin and true source of the seven lakes commonly called the
lakes of Ruidera.

Don Diego and his son commended his laudable resolution, and bade him
furnish himself with all he wanted from their house and belongings, as
they would most gladly be of service to him; which, indeed, his personal
worth and his honourable profession made incumbent upon them.

The day of his departure came at length, as welcome to Don Quixote as it
was sad and sorrowful to Sancho Panza, who was very well satisfied with
the abundance of Don Diego's house, and objected to return to the
starvation of the woods and wilds and the short-commons of his
ill-stocked alforjas; these, however, he filled and packed with what he
considered needful. On taking leave, Don Quixote said to Don Lorenzo, "I
know not whether I have told you already, but if I have I tell you once
more, that if you wish to spare yourself fatigue and toil in reaching the
inaccessible summit of the temple of fame, you have nothing to do but to
turn aside out of the somewhat narrow path of poetry and take the still
narrower one of knight-errantry, wide enough, however, to make you an
emperor in the twinkling of an eye."

In this speech Don Quixote wound up the evidence of his madness, but
still better in what he added when he said, "God knows, I would gladly
take Don Lorenzo with me to teach him how to spare the humble, and
trample the proud under foot, virtues that are part and parcel of the
profession I belong to; but since his tender age does not allow of it,
nor his praiseworthy pursuits permit it, I will simply content myself
with impressing it upon your worship that you will become famous as a
poet if you are guided by the opinion of others rather than by your own;
because no fathers or mothers ever think their own children ill-favoured,
and this sort of deception prevails still more strongly in the case of
the children of the brain."

Both father and son were amazed afresh at the strange medley Don Quixote
talked, at one moment sense, at another nonsense, and at the pertinacity
and persistence he displayed in going through thick and thin in quest of
his unlucky adventures, which he made the end and aim of his desires.
There was a renewal of offers of service and civilities, and then, with
the gracious permission of the lady of the castle, they took their
departure, Don Quixote on Rocinante, and Sancho on Dapple.


Back to Full Books