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Chapter 8

  • **Wherein is related what befell Don Quixote on his way to see his lad_ulcinea del Toboso**
  • "Blessed be Allah the all-powerful!" says Hamete Benengeli on beginning thi_ighth chapter; "blessed be Allah!" he repeats three times; and he says h_tters these thanksgivings at seeing that he has now got Don Quixote an_ancho fairly afield, and that the readers of his delightful history ma_eckon that the achievements and humours of Don Quixote and his squire are no_bout to begin; and he urges them to forget the former chivalries of th_ngenious gentleman and to fix their eyes on those that are to come, which no_egin on the road to El Toboso, as the others began on the plains of Montiel;
  • nor is it much that he asks in consideration of all he promises, and so h_oes on to say:
  • Don Quixote and Sancho were left alone, and the moment Samson took hi_eparture, Rocinante began to neigh, and Dapple to sigh, which, by both knigh_nd squire, was accepted as a good sign and a very happy omen; though, if th_ruth is to be told, the sighs and brays of Dapple were louder than th_eighings of the hack, from which Sancho inferred that his good fortune was t_xceed and overtop that of his master, building, perhaps, upon some judicia_strology that he may have known, though the history says nothing about it;
  • all that can be said is, that when he stumbled or fell, he was heard to say h_ished he had not come out, for by stumbling or falling there was nothing t_e got but a damaged shoe or a broken rib; and, fool as he was, he was no_uch astray in this.
  • Said Don Quixote, "Sancho, my friend, night is drawing on upon us as we go,
  • and more darkly than will allow us to reach El Toboso by daylight; for there _m resolved to go before I engage in another adventure, and there I shal_btain the blessing and generous permission of the peerless Dulcinea, wit_hich permission I expect and feel assured that I shall conclude and bring t_ happy termination every perilous adventure; for nothing in life make_nights-errant more valorous than finding themselves favoured by thei_adies."
  • "So I believe," replied Sancho; "but I think it will be difficult for you_orship to speak with her or see her, at any rate where you will be able t_eceive her blessing; unless, indeed, she throws it over the wall of the yar_here I saw her the time before, when I took her the letter that told of th_ollies and mad things your worship was doing in the heart of Sierra Morena."
  • "Didst thou take that for a yard wall, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "where or a_hich thou sawest that never sufficiently extolled grace and beauty? It mus_ave been the gallery, corridor, or portico of some rich and royal palace."
  • "It might have been all that," returned Sancho, "but to me it looked like _all, unless I am short of memory."
  • "At all events, let us go there, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "for, so that _ee her, it is the same to me whether it be over a wall, or at a window, o_hrough the chink of a door, or the grate of a garden; for any beam of the su_f her beauty that reaches my eyes will give light to my reason and strengt_o my heart, so that I shall be unmatched and unequalled in wisdom an_alour."
  • "Well, to tell the truth, senor," said Sancho, "when I saw that sun of th_ady Dulcinea del Toboso, it was not bright enough to throw out beams at all;
  • it must have been, that as her grace was sifting that wheat I told you of, th_hick dust she raised came before her face like a cloud and dimmed it."
  • "What! dost thou still persist, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "in saying,
  • thinking, believing, and maintaining that my lady Dulcinea was sifting wheat,
  • that being an occupation and task entirely at variance with what is and shoul_e the employment of persons of distinction, who are constituted and reserve_or other avocations and pursuits that show their rank a bowshot off? Tho_ast forgotten, O Sancho, those lines of our poet wherein he paints for u_ow, in their crystal abodes, those four nymphs employed themselves who ros_rom their loved Tagus and seated themselves in a verdant meadow to embroide_hose tissues which the ingenious poet there describes to us, how they wer_orked and woven with gold and silk and pearls; and something of this sor_ust have been the employment of my lady when thou sawest her, only that th_pite which some wicked enchanter seems to have against everything of min_hanges all those things that give me pleasure, and turns them into shape_nlike their own; and so I fear that in that history of my achievements whic_hey say is now in print, if haply its author was some sage who is an enemy o_ine, he will have put one thing for another, mingling a thousand lies wit_ne truth, and amusing himself by relating transactions which have nothing t_o with the sequence of a true history. O envy, root of all countless evils,
  • and cankerworm of the virtues! All the vices, Sancho, bring some kind o_leasure with them; but envy brings nothing but irritation, bitterness, an_age."
  • "So I say too," replied Sancho; "and I suspect in that legend or history of u_hat the bachelor Samson Carrasco told us he saw, my honour goes dragged i_he dirt, knocked about, up and down, sweeping the streets, as they say. An_et, on the faith of an honest man, I never spoke ill of any enchanter, and _m not so well off that I am to be envied; to be sure, I am rather sly, and _ave a certain spice of the rogue in me; but all is covered by the great cloa_f my simplicity, always natural and never acted; and if I had no other meri_ave that I believe, as I always do, firmly and truly in God, and all the hol_oman Catholic Church holds and believes, and that I am a mortal enemy of th_ews, the historians ought to have mercy on me and treat me well in thei_ritings. But let them say what they like; naked was I born, naked I fin_yself, I neither lose nor gain; nay, while I see myself put into a book an_assed on from hand to hand over the world, I don't care a fig, let them sa_hat they like of me."
  • "That, Sancho," returned Don Quixote, "reminds me of what happened to a famou_oet of our own day, who, having written a bitter satire against all th_ourtesan ladies, did not insert or name in it a certain lady of whom it wa_uestionable whether she was one or not. She, seeing she was not in the lis_f the poet, asked him what he had seen in her that he did not include her i_he number of the others, telling him he must add to his satire and put her i_he new part, or else look out for the consequences. The poet did as she bad_im, and left her without a shred of reputation, and she was satisfied b_etting fame though it was infamy. In keeping with this is what they relate o_hat shepherd who set fire to the famous temple of Diana, by repute one of th_even wonders of the world, and burned it with the sole object of making hi_ame live in after ages; and, though it was forbidden to name him, or mentio_is name by word of mouth or in writing, lest the object of his ambitio_hould be attained, nevertheless it became known that he was calle_rostratus. And something of the same sort is what happened in the case of th_reat emperor Charles V and a gentleman in Rome. The emperor was anxious t_ee that famous temple of the Rotunda, called in ancient times the temple 'o_ll the gods,' but now-a-days, by a better nomenclature, 'of all the saints,'
  • which is the best preserved building of all those of pagan construction i_ome, and the one which best sustains the reputation of mighty works an_agnificence of its founders. It is in the form of a half orange, of enormou_imensions, and well lighted, though no light penetrates it save that which i_dmitted by a window, or rather round skylight, at the top; and it was fro_his that the emperor examined the building. A Roman gentleman stood by hi_ide and explained to him the skilful construction and ingenuity of the vas_abric and its wonderful architecture, and when they had left the skylight h_aid to the emperor, 'A thousand times, your Sacred Majesty, the impulse cam_pon me to seize your Majesty in my arms and fling myself down from yonde_kylight, so as to leave behind me in the world a name that would last fo_ver.' 'I am thankful to you for not carrying such an evil thought int_ffect,' said the emperor, 'and I shall give you no opportunity in future o_gain putting your loyalty to the test; and I therefore forbid you ever t_peak to me or to be where I am; and he followed up these words by bestowing _iberal bounty upon him. My meaning is, Sancho, that the desire of acquirin_ame is a very powerful motive. What, thinkest thou, was it that flun_oratius in full armour down from the bridge into the depths of the Tiber?
  • What burned the hand and arm of Mutius? What impelled Curtius to plunge int_he deep burning gulf that opened in the midst of Rome? What, in opposition t_ll the omens that declared against him, made Julius Caesar cross the Rubicon?
  • And to come to more modern examples, what scuttled the ships, and lef_tranded and cut off the gallant Spaniards under the command of the mos_ourteous Cortes in the New World? All these and a variety of other grea_xploits are, were and will be, the work of fame that mortals desire as _eward and a portion of the immortality their famous deeds deserve; though w_atholic Christians and knights-errant look more to that future glory that i_verlasting in the ethereal regions of heaven than to the vanity of the fam_hat is to be acquired in this present transitory life; a fame that, howeve_ong it may last, must after all end with the world itself, which has its ow_ppointed end. So that, O Sancho, in what we do we must not overpass th_ounds which the Christian religion we profess has assigned to us. We have t_lay pride in giants, envy by generosity and nobleness of heart, anger b_almness of demeanour and equanimity, gluttony and sloth by the spareness o_ur diet and the length of our vigils, lust and lewdness by the loyalty w_reserve to those whom we have made the mistresses of our thoughts, indolenc_y traversing the world in all directions seeking opportunities of makin_urselves, besides Christians, famous knights. Such, Sancho, are the means b_hich we reach those extremes of praise that fair fame carries with it."
  • "All that your worship has said so far," said Sancho, "I have understood quit_ell; but still I would be glad if your worship would dissolve a doubt for me,
  • which has just this minute come into my mind."
  • "Solve, thou meanest, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "say on, in God's name, and _ill answer as well as I can."
  • "Tell me, senor," Sancho went on to say, "those Julys or Augusts, and al_hose venturous knights that you say are now dead—where are they now?"
  • "The heathens," replied Don Quixote, "are, no doubt, in hell; the Christians,
  • if they were good Christians, are either in purgatory or in heaven."
  • "Very good," said Sancho; "but now I want to know—the tombs where the bodie_f those great lords are, have they silver lamps before them, or are the wall_f their chapels ornamented with crutches, winding-sheets, tresses of hair,
  • legs and eyes in wax? Or what are they ornamented with?"
  • To which Don Quixote made answer: "The tombs of the heathens were generall_umptuous temples; the ashes of Julius Caesar's body were placed on the top o_ stone pyramid of vast size, which they now call in Rome Saint Peter'_eedle. The emperor Hadrian had for a tomb a castle as large as a good-size_illage, which they called the Moles Adriani, and is now the castle of St.
  • Angelo in Rome. The queen Artemisia buried her husband Mausolus in a tom_hich was reckoned one of the seven wonders of the world; but none of thes_ombs, or of the many others of the heathens, were ornamented with winding-
  • sheets or any of those other offerings and tokens that show that they who ar_uried there are saints."
  • "That's the point I'm coming to," said Sancho; "and now tell me, which is th_reater work, to bring a dead man to life or to kill a giant?"
  • "The answer is easy," replied Don Quixote; "it is a greater work to bring t_ife a dead man."
  • "Now I have got you," said Sancho; "in that case the fame of them who brin_he dead to life, who give sight to the blind, cure cripples, restore healt_o the sick, and before whose tombs there are lamps burning, and whose chapel_re filled with devout folk on their knees adoring their relics be a bette_ame in this life and in the other than that which all the heathen emperor_nd knights-errant that have ever been in the world have left or may leav_ehind them?"
  • "That I grant, too," said Don Quixote.
  • "Then this fame, these favours, these privileges, or whatever you call it,"
  • said Sancho, "belong to the bodies and relics of the saints who, with th_pprobation and permission of our holy mother Church, have lamps, tapers,
  • winding-sheets, crutches, pictures, eyes and legs, by means of which the_ncrease devotion and add to their own Christian reputation. Kings carry th_odies or relics of saints on their shoulders, and kiss bits of their bones,
  • and enrich and adorn their oratories and favourite altars with them."
  • "What wouldst thou have me infer from all thou hast said, Sancho?" asked Do_uixote.
  • "My meaning is," said Sancho, "let us set about becoming saints, and we shal_btain more quickly the fair fame we are striving after; for you know, senor,
  • yesterday or the day before yesterday (for it is so lately one may say so)
  • they canonised and beatified two little barefoot friars, and it is no_eckoned the greatest good luck to kiss or touch the iron chains with whic_hey girt and tortured their bodies, and they are held in greater veneration,
  • so it is said, than the sword of Roland in the armoury of our lord the King,
  • whom God preserve. So that, senor, it is better to be an humble little fria_f no matter what order, than a valiant knight-errant; with God a couple o_ozen of penance lashings are of more avail than two thousand lance-thrusts,
  • be they given to giants, or monsters, or dragons."
  • "All that is true," returned Don Quixote, "but we cannot all be friars, an_any are the ways by which God takes his own to heaven; chivalry is _eligion, there are sainted knights in glory."
  • "Yes," said Sancho, "but I have heard say that there are more friars in heave_han knights-errant."
  • "That," said Don Quixote, "is because those in religious orders are mor_umerous than knights."
  • "The errants are many," said Sancho.
  • "Many," replied Don Quixote, "but few they who deserve the name of knights."
  • With these, and other discussions of the same sort, they passed that night an_he following day, without anything worth mention happening to them, wherea_on Quixote was not a little dejected; but at length the next day, a_aybreak, they descried the great city of El Toboso, at the sight of which Do_uixote's spirits rose and Sancho's fell, for he did not know Dulcinea'_ouse, nor in all his life had he ever seen her, any more than his master; s_hat they were both uneasy, the one to see her, the other at not having see_er, and Sancho was at a loss to know what he was to do when his master sen_im to El Toboso. In the end, Don Quixote made up his mind to enter the cit_t nightfall, and they waited until the time came among some oak trees tha_ere near El Toboso; and when the moment they had agreed upon arrived, the_ade their entrance into the city, where something happened them that ma_airly be called something.