Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616). Don Quixote, Part 1.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.
X. Wherein Is Prosecuted the History of the Famous Princess Micomicona, with Other Delightful Adventures
Don Fernando yielded many thanks to Heaven for having dealt with him so propitiously, and unwinding him out of the intricate labyrinth, wherein straying, he was at the point to have at once lost his soul and credit. And finally, as many as were in the inn were very glad and joyful of the success of so thwart, intricate, and desperate affairs. The curate compounded and ordered all things through his discretion, and congratulated every one of the good he obtained. But she that kept greatest jubilee and joy was the hostess, for the promise that Cardenio and the curate had made, to pay her the damages and harms committed by Don Quixote; only Sancho, as we have said, was afflicted, unfortunate, and sorrowful. And thus he entered with melancholy semblance to his lord, who did but then awake, and said unto him,—
‘Well and securely may you sleep, sir knight of the heavy countenance, as long as it shall please yourself, without troubling yourself with any care of killing any giant, or of restoring the queen to her kingdom; for all is concluded and done already.’ ‘I believe thee very easily,’ replied Don Quixote;
‘I am informed, beautiful lady, by this my squire, that your greatness is annihilated, and your being destroyed; for of a queen and mighty princess which you were wont to be, you are now become a particular damsel; which if it hath been done by particular order of the magical king your father, dreading that I would not be able to give you the necessary and requisite help for your restitution, I say that he neither knew nor doth know the one half of the enterprise, and that he was very little acquainted with histories of chivalry; for if he had read them, or passed them over with so great attention and leisure as I have done, and read them, he should have found at every other step, how other knights of a great deal less fame than myself have ended more desperate adventures, seeing it is not so great a matter
‘Thou foughtest with two wine-bags, and not with a giant,’ quoth the host at this season. But Don Fernando commanded him to be silent and not interrupt Don Quixote in any wise, who prosecuted his speech, saying, ‘In fine, I say, high and disinherited lady, that if your father hath made this metamorphosis in your person for the causes related, give him no credit; for there is no peril so great on earth but my sword shall open a way through it, wherewithal I, overthrowing your enemy’s head to the ground, will set your crown on your own head within a few days.’ Here Don Quixote held his peace, and awaited the princess her answer, who, knowing Don Fernando’s determination and will that she should continue the commenced guile until Don Quixote were carried home again, answered, with a very good grace and countenance, in this manner: ‘Whosoever informed you, valorous Knight of the Ill-favoured Face, that I have altered and changed my being, hath not told you the truth, for I am the very same to-day that I was yesterday; true it is, that some unexpected yet fortunate successes have wrought some alteration in me, by bestowing on me better hap than I hoped for, or could wish myself; but yet for all that I have not left off to be that which [I was] before, or to have the very same thoughts which I ever had, to help myself by the valour of your most valorous and invincible arm. And therefore I request you, good my lord, of your accustomed bounty, to return my father his honour again, and account of him as of a very discreet and prudent man, seeing that he found by this skill so easy and so infallible a way to redress my disgraces; for I do certainly believe, that if it had not been by your means, I should never have happened to attain to the good fortune which now I posses, as all those noblemen present may witness; what therefore rests is, that to-morrow morning we do set forward, for to-day is now already so overgone as we should not be able to travel very far from hence. As for the conclusion of the good success that I do hourly
Thus much the discreet Dorothea said; and Don Quixote having heard her, he turned him to Sancho, with very manifest tokens of indignation, and said, ‘Now I say unto thee, little Sancho, that thou art the veriest rascal that is in all Spain. Tell me, thief and vagabond, didst not thou but even very now say unto me that this princess was turned into a damsel, and that called Dorothea? and that the head which I thought I had slashed from a giant’s shoulders was the whore that bore thee? with a thousand other follies, which did plunge me into the greatest confusion that ever I was in my life? I vow’ (and then he looked upon heaven, and did crash his teeth together) ‘that I am about to make such a wreck on thee, as shall beat wit into the pates of all the lying squires that shall ever hereafter serve knights-errant in this world.’ ‘I pray you have patience, good my lord,’ answered Sancho, ‘for it may very well befall me to be deceived in that which toucheth the transmutation of the lady and Princess Micomicona; but in that which concerneth the giant’s head, or at least the boring of the wine-bags, and that the blood was but red wine I am not deceived, I swear; for the bags lie yet wounded there within at your own bed’s head, and the red wine hath made a lake in the chamber; and if it be not so, it shall be perceived at the frying of the eggs, I mean that you shall see it when master innkeeper’s worship, who is here present, shall demand the loss and damage.’ ‘I say thee, Sancho,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘that thou art a madcap; pardon me, and so it is enough.’ ‘It is enough indeed,’ quoth Don Fernando, ‘and therefore let me entreat you to say no more of this, and seeing my lady the princess says she will go away to-morrow, seeing it is now too late to depart to-day, let it be so agreed on, and we will spend this night in pleasant discourses, until the approach of the ensuing day, wherein we will all accompany and attend on the worthy knight Sir Don Quixote, because we would be eye-witnesses of the valorous and unmatchable feats of arms which he shall do in the pursuit of this weighty enterprise which he hath taken upon him.’ ‘I am he that will serve and accompany you, good my lord,’ replied Don Quixote; ‘and I do highly gratify the
Many other words of compliment and gratification passed between Don Quixote and Don Fernando, but a certain passenger imposed silence to them all, by his arrival to the inn in that very season, who by his attire showed that he was a Christian newly returned from among the Moors, for he was apparelled with a short-skirted cassock of blue cloth, sleeves reaching down half the arm, and without a collar; his breeches were likewise of blue linen, and he wore a bonnet of the same colour, a pair of date-coloured buskins, and a Turkish scimitar hanging at his neck in a scarf, which went athwart his breast. There entered after him, riding on an ass, a woman clad like a Moor, and her face covered with a piece of the veil of her head; she wore on her head a little cap of cloth of gold, and was covered with a little Turkish mantle from the shoulders down to the feet. The man was of strong and comely making, of the age of forty years or thereabouts; his face was somewhat tanned, he had long mustachios and a very handsome beard; to conclude, his making was such as, if he were well attired, men would take him to be a person of quality and good birth. He demanded a chamber as soon as he had entered, and being answered that there was no one vacant in the inn, he seemed to be grieved, and coming to her which in her attire denoted herself to be a Moor, he took her down from her ass. Lucinda, Dorothea, the hostess, her daughter and Maritornes, allured to behold the new and strange attire of the Moor, compassed her about; and Dorothea, who was always most gracious, courteous, and discreet, deeming that both she and he that had brought her were discontented for the want of a lodging, she said, ‘Lady, be not grieved for the trouble you are here like to endure for want of means to refresh yourself, seeing it is an universal vice of all inns to be defective herein; yet notwithstanding, if it shall please you to pass away the time among us’ (pointing to Lucinda), ‘perhaps you have met in the discourse of your travels other worse places of entertainment than this shall prove.’ The disguised lady made none answer, nor other thing than arising from the place wherein
These words inflamed all the hearers with a great desire to know who the Moor and her captive were, yet none of them would at that time entreat him to satisfy their longing,
These words, and the great effect and vehemency wherewithal the Moor delivered them, extorted more than one tear from the hearers, especially from the women, who are naturally tender-hearted and compassive. Lucinda embraced her then with great love, and said, ‘Ay, ay, Maria, Maria.’ To which she answered, ‘Ay, ay, Maria, Zoraida mancange;’ that is, ‘and not Zoraida.’ By this it was grown some four of the clock in the afternoon; and by order of those which were Don Fernando’s companions, the innkeeper had provided for them as good a beaver as the inn could in any wise afford unto them. Therefore, it being the hour, they sat down altogether at a long table (for there was never a square or round one in all the house), and they gave the first and principal end (although he refused it as much as he could) to Don Quixote, who commanded that the Lady Micomicona should sit at his elbow, seeing he was her champion. Presently were placed Lucinda and Zoraida, and Don Fernando and Cardenio right over against them, and after the Captive and other gentlemen, and on the other side the curate and barber. And thus they made their drinking with very great recreation, which was the more augmented to see Don Quixote leaving of his meat, and, moved by the like spirit of that which had made him once before talk so much to the goatherds, begin to offer them an occasion of speech in this manner:
‘Truly, good sirs, if it be well considered, those which profess the order of knighthood do see many great and unexpected things. If it be not so, say what mortal man alive is there that, entering in at this castle gate, and seeing of us all in the manner we be now present here, can judge or believe that we are those which we be? Who is it that can say that this lady which sits here at my sleeve is the great queen that we all know her to be, and that I am that Knight of the Heavy Countenance that am so much blabbed of abroad by the mouth of fame? therefore it cannot be now doubted, but that this art and exercise excelleth all the others which ever human wit, the underminer of nature, invented; and it is the more to be prized, by how much it exposeth itself, more than other trades, to dangers and inconveniences. Away with those that shall affirm learning to surpass arms; for I will say unto them, be they what they list, that they know not what they say; for the reason which such men do most urge, and to which they do most rely, is, that the travails of the spirit do far exceed those of the body; and that the use of arms are only exercised by the body, as if it were an office fit for porters, for which nothing were requisite but bodily forces; or as if in that which we that profess it do call arms, were not included the acts of fortitude which require deep understanding to execute them; or as if the warrior’s mind did not labour as well as his body, who had a great army to lead and command, or the defence of a besieged city. If not, see if he can arrive by his corporal strength to know or sound the intent of his enemy, the designs, stratagems, and difficulties, how to prevent imminent dangers, all these being operations of the understanding wherein the body hath no meddling at all. It being therefore so, that the exercise of arms requires spirit as well as those of learning, let us now examine
Don Quixote did prosecute his discourse in such sort, and with so pleasing terms, as he had almost induced his audience to esteem him to be, at that time at least, exempt from his frenzy; and therefore, by reason that the greater number of them were gentlemen, to whom the use of arms is in a manner essential and proper, they did willingly listen to him; and therefore he continued on with his discourse in this manner: