OF WHAT HAPPENED DON QUIXOTE IN THE CASTLE OR HOUSE OF THE KNIGHT OF
THE GREEN GABAN, TOGETHER WITH OTHER MATTERS OUT OF THE COMMON
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,
"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 world."
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,
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
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
"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 distinction."
"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,
"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
"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
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 ingenuity."
"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
"I will explain myself another time," said Don Lorenzo; "for the
present pray attend to the glossed verses and the gloss, which run
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.