Don Quixote de la Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra; Charles Jarvis et al. | Go to book overview

EXPLANATORY NOTES

Part One

15 born in a prison: this has been thought to mean that Cervantes conceived the idea of his book and its hero in prison, probably in 1597. It is less likely that he started to write it there. It might even be just a figure of speech.

16 years upon my back: he was 57.

could not equal: probably aimed at Lope de Vega, many of whose works were prefaced by numerous poems by 'obliging friends'.

17 little trouble to find: probably another dig at Lope de Vega. His Peregrino en su patria ( 1604), for instance, contains ostentatious erudition of this sort.

18 Horace, or whoever said it: it was from one of the many medieval collections of fables by Aesop or attributed to him, and means 'Liberty is not bought for gold'.

Regumque turres: Horace, Odes, 1. iv. 13-14: 'Pale death strikes equally at the hovels of the poor and the castle towers of kings.'

inimicos vestros: Matt. 5:44: 'But I say to you, love your enemies.'

cogitationes malae: Matt. 15:19: 'Wirled thoughts come from the heart.'

solus eris: the lines are not from Cato, but from Ovid, Tristia, i. 9 (the misattribution, like the one above, is obviously deliberate): 'When you are happy friends abound; when skies are grey, you are all alone.'

bishop of Mondoñedo: Antonio de Guevara, Epístolas familiares I ( 1539).

19 Leon Hebreo: author of the Dialoghi d'amore ( 1535). There were three Spanish translations made of this work in the sixteenth century.

Fonseca, 'On the love of God': Cristóbal de Fonseca, Tratado del amor de Dios ( 1592)

20 Farewell: in the original there now follow eleven burlesque poems in praise of Don Quixote, Sancho, Dulcinea, and the like, attributed to characters from romances of chivalry and others. Cervantes has acted upon the advice of his 'friend' in the prologue. A translation of these was not included in Jarvis Don Quixote. Also excluded was the short dedication to the Duke of Bejar.

21 La Mancha: 'En un lugar de la Mancha' was a line from a popular poem of the time.

an omelet: 'duelos y quebrantos' in the original -- probably eggs and bacon.

Quixana: in Ch. 5 the suggestion is that his name was 'Quixana', and in

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