Don Quixote - Part I (Chapter II, page 1 of 5)


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WHICH TREATS OF THE FIRST SALLY THE INGENIOUS DON QUIXOTE MADE FROM HOME


These preliminaries settled, he did not care to put off any longer the
execution of his design, urged on to it by the thought of all the world
was losing by his delay, seeing what wrongs he intended to right,
grievances to redress, injustices to repair, abuses to remove, and duties
to discharge. So, without giving notice of his intention to anyone, and
without anybody seeing him, one morning before the dawning of the day
(which was one of the hottest of the month of July) he donned his suit of
armour, mounted Rocinante with his patched-up helmet on, braced his
buckler, took his lance, and by the back door of the yard sallied forth
upon the plain in the highest contentment and satisfaction at seeing with
what ease he had made a beginning with his grand purpose. But scarcely
did he find himself upon the open plain, when a terrible thought struck
him, one all but enough to make him abandon the enterprise at the very
outset. It occurred to him that he had not been dubbed a knight, and that
according to the law of chivalry he neither could nor ought to bear arms
against any knight; and that even if he had been, still he ought, as a
novice knight, to wear white armour, without a device upon the shield
until by his prowess he had earned one. These reflections made him waver
in his purpose, but his craze being stronger than any reasoning, he made
up his mind to have himself dubbed a knight by the first one he came
across, following the example of others in the same case, as he had read
in the books that brought him to this pass. As for white armour, he
resolved, on the first opportunity, to scour his until it was whiter than
an ermine; and so comforting himself he pursued his way, taking that
which his horse chose, for in this he believed lay the essence of
adventures.

Thus setting out, our new-fledged adventurer paced along, talking to
himself and saying, "Who knows but that in time to come, when the
veracious history of my famous deeds is made known, the sage who writes
it, when he has to set forth my first sally in the early morning, will do
it after this fashion? 'Scarce had the rubicund Apollo spread o'er the
face of the broad spacious earth the golden threads of his bright hair,
scarce had the little birds of painted plumage attuned their notes to
hail with dulcet and mellifluous harmony the coming of the rosy Dawn,
that, deserting the soft couch of her jealous spouse, was appearing to
mortals at the gates and balconies of the Manchegan horizon, when the
renowned knight Don Quixote of La Mancha, quitting the lazy down, mounted
his celebrated steed Rocinante and began to traverse the ancient and
famous Campo de Montiel;'" which in fact he was actually traversing.
"Happy the age, happy the time," he continued, "in which shall be made
known my deeds of fame, worthy to be moulded in brass, carved in marble,
limned in pictures, for a memorial for ever. And thou, O sage magician,
whoever thou art, to whom it shall fall to be the chronicler of this
wondrous history, forget not, I entreat thee, my good Rocinante, the
constant companion of my ways and wanderings." Presently he broke out
again, as if he were love-stricken in earnest, "O Princess Dulcinea, lady
of this captive heart, a grievous wrong hast thou done me to drive me
forth with scorn, and with inexorable obduracy banish me from the
presence of thy beauty. O lady, deign to hold in remembrance this heart,
thy vassal, that thus in anguish pines for love of thee."

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