With this kind of language the poor gentleman lost his wits, and distracted himself to comprehend and unravel their meaning; which was more than Aristotle himself could do, were he to rise again from the dead for that purpose alone. He had some doubt as to the dreadful wounds which Don Belianis gave and received; for he imagined, that notwithstanding the most expert surgeons had cured him, his face and whole body must still be full of seams and scars. Nevertheless he commended in his author the concluding his book with a promise of that unfinishable adventure: and he often had it in his thoughts to take pen in hand, and finish it himself, precisely as it is there promised: which he had certainly performed, and successfully too, if other greater and continual cogitations had not diverted him.
He had frequent disputes with the priest of his village (who was a learned person, and had taken his degrees in Sigiienza) which of the two was the better knight, Palmerin of England, or Amadis de Gaul. But master Nicholas, barber-surgeon of the same town, affirmed, that none ever came up to the Knight of the Sun, and that if any one could be compared to him, it was Don Galaor, brother of Amadis de Gaul; for he was of a disposition fit for everything, no finical gentleman, nor such a whimperer as his brother; and as to courage, he was by no means inferior to him. In short, he so bewildered himself in this kind of study, that he passed the nights in reading from sunset to sunrise, and the days from sunrise to sunset: and thus, through little sleep and much reading, his brain was dried up in such a manner, that he came at last to lose his wits. His imagination was full of all that he read in his books, to wit, enchantments, battles, single combats, challenges, wounds, courtships, amours, tempests, and impossible absurdities. And so firmly was he persuaded that the whole system of chimeras he read of was true, that he thought no history in the world was more to-be depended upon. The Cid Ruy Diaz, he was wont to say, was a very good knight, but not comparable to the Knight of the Burning Sword, who with a single back-stroke cleft asunder two fierce and monstrous giants. He was better pleased with Bernardo del Carpio for putting Orlando the Enchanted to death in Roncesvalles, by means of the same stratagem which Hercules used, when he suffocated Anteus, son of the Earth, by squeezing him between his arms. He spoke mighty well of the giant Morgante; for, though he was of that monstrous brood who are always proud and insolent, he alone was affable and well-bred: but, above all, he was charmed with Reynaldos de Montalvan, especially when he saw him sallying out of his castle and plundering all he met; and when abroad he seized that image of Mahomet, which was all of massive gold, as his history records. He would have given his housekeeper, and niece to boot, for a fair opportunity of handsomely kicking the traitor Galalon.
Feature Image: Don Quixote by Gustave Doré. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, author of Don Quixote. Don Quixote, originally published in two parts in 1605 and 1615, stands as Cervantes' belated but colossal literary success. A work which has achieved mythic status, it is considered to have pioneered the modern novel. Don Quixote, a poor gentleman from La Mancha, Spain, entranced by the code of chivalry, seeks romantic honor through absurd and fantastic adventures. His fevered imagination turns everyday objects into heroic opponents and stepping stones to greater glory; each exploit serves as a comic, yet disturbing commentary on the psychological struggle between reality and illusion, fact and fiction. This celebrated translation by Charles Jarvis offers a new introduction and notes which provide essential background information.
Translated by Charles Jarvis
Edited with an introduction and notes by E. C. Riley, Professor Emeritus of Hispanic Studies, University of Edinburgh
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