Thursday, July 1, 2010

Don Quixote 1.42



The duke and duchess were so well pleased with the successful and
droll result of the adventure of the Distressed One, that they
resolved to carry on the joke, seeing what a fit subject they had to
deal with for making it all pass for reality. So having laid their
plans and given instructions to their servants and vassals how to
behave to Sancho in his government of the promised island, the next
day, that following Clavileno's flight, the duke told Sancho to
prepare and get ready to go and be governor, for his islanders were
already looking out for him as for the showers of May.

Sancho made him an obeisance, and said, "Ever since I came down from
heaven, and from the top of it beheld the earth, and saw how little it
is, the great desire I had to be a governor has been partly cooled
in me; for what is there grand in being ruler on a grain of mustard
seed, or what dignity or authority in governing half a dozen men about
as big as hazel nuts; for, so far as I could see, there were no more
on the whole earth? If your lordship would be so good as to give me
ever so small a bit of heaven, were it no more than half a league, I'd
rather have it than the best island in the world."

"Recollect, Sancho," said the duke, "I cannot give a bit of
heaven, no not so much as the breadth of my nail, to anyone; rewards
and favours of that sort are reserved for God alone. What I can give I
give you, and that is a real, genuine island, compact, well
proportioned, and uncommonly fertile and fruitful, where, if you
know how to use your opportunities, you may, with the help of the
world's riches, gain those of heaven."

"Well then," said Sancho, "let the island come; and I'll try and
be such a governor, that in spite of scoundrels I'll go to heaven; and
it's not from any craving to quit my own humble condition or better
myself, but from the desire I have to try what it tastes like to be
a governor."

"If you once make trial of it, Sancho," said the duke, "you'll eat
your fingers off after the government, so sweet a thing is it to
command and be obeyed. Depend upon it when your master comes to be
emperor (as he will beyond a doubt from the course his affairs are
taking), it will be no easy matter to wrest the dignity from him,
and he will be sore and sorry at heart to have been so long without
becoming one."

"Senor," said Sancho, "it is my belief it's a good thing to be in
command, if it's only over a drove of cattle."

"May I be buried with you, Sancho," said the duke, "but you know
everything; I hope you will make as good a governor as your sagacity
promises; and that is all I have to say; and now remember to-morrow is
the day you must set out for the government of the island, and this
evening they will provide you with the proper attire for you to
wear, and all things requisite for your departure."

"Let them dress me as they like," said Sancho; "however I'm
dressed I'll be Sancho Panza."

"That's true," said the duke; "but one's dress must be suited to the
office or rank one holds; for it would not do for a jurist to dress
like a soldier, or a soldier like a priest. You, Sancho, shall go
partly as a lawyer, partly as a captain, for, in the island I am
giving you, arms are needed as much as letters, and letters as much as

"Of letters I know but little," said Sancho, "for I don't even
know the A B C; but it is enough for me to have the Christus in my
memory to be a good governor. As for arms, I'll handle those they give
me till I drop, and then, God be my help!"

"With so good a memory," said the duke, "Sancho cannot go wrong in

Here Don Quixote joined them; and learning what passed, and how soon
Sancho was to go to his government, he with the duke's permission took
him by the hand, and retired to his room with him for the purpose of
giving him advice as to how he was to demean himself in his office. As
soon as they had entered the chamber he closed the door after him, and
almost by force made Sancho sit down beside him, and in a quiet tone
thus addressed him: "I give infinite thanks to heaven, friend
Sancho, that, before I have met with any good luck, fortune has come
forward to meet thee. I who counted upon my good fortune to
discharge the recompense of thy services, find myself still waiting
for advancement, while thou, before the time, and contrary to all
reasonable expectation, seest thyself blessed in the fulfillment of
thy desires. Some will bribe, beg, solicit, rise early, entreat,
persist, without attaining the object of their suit; while another
comes, and without knowing why or wherefore, finds himself invested
with the place or office so many have sued for; and here it is that
the common saying, 'There is good luck as well as bad luck in
suits,' applies. Thou, who, to my thinking, art beyond all doubt a
dullard, without early rising or night watching or taking any trouble,
with the mere breath of knight-errantry that has breathed upon thee,
seest thyself without more ado governor of an island, as though it
were a mere matter of course. This I say, Sancho, that thou
attribute not the favour thou hast received to thine own merits, but
give thanks to heaven that disposes matters beneficently, and secondly
thanks to the great power the profession of knight-errantry contains
in itself. With a heart, then, inclined to believe what I have said to
thee, attend, my son, to thy Cato here who would counsel thee and be
thy polestar and guide to direct and pilot thee to a safe haven out of
this stormy sea wherein thou art about to ingulf thyself; for
offices and great trusts are nothing else but a mighty gulf of

"First of all, my son, thou must fear God, for in the fear of him is
wisdom, and being wise thou canst not err in aught.

"Secondly, thou must keep in view what thou art, striving to know
thyself, the most difficult thing to know that the mind can imagine.
If thou knowest thyself, it will follow thou wilt not puff thyself
up like the frog that strove to make himself as large as the ox; if
thou dost, the recollection of having kept pigs in thine own country
will serve as the ugly feet for the wheel of thy folly."

"That's the truth," said Sancho; "but that was when I was a boy;
afterwards when I was something more of a man it was geese I kept, not
pigs. But to my thinking that has nothing to do with it; for all who
are governors don't come of a kingly stock."

"True," said Don Quixote, "and for that reason those who are not
of noble origin should take care that the dignity of the office they
hold he accompanied by a gentle suavity, which wisely managed will
save them from the sneers of malice that no station escapes.

"Glory in thy humble birth, Sancho, and he not ashamed of saying
thou art peasant-born; for when it is seen thou art not ashamed no one
will set himself to put thee to the blush; and pride thyself rather
upon being one of lowly virtue than a lofty sinner. Countless are they
who, born of mean parentage, have risen to the highest dignities,
pontifical and imperial, and of the truth of this I could give thee
instances enough to weary thee.

"Remember, Sancho, if thou make virtue thy aim, and take a pride
in doing virtuous actions, thou wilt have no cause to envy those who
have princely and lordly ones, for blood is an inheritance, but virtue
an acquisition, and virtue has in itself alone a worth that blood does
not possess.

"This being so, if perchance anyone of thy kinsfolk should come to
see thee when thou art in thine island, thou art not to repel or
slight him, but on the contrary to welcome him, entertain him, and
make much of him; for in so doing thou wilt be approved of heaven
(which is not pleased that any should despise what it hath made),
and wilt comply with the laws of well-ordered nature.

"If thou carriest thy wife with thee (and it is not well for those
that administer governments to be long without their wives), teach and
instruct her, and strive to smooth down her natural roughness; for all
that may be gained by a wise governor may be lost and wasted by a
boorish stupid wife.

"If perchance thou art left a widower- a thing which may happen- and
in virtue of thy office seekest a consort of higher degree, choose not
one to serve thee for a hook, or for a fishing-rod, or for the hood of
thy 'won't have it;' for verily, I tell thee, for all the judge's wife
receives, the husband will be held accountable at the general
calling to account; where he will have repay in death fourfold,
items that in life he regarded as naught.

"Never go by arbitrary law, which is so much favoured by ignorant
men who plume themselves on cleverness.

"Let the tears of the poor man find with thee more compassion, but
not more justice, than the pleadings of the rich.

"Strive to lay bare the truth, as well amid the promises and
presents of the rich man, as amid the sobs and entreaties of the poor.

"When equity may and should be brought into play, press not the
utmost rigour of the law against the guilty; for the reputation of the
stern judge stands not higher than that of the compassionate.

"If perchance thou permittest the staff of justice to swerve, let it
be not by the weight of a gift, but by that of mercy.

"If it should happen thee to give judgment in the cause of one who
is thine enemy, turn thy thoughts away from thy injury and fix them on
the justice of the case.

"Let not thine own passion blind thee in another man's cause; for
the errors thou wilt thus commit will be most frequently irremediable;
or if not, only to be remedied at the expense of thy good name and
even of thy fortune.

"If any handsome woman come to seek justice of thee, turn away thine
eyes from her tears and thine ears from her lamentations, and consider
deliberately the merits of her demand, if thou wouldst not have thy
reason swept away by her weeping, and thy rectitude by her sighs.

"Abuse not by word him whom thou hast to punish in deed, for the
pain of punishment is enough for the unfortunate without the
addition of thine objurgations.

"Bear in mind that the culprit who comes under thy jurisdiction is
but a miserable man subject to all the propensities of our depraved
nature, and so far as may be in thy power show thyself lenient and
forbearing; for though the attributes of God are all equal, to our
eyes that of mercy is brighter and loftier than that of justice.

"If thou followest these precepts and rules, Sancho, thy days will
be long, thy fame eternal, thy reward abundant, thy felicity
unutterable; thou wilt marry thy children as thou wouldst; they and
thy grandchildren will bear titles; thou wilt live in peace and
concord with all men; and, when life draws to a close, death will come
to thee in calm and ripe old age, and the light and loving hands of
thy great-grandchildren will close thine eyes.

"What I have thus far addressed to thee are instructions for the
adornment of thy mind; listen now to those which tend to that of the

No comments:

Post a Comment