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Miqeul de Cervantes >> Don Quixote (page 17)


"Pardon me, your worship," said Sancho, "for, as I cannot read orwrite, as I said just now, I neither know nor comprehend the rulesof the profession of chivalry: henceforward I will stock thealforjas with every kind of dry fruit for your worship, as you are aknight; and for myself, as I am not one, I will furnish them withpoultry and other things more substantial."

"I do not say, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "that it isimperative on knights-errant not to eat anything else but the fruitsthou speakest of; only that their more usual diet must be those, andcertain herbs they found in the fields which they knew and I knowtoo."

"A good thing it is," answered Sancho, "to know those herbs, forto my thinking it will be needful some day to put that knowledgeinto practice."

And here taking out what he said he had brought, the pair made theirrepast peaceably and sociably. But anxious to find quarters for thenight, they with all despatch made an end of their poor dry fare,mounted at once, and made haste to reach some habitation beforenight set in; but daylight and the hope of succeeding in theirobject failed them close by the huts of some goatherds, so theydetermined to pass the night there, and it was as much to Sancho'sdiscontent not to have reached a house, as it was to his master'ssatisfaction to sleep under the open heaven, for he fancied thateach time this happened to him he performed an act of ownership thathelped to prove his chivalry.

CHAPTER XI

OF WHAT BEFELL DON QUIXOTE WITH CERTAIN GOATHERDS

He was cordially welcomed by the goatherds, and Sancho, having asbest he could put up Rocinante and the ass, drew towards the fragrancethat came from some pieces of salted goat simmering in a pot on thefire; and though he would have liked at once to try if they were readyto be transferred from the pot to the stomach, he refrained from doingso as the goatherds removed them from the fire, and layingsheepskins on the ground, quickly spread their rude table, and withsigns of hearty good-will invited them both to share what they had.Round the skins six of the men belonging to the fold seatedthemselves, having first with rough politeness pressed Don Quixoteto take a seat upon a trough which they placed for him upside down.Don Quixote seated himself, and Sancho remained standing to servethe cup, which was made of horn. Seeing him standing, his mastersaid to him:

"That thou mayest see, Sancho, the good that knight-errantrycontains in itself, and how those who fill any office in it are on thehigh road to be speedily honoured and esteemed by the world, Idesire that thou seat thyself here at my side and in the company ofthese worthy people, and that thou be one with me who am thy masterand natural lord, and that thou eat from my plate and drink fromwhatever I drink from; for the same may be said of knight-errantryas of love, that it levels all."

"Great thanks," said Sancho, "but I may tell your worship thatprovided I have enough to eat, I can eat it as well, or better,standing, and by myself, than seated alongside of an emperor. Andindeed, if the truth is to be told, what I eat in my corner withoutform or fuss has much more relish for me, even though it be breadand onions, than the turkeys of those other tables where I am forcedto chew slowly, drink little, wipe my mouth every minute, and cannotsneeze or cough if I want or do other things that are the privilegesof liberty and solitude. So, senor, as for these honours which yourworship would put upon me as a servant and follower ofknight-errantry, exchange them for other things which may be of moreuse and advantage to me; for these, though I fully acknowledge them asreceived, I renounce from this moment to the end of the world."

"For all that," said Don Quixote, "thou must seat thyself, becausehim who humbleth himself God exalteth;" and seizing him by the armhe forced him to sit down beside himself.

The goatherds did not understand this jargon about squires andknights-errant, and all they did was to eat in silence and stare attheir guests, who with great elegance and appetite were stowing awaypieces as big as one's fist. The course of meat finished, theyspread upon the sheepskins a great heap of parched acorns, and withthem they put down a half cheese harder than if it had been made ofmortar. All this while the horn was not idle, for it went round soconstantly, now full, now empty, like the bucket of a water-wheel,that it soon drained one of the two wine-skins that were in sight.When Don Quixote had quite appeased his appetite he took up ahandful of the acorns, and contemplating them attentively deliveredhimself somewhat in this fashion:

"Happy the age, happy the time, to which the ancients gave thename of golden, not because in that fortunate age the gold socoveted in this our iron one was gained without toil, but because theythat lived in it knew not the two words "mine" and "thine"! In thatblessed age all things were in common; to win the daily food no labourwas required of any save to stretch forth his hand and gather itfrom the sturdy oaks that stood generously inviting him with theirsweet ripe fruit. The clear streams and running brooks yielded theirsavoury limpid waters in noble abundance. The busy and sagaciousbees fixed their republic in the clefts of the rocks and hollows ofthe trees, offering without usance the plenteous produce of theirfragrant toil to every hand. The mighty cork trees, unenforced save oftheir own courtesy, shed the broad light bark that served at firstto roof the houses supported by rude stakes, a protection againstthe inclemency of heaven alone. Then all was peace, all friendship,all concord; as yet the dull share of the crooked plough had not daredto rend and pierce the tender bowels of our first mother thatwithout compulsion yielded from every portion of her broad fertilebosom all that could satisfy, sustain, and delight the children thatthen possessed her. Then was it that the innocent and fair youngshepherdess roamed from vale to vale and hill to hill, with flowinglocks, and no more garments than were needful modestly to cover whatmodesty seeks and ever sought to hide. Nor were their ornaments likethose in use to-day, set off by Tyrian purple, and silk tortured inendless fashions, but the wreathed leaves of the green dock and ivy,wherewith they went as bravely and becomingly decked as our Courtdames with all the rare and far-fetched artifices that idlecuriosity has taught them. Then the love-thoughts of the heart clothedthemselves simply and naturally as the heart conceived them, norsought to commend themselves by forced and rambling verbiage. Fraud,deceit, or malice had then not yet mingled with truth and sincerity.Justice held her ground, undisturbed and unassailed by the effortsof favour and of interest, that now so much impair, pervert, and besether. Arbitrary law had not yet established itself in the mind of thejudge, for then there was no cause to judge and no one to be judged.Maidens and modesty, as I have said, wandered at will alone andunattended, without fear of insult from lawlessness or libertineassault, and if they were undone it was of their own will andpleasure. But now in this hateful age of ours not one is safe, notthough some new labyrinth like that of Crete conceal and surround her;even there the pestilence of gallantry will make its way to themthrough chinks or on the air by the zeal of its accursedimportunity, and, despite of all seclusion, lead them to ruin. Indefence of these, as time advanced and wickedness increased, the orderof knights-errant was instituted, to defend maidens, to protect widowsand to succour the orphans and the needy. To this order I belong,brother goatherds, to whom I return thanks for the hospitality andkindly welcome ye offer me and my squire; for though by natural lawall living are bound to show favour to knights-errant, yet, seeingthat without knowing this obligation ye have welcomed and feastedme, it is right that with all the good-will in my power I should thankyou for yours."

All this long harangue (which might very well have been spared)our knight delivered because the acorns they gave him reminded himof the golden age; and the whim seized him to address all thisunnecessary argument to the goatherds, who listened to him gaping inamazement without saying a word in reply. Sancho likewise held hispeace and ate acorns, and paid repeated visits to the secondwine-skin, which they had hung up on a cork tree to keep the winecool.

Don Quixote was longer in talking than the supper in finishing, atthe end of which one of the goatherds said, "That your worship,senor knight-errant, may say with more truth that we show youhospitality with ready good-will, we will give you amusement andpleasure by making one of our comrades sing: he will be here beforelong, and he is a very intelligent youth and deep in love, and what ismore he can read and write and play on the rebeck to perfection."

The goatherd had hardly done speaking, when the notes of therebeck reached their ears; and shortly after, the player came up, avery good-looking young man of about two-and-twenty. His comradesasked him if he had supped, and on his replying that he had, he whohad already made the offer said to him:

"In that case, Antonio, thou mayest as well do us the pleasure ofsinging a little, that the gentleman, our guest, may see that evenin the mountains and woods there are musicians: we have told him ofthy accomplishments, and we want thee to show them and prove that wesay true; so, as thou livest, pray sit down and sing that ballad aboutthy love that thy uncle the prebendary made thee, and that was so muchliked in the town."

"With all my heart," said the young man, and without waiting formore pressing he seated himself on the trunk of a felled oak, andtuning his rebeck, presently began to sing to these words.

ANTONIO'S BALLAD

Thou dost love me well, Olalla;Well I know it, even thoughLove's mute tongues, thine eyes, have neverBy their glances told me so.

For I know my love thou knowest,Therefore thine to claim I dare:Once it ceases to be secret,Love need never feel despair.

True it is, Olalla, sometimesThou hast all too plainly shownThat thy heart is brass in hardness,And thy snowy bosom stone.

Yet for all that, in thy coyness,And thy fickle fits between,Hope is there- at least the borderOf her garment may be seen.

Lures to faith are they, those glimpses,And to faith in thee I hold;Kindness cannot make it stronger,Coldness cannot make it cold.

If it be that love is gentle,In thy gentleness I seeSomething holding out assuranceTo the hope of winning thee.

If it be that in devotionLies a power hearts to move,That which every day I show thee,Helpful to my suit should prove.

Many a time thou must have noticed-If to notice thou dost care-How I go about on MondayDressed in all my Sunday wear.

Love's eyes love to look on brightness;Love loves what is gaily drest;Sunday, Monday, all I care isThou shouldst see me in my best.

No account I make of dances,Or of strains that pleased thee so,Keeping thee awake from midnightTill the cocks began to crow;

Or of how I roundly swore itThat there's none so fair as thou;True it is, but as I said it,By the girls I'm hated now.

For Teresa of the hillsideAt my praise of thee was sore;Said, "You think you love an angel;It's a monkey you adore;

"Caught by all her glittering trinkets,And her borrowed braids of hair,And a host of made-up beautiesThat would Love himself ensnare."

'T was a lie, and so I told her,And her cousin at the wordGave me his defiance for it;And what followed thou hast heard.

Mine is no high-flown affection,Mine no passion par amours-As they call it- what I offerIs an honest love, and pure.

Cunning cords the holy Church has,Cords of softest silk they be;Put thy neck beneath the yoke, dear;Mine will follow, thou wilt see.

Else- and once for all I swear itBy the saint of most renown-If I ever quit the mountains,'T will be in a friar's gown.

Here the goatherd brought his song to an end, and though Don Quixoteentreated him to sing more, Sancho had no mind that way, being moreinclined for sleep than for listening to songs; so said he to hismaster, "Your worship will do well to settle at once where you mean topass the night, for the labour these good men are at all day doesnot allow them to spend the night in singing."

"I understand thee, Sancho," replied Don Quixote; "I perceiveclearly that those visits to the wine-skin demand compensation insleep rather than in music."

"It's sweet to us all, blessed be God," said Sancho.

"I do not deny it," replied Don Quixote; "but settle thyself wherethou wilt; those of my calling are more becomingly employed inwatching than in sleeping; still it would be as well if thou wert todress this ear for me again, for it is giving me more pain than itneed."

Sancho did as he bade him, but one of the goatherds, seeing thewound, told him not to be uneasy, as he would apply a remedy withwhich it would be soon healed; and gathering some leaves ofrosemary, of which there was a great quantity there, he chewed themand mixed them with a little salt, and applying them to the ear hesecured them firmly with a bandage, assuring him that no othertreatment would be required, and so it proved.

CHAPTER XII

OF WHAT A GOATHERD RELATED TO THOSE WITH DON QUIXOTE

Just then another young man, one of those who fetched theirprovisions from the village, came up and said, "Do you know what isgoing on in the village, comrades?"

"How could we know it?" replied one of them.

"Well, then, you must know," continued the young man, "thismorning that famous student-shepherd called Chrysostom died, and it isrumoured that he died of love for that devil of a village girl thedaughter of Guillermo the Rich, she that wanders about the woldshere in the dress of a shepherdess."

"You mean Marcela?" said one.

"Her I mean," answered the goatherd; "and the best of it is, hehas directed in his will that he is to be buried in the fields likea Moor, and at the foot of the rock where the Cork-tree spring is,because, as the story goes (and they say he himself said so), that wasthe place where he first saw her. And he has also left otherdirections which the clergy of the village say should not and must notbe obeyed because they savour of paganism. To all which his greatfriend Ambrosio the student, he who, like him, also went dressed asa shepherd, replies that everything must be done without anyomission according to the directions left by Chrysostom, and aboutthis the village is all in commotion; however, report says that, afterall, what Ambrosio and all the shepherds his friends desire will bedone, and to-morrow they are coming to bury him with great ceremonywhere I said. I am sure it will be something worth seeing; at leastI will not fail to go and see it even if I knew I should not return tothe village tomorrow."

Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miqeul de Cervantes
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