Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

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The Ingeniotis Gentleman



The Ingenious Gentleman







Done into English










The number of Copies of this Edition has been
strictly limited to Two Hundred and Fifty. All are
printed in Fcap. a,to. and on Dutch Hand-made Paper.




HE object and character of this new edition
of Don Quixote, and the general principles
on which I have made my translation,
being set forth at length in my Introduc-
tion, I have only to add a few words ex-
planatorj'- of the scheme of publication. The whole work
is comprised in five volumes. The first volume is de-
voted entirely to a life of Cervantes, drawn from the
best and latest sources of information, some of which
have never before been accessible to English readers ;
together with the bibliography of Don Quixote, and of
the romances of chivalry. The remaining volumes will
include a new and original translation of Don Quixote^
based on that which must be regarded as the best
Spanish text, namely, the last edition of the Royal
Spanish Academy, published in 1819, accompanied by
a commentary partly selected from the Spanish editions
VOL. I. b


i^ troop.


vi Don Quixote.

of Bowie, Pellicer, Clemencin, and others, and partly
new, the result of my own reading, research, or travel.
The notes, which I trust will not be found superfluous
by any lover of Cervantes, are intended to explain diffi-
culties in the text, the numerous references to the
chivalric romances and poems, and the allusions to
historical personages and events, as well as to contem-
porary Spanish life and manners. I have restrained
myself, as far as it was possible, from intruding mere
verbal criticisms and thrusting what have been called
" finger post " comments on my readers.

This work being intended for those not absolutely
ignorant of Spanish or insensible to humour, I have not
thought it necessary to instruct my readers as to what
they should admire or where they should laugh.

With all my care and solicitude in this respect, it is
possible that I may have erred sometimes in putting a
note to a passage where it was not wanted, but I hope
for forgiveness for this and for graver offences, inevitable
in a work of so much labour and difficulty.

My translation I claim to be original, so far as it is
possible for any version of a prose work, so frequently
translated as Don Quixote has been, to be original, in
this present age. I have read every previous English
translation, as it was my duty to do, and I have not
hesitated to take the best English word wherever I

Preface. vil

found it ; holding fast to my one purpose, which is to
give Don Quixote his best English dress, and regarding
rather the interests of the author than of the translator.
This work, as I have said, being intended rather for
Spanish scholars and students of Cervantes who have
some previous knowledge of Don Quixote, than for the
wholly uninstructed general public, I need not occupy
much time in teaching my readers how to pronounce
certain leading Spanish words. I presume every one
knows that Quixote, which is now universally spelt
Quij'ote in Spanish, is properly a word of three syllables,
— with the accent on the penultimate, and the x or j
sounded as a guttural aspirate. The change from the
X to the J in Spanish words came into fashion about
the middle of the last century. Before that period,
and even for some time after, x and j were used indis-
criminately, — having precisely the same sound, which
there is some reason to believe has been changed since
the time of Charles V. from the sound of the French
ch, or the English s/i, to that of the Arabic aspirate.
Some Spanish scholars even maintain that it was the
German courtiers of Charles who first brought the
aspirated J into fashion.' Cervantes himself probably

' According to the Orlografia Casteliana, which may be taken
to be a sufficient authority in the matter, x should be retained in

viii Don Quixote.

called his hero Keeshote. My readers may call him
what they please, I myself incline, in an English
book, to the old English form Quixote — Quicksot. It
has become naturalised as an English word, and has
become the father of the undoubted English words
Quixotism, Quixotic, &c.

As to Sancho and La Mancha, one may combine
correctness with English use and convenience without
any effort. It is just as easy to say Santcho and La
Mantcha as to say Sanko and La Manka ; and more
correct. Rozinante or Rocinante, — the z and the soft c
being unisonous and interchangeable, — has these letters
sounded, in pure Castilian, like the dental English th ;
but those who prefer, as I do, the plain old pronuncia-
tion, have the satisfaction of knowing that even in
most Spanish countries it is so pronounced.

In regard to the spelling of the proper names through-

all words of pure Latin origin, whiley should be used in words
from the Arabic. But this rule is disregarded by modern Spanish
writers, who use x and 7 indiscriminately. Thus we have ejemplo
and ejercito, instead of exemplo and exercito, — which are clearly
solecisms, and in violation of the rule. So late as in 1623,
Minsheu, in the appendix to his Spanish and English Dictionary,
directs his readers that the Spanish ; "is pronounced as in French
jamais,^' and x like the French ch,—ojo like osho, a.nd_^oxo like

Preface. ix

out Don Quixote I have adhered generally to the English
mode, as being most in character in an English transla-
tion, not binding myself to any hard and fast rule. It
is not always easy to say when the Spanish name has
become sufficiently familiar to be used, in such a book
as this, in its English form. We are all agreed to say
Seville for Sevilla, and Biscay for Biscaya ; but there is
no sufficient reason for preferring Saragossa and Pampe-
luna to Zaragoza and Pamplona. In the case of the
names of the heroes of fable, it is difficult to lay down
any fixed rule ; but I have generally Englished the
foreign name, wherever an English form of it was
known. I have preferred, however, Orlando to Roland,
seeing that nearly always the allusions in Don Quixote
are to the Italian hero of Boiardo's or Ariosto's poem.
While they are by origin one, the Italian Orlando differs
materially from the English or French Roland, just as
either differs from the Spanish Roldan. It would make
confusion, however, were I to vary t^je name according
to the several countries of this general Latin hero (who
was not Latin at all, but a Frank, if he was anything) \
so I have preferred to call him Orlando throughout.
And for such a form as Valdovinos I need plead no ex-
cuse in substituting Baldwin, any more than for turning
Arturo or Artus into Arthur. In regard to such an
absurd name (however consecrated by usage) as Dan

X Don Quixote.

John — half Spanish, half English — I have preferred the
wholly Spanish Don Juan. We do not say Sir Pedro
or Sir Henrique. The Oriental and Arabic names of
persons and places I have given according to the Eng-
lish Romanised forms ; as Hadgi Murad for AgiMorato.
I do not pretend, in all this, to follow any scientific
scheme of transliteration, but, amidst the multitude of
systems of spelling, have looked only to that which is
most easy and familiar to the English reader.

There remains one other duty for me to discharge
in this place, which is to record my acknowledgments
to those who have helped me in this arduous under-
taking. In expressing my obligations to Don Pascual
de Gayangos for much kindly sympathy and assistance,
especially in the bibliographical part, I merely repeat
what has become almost a stereotyped phrase in the
prefaces of English books relating to Spain or to
Spanish literature. There is no living scholar of a
knowledge so accurate and profound on all matters
relating to the books of his country as my good friend
Don Pascual, and no one of a good-nature and libe-
rality so profuse and untiring. To the editor of the
St. James's Gazette I am indebted for the privilege
of using the substance of several articles contributed
to that journal on Don Quixote and Cervantic literature.
To Mr. Francis Storr I have to express my thanks for

Preface. xi

having lent me the translation of Heine's essay on Don
Quixote, which appears in the Appendix to Vol. I.
Mr. Edmund Gosse I have to thank for his graceful
rendering of one of the occasional sonnets in the text.
Lastly, and in an extreme measure, my gratitude is
due to Mr. C. H. H. Macartney, who has relieved me
of infinite labour by reading my proofs and by aiding
in the compilation of my two Indices — one to the Life
of Cervantes and the other to the text of Don Quixote.
This last, to his special glory be it recorded, is a ser-
vice which no English editor has ever before done for

In bringing to a conclusion a work in which I have
been engaged, more or less busily, for the last eighteen
years, — begun in the midst of the cares, distractions,
and turmoil of a harassing and jealous profession, —
which has been to me a perpetual and ever-abiding
source of delight and comfort, fulfilling in my regard,
in a very special sense, that object for which the book
was designed by its author, according to his own words,
I am sensible of an emotion which has in it more of
pain than of pleasure. It is the taking leave of an
old friend, who can never more be the same again, —
the companion of my leisure, the solace of many dull
and weary hours. I can scarcely indulge my readers
with the hope which is implied in the common form

xii Don Quixote.

of an author's farewell to his book. I cannot flatter
myself that any one will take so much delight in
reading this translation of Don Quixote as I have had
in making it. The mischief is that it is done ; and the
labour can delight no more.


Preface page v

Introduction i



Birth and Parentage — Youth and Education — Early
Essays in Literature — Service with Cardinal Acqua-
viva — -Journey to Rome 31


Leaves the Service of Cardinal Acquaviva — Enlists as a
Soldier — The Holy League — The Battle of Lepanto
— Cervantes' Conduct in the Fight — His Wounds —
Recovery and Return to Service — Navarino — Tunis —
Italy — Obtains Leave to Visit Spain — Embarks at
Naples 49

VOL. I. c

xiv Don Quixote.


Cervantes^ Galley attacked by Alger ine Corsairs — Taken
Captive — Slave of Deli Mami — Attevipts at Escape
— Projected Rising of Christian Captives — Treat-
ment of Cervantes by Hassan Pasha — Testimony as
to his Conduct at Algiers — Father Hcedds Account
of Cervantes — Is rafisoined and returns to Spain . . .page 7 6


Cervantes returns to Spain — State of the Country under
Philip II. — Gi'catiiess of Philip's Doniinion — Signs
of Decadence a?id its Causes — Extraordinary Growth
of the Ecclesiastical Poioer — Influence of Priestcraft
— The Inquisitioji — Cervantes re-eftters the Military
Profession — Service in Portugal — In the Azores —
Residence in Lisbon — Quits Military Life 98


Begins his Career as a Man of Letters — Story oj his
Portraits — Ideal Portrait by Kent — Tlie Conde del
Aguila's Picture — Asensio's Discovery — Description of
Himself — Publication of Galatea — Marriage 114


Cervantes adopts Literature as a Profession — Multitude
of Poets i?i Spain — JFrites for the Stage — His Come-
dies — Numancia — El Trato de Argel — Lope de Vega
— Retires from Madrid — Life in Seville — A Commis-
sary in Ajidalusia — Imprisonment — Trials and Expe-
riences in La Mancha — A?gamasilla — The Cradle of
Don Quixote 133

Contents. xv


Return to Valladolid — Disappointed in his Hopes of Pre-
ferment — Writes Don Quixote — The Duke of Bejar
— Publication of Don Quixote — Reception of the Book
— Its Object and Character discussed — The Romances
of Chivalry and their Influence — Their Annihilation
by Don Quixote .pa^e



Life at Valladolid^ Arrival of the English Ambassador
— The Festivities at Court — Gongora — Affair of
Ezpeleta — Visit to Seville — Return to Madrid — Cer-
vantes^ Purszdts — Friends and Rivals — Publication of
the Novels — The Voyage to Parnassus and Appendix
— Cervantes^ Patrons — Publication of Comedies and
Farces — Poverty of the Author — Foreign Opinion ... 185


Second Part of Don Quixote commenced — Spurious Second
Part published — Its Character — Bitter Attack on
Cervafites — Parody of his Work — The Mystery of
Avellaneda — Attempts at its Solution — Lope de Vega
— His Relations with Cervantes — The Second Part
of Don Quixote published — Its Character 206


Last Years — Persiles and Sigismunda — Cervantes' Fare-
well — Death and Burial — General Sionmary of his
Life and Character — Estitnate of Don Quixote —
Conclusion 232


Don Quixote.


A. — Genealogy of Miguel de Cervantes .page 258

B. — Abstract of the Proceedings in Algiers 260

C. — The Bibliography of Don Quixote 268

D. — The Romances of Chivalry 291

E. — Heine on Cervantes and Don Quixote 309

Index 325


Y purpose in this work is to tell the story
of Don Quixote to English readers as
Cervantes, his creator, has told it ; ob-
serving, so far as the difference between
the Spanish of the Sixteenth century and
the English of the Nineteenth will allow,
the same simplicity, clearness, and directness of lan-
guage which are the distinctive attributes of the
original ; and ever regarding it as my first duty to be
faithful to the text and to the author. To this end
three things chiefly are necessary : First, a true and
faithful translation of the text of DON QUIXOTE, with-
out mutilation or abridgment or addition : Second, a
full commentary in explanation of the innumerable
references to books, to events, and to persons, and in
elucidation of the manners, customs, idioms, characters,
and phrases, which either time has rendered obscure,
or the translators and commentators have made unin-
telligible : Third, a biography of the author, with a
VOL. I. B *

Don Quixote.

survey of the time and the conditions under which he
lived and wrote, which is the one thing, above all,
essential to the true understanding of his book.

Of the translation I need only say, in excuse for my
seeming audacity in undertaking what so many have
attempted, that DON QUIXOTE is the book of all others
in the world the most translateable, which is proved, I
maintain, by the fact of its being the book most often
translated. The prophecy of Cervantes, put into the
mouth of Samson Carrasco, has been more than ful-
filled : No ha de haber nacion ni lengua dotide no se
traduca. The book of Spain has become the common
property of mankind. In the words of the great
French critic — Ce livre d'apropos est devenu un livre
d humanite. Every literature has its DON Quixote,
as it has its Bible. There is no language but has been
enriched by the coinage of Cervantes. Quixote, Rozi-
nante, Sancho Panza, Dulcinea, Maritornes — they are
words in every tongue. In a sense, and to an extent
which the author himself could hardly have antici-
pated, proudly confident as he was of the fortunes of
this child of his genius, DoN Quixote has become
" the plaything of infancy, the study of mankind, the
idol of old age." To say that there is no book in the
world so popular, is to bear but scant testimony to the
triumph it has achieved over readers of all nations, all
tastes, and all ages. Bibliography can hardly keep
pace with the number of editions through which Don
Quixote has passed. Don Lopez de Fabra, the editor
of the beautiful fac-simile first editions of Part Land II.,

Introduction. 3

published at Barcelona in 1874;^ enumerates 278 editions
of Don QuixOTE^up to that date, of which 136 are
in Spanish. This gives us some 150 in other lan-
guages, two of the latest of these to acquire Cervantes'
masterpiece being Rouman and Guzerati. A book
which has passed the ordeal of translation so bravely
proves itself to be, in spite of what its author himself
has said in discouragement of translators, one eminently
adapted for translation. The Spaniards continue to
maintain, in spite of all these proofs to the contrary,
that Don Quixote is untranslateable. Richard Ford,
who had so much in his own genius to make him a
competent translator of Cervantes, has declared it to be
" a mortal sin for any man to read Don Quixote
except in the original." I cannot flatter myself that I
shall be able to keep any one from his salvation in
this respect. Of course, it is true that DON QUIXOTE,
like every other book, loses by translation. But though
thrice blessed are they who have command enough
of the noble Castilian tongue to be able to read Don
Quixote in the original, it is something like a paradox
to say that a book which has borne so much translation
— which, in spite of the translators, is still popular —
cannot be translated. This is the one quality which
gives to Don Quixote its unique place among the
books of the world ; that, however badly it may be
rendered, however roughly treated, in the baldest and
driest version it never ceases to be readable: some-
thing of the delicate aroma escapes, as with the choice
wine of its native La Mancha, the Val-de-penas anejo, in

4 Don Quixote.

the process of transfer. The grace and the spirit which
are in the form itself cannot be " done " into any other
language. The characteristic Cervantes' flavour, the ever-
flowing under-current of humour, the play upon words,
the subtle half-meanings and double-meanings, the
fascination which resides in the style, whose careless-
ness is itself a grace, — all this no translator can hope to
preserve. Something, however, may be achieved, — of
the much which has been attempted, — by the bold and
loyal spirit who shall be content to abide in a due
respect for the work, with which is indissolubly con-
nected a reverence for the author. He who shall follow
his text closely and ask for no other inspiration — who
shall put away the temptation to decorate the plain
words in his own manner — who shall not mock the
greatest of humorists, with any vain endeavour to bring
him into a line with " the humour of the times " — for
him the adventure may yet be reserved.

The ideal of a true translation seems to be best
indicated by August Schlegel, when he bids us " follow
step by step the letter of the sense {den Biichstaben des
Sinnes), and yet catch part of the innumerable inde-
scribable beauties which do not lie in the letter, but
hover about it, like ^ an intellectual spirit." The curse
which Voltaire has pronounced on the literal translator
notwithstanding, there is no book tempts to literal
translation like DoN OuiXOTE. The language is
always simple and clear ; the construction, though care-
less and irregular, easy and direct. The meaning, at
least one meaning, it is always possible to give in a

Introduction. 5

foreign language. Yet there are pitfalls in the very-
ease with which the Spanish seems to fit into any
tongue with a Romance root ; as the fate of some who
have gone bravely Into condicioHy suceso,gracioso, discreto,
and come out with " condition," " success," " gracious,"
and *' discreet," has painfully illustrated. The letter has
killed. The spirit only, is a delusion, a will-o'-the-wisp.
The true salvation is in something which is neither, but
the spirit of the letter ; which is the only thing the good
translator has to regard. In the case of DON QUIXOTE
the temptation to break away from the text is almost
irresistible. The story seems to tell itself The style
is so very simple that one ceases to study it with
the due respect. For a long time, even in Spain,
the original was regarded as scarcely deserving of the
serious attention of men of letters. Printed on the
vilest of paper and with the dirtiest of ink, it used to
be what they called "illustrated" with the most hideous
" sculptures," caricaturing the Knight and his squire,
and reducing all the romance, all the pathos, and all
the humour of the story to the meanest and rudest of
ideals. For nearly a century and a half DON Quixote
was only a larger sort of chap-book for the million.
England, it may fairly be said, was the first of all the
nations to recognise the writer of Don Quixote. The
first translation — that of Shelton — was the English.
The first edition of the text, in a shape worthy of the
author and befitting a classic, was an English one, —
that published under the auspices of the great English
Minister, Lord Carteret, in 1738. The first commentary

6 Don Quixote.

in any language was that of the Rev. John Bowie,
printed at Salisbury in 1781, in an edition whose value
has scarcely yet been duly estimated. Lastly, and as
a final proof of her sympathy with Cervantes and
regard for his work, it is England who has produced
the greatest number of translations of Don Quixote,
from the author's lifetime to the present date. Spain
may have begotten the child, but England has been
his foster-mother.

Of the English translators whom I have now to speak
of, Thomas Shelton, the earliest, is deserving of much
gratitude for what he did to popularise DON QuiXOTE
in this country. Who Thomas Shelton was I have
utterly failed to learn. He remains nomi7tis jiinbra,
without a single word in any biographical dictionary,
or any mention from a contemporary. That he had
a competent knowledge of Spanish, perhaps more than
any of his successors had, is, I think, sufficiently
proved by his translation ; which, rude, careless, and
imperfect as it is, must still be reckoned as one of the
most spirited and the most genuine that has ever been
done in English. Shelton tells us in his preface that
he did it (meaning the First Part) " in the space of
forty days;" that he then threw it aside, and "never
once set hand to review or correct the same," his "many
affairs hindering him from undergoing that labour" — all
which is extremely probable, to which the state of his
text bears witness. Although a rough and slovenly
piece of work, of which the first edition is now a very
rare book, it is an honest attempt to convey the spirit of

Introduction. 7

Don Quixote into the tongue which Englishmen spoke
in that period. Shelton was fortunate in being able to
use the language of Shakespeare to express the mind
of Cervantes, — not, indeed, that the language which he
uses is the best equivalent for Cervantes' Spanish. The
language in which the Spaniard wrote was more ad-
vanced and more highly developed than was English
in the reign of Elizabeth. Spain was then at the very-
zenith of her greatness, and in the flush of her golden
age of literature. England was still almost " in the
gristle," with a literature yet " mewing its mighty
youth." Shelton seems to have based his translation
of the First Part,vvhich was first published in 16 12 (in
Shakespeare's as well as in Cervantes' lifetime), on the
Brussels edition of 1607, — an edition of some interest
as being more carefully printed than the previous
Spanish ones of 1605, but entirely without authority,
and probably a piratical enterprise, without the author's
knowledge or sanction. Shelton's Second Part, which
is much inferior to his First, was printed in 1620,
Together, the two Parts constitute the very earliest
recognition of Cervantes' great work in any country
outside of Spain, and are a very remarkable evidence
of the influence of Spanish literature in England at
that early date. Shakespeare might have read Don
Quixote in Shelton^s English before he died; sup-
posing that he had not read it in Cervantes' Spanish.

The next after Shelton to turn DON Quixote into
English was John Phillips, the nephew of Milton, who
may bedismissed in a very few words. In an evil hour

8 Don Quixote.

he conceived the notion of adapting DoN Quixote
to " the humour of the age." He fell into oblivion
speedily, helped thereto by a shaft out of the quiver of

Online LibraryMiguel de Cervantes SaavedraThe ingenious gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 25)