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dame whom all men would admire, did she suffer herself to be seen of any. Then shall I reach her castle by nightfall, and a lighted torch will move of its own accord before me, until I come to a gorgeous palace of gold and silver and pearls and precious stones, with carpets of the finest silk and hangings of gold. Then the torch will go out and the princess will come in, and after she has fallen asleep, I shall, by means of a lantern which I have brought for the purpose, discover her to be the most beautiful woman in the world—but a drop of wax falling on her breast will wake her, and much will she marvel to see no knight of the Griffin, but a humpbacked and a long-nosed knight. Then, holding my hump, not for what it is a rich adornment of nature, but for a deformity, straightway she will cast about to compass my death. In the meanwhile I shall invoke some malign enchanter, who, owing to his malignity, will pretend to hear me not. But a dueña, the fairest of all dueñas in Transylvania, will deliver me. Her shall I promise to wed when next I pass that way, which will assuredly be never, but in that hour it will become my duty to promise what I cannot perform as well as what I can.” In another adventure the Bachelor supposes himself married to the daughter of an Emperor, attired indeed in the costliest brocade, but so excessively ugly as to appear rather a devil escaped from hell than a human creature. To appease this lady's anxiety for a husband, her father has set her as the prize of any brave knight who can obtain by bis arms the possession of the great beauty which is not in her. As no other knight appears, the Bachelor himself enters the lists, while the ignorant and evil-minded rabble cry aloud, “Here comes the knight of the horrible hump! Room for the flower of knighthood!” His courser prances as usual, and as usual he comes to the ground, discovering in his fall certain matters which the sun's light need never have seen. Then the princess finding him fit for marriage asks him at once from her father, who well knowing his daughter has run the market of knights-errant without finding a bid, that she is in fact a bad half-crown and a jewel not vendible, gives her to him along with a kingdom of dwarfs as a reward for his
prowess; the Bachelor, “from a graduate of Salamanca, and not of Alcala, I shall be nothing less than a king, and a poem will be composed in my praise, in the language of my kingdom, unknown as yet to the most learned of cosmographers.”
After this long tirade of the Bachelor's, which is much longer in the original, the author does his best to bring him back to the real subject of knights-errant in their own time, and when the hunchback again and again reverts to the history of his valiant sire,
And so,” says
hopping, as the author says, like a little bird from flower to flower, his antagonist imitates the strange resistance of the serpent who stops her ears with her tail. The Bachelor, a father of proverbs like Sancho, is as talkative as a black bathing woman, but the author, with laudable perseverance, defends his own thesis by the examples of Oliver de la Marche, Knight of Philip the Good, and of several other knights in the days of Charles V.and his son Philip II. It is, he concludes, but a set of loggerheads who, to mislead the people, maintain the non-existence in the present day of these knights-errant, who may well be encountered in villages if they exist in the courts o kings, though indeed in the hurly-burly of palaces they are unnoted, since the court is the mother of madness of every kind. Then the author enters upon a panegyric of his work, in the middle of which he is interrupted by a mishap. For during the colloquy the hectic bag o’ bones has become possessed with a devil similar to that which possessed Rocinante in respect of the Yanguesian mares. The mule, like a virtuous Lucretia (the world has grown so corrupt, that it is reserved for mules alone to show themselves Lucretias), leaves her lover in an evil plight, of which the author takes advantage to show the Bachelor that some at least of the contents of the Knight of La Mancha are other than madness and folly. The sun sets—the author bids the Bachelor good-bye, who, bewailing his ill-starred beast, neither sees nor hears him, and continues his journey to Toledo, where in the house of a friend he writes his adventure to undeceive a number of people who see in “Don Quixote" what Don Quixote is not, and determines to call his pamphlet “Buscapié,” that all those who seek for the foot on which the ingenious Manchegan halts, may find out that he is sufficiently sound on both to enter into most singular battle with all dolts and backbiters, despicable insects which every well-ordained city supports to its own detriment.
And so the “Buscapié” concludes with the ordinary form of leave-taking.
In its last sentence the author makes a sort of pun on the title of his work, the proper signification of which is a rocket without a stick, which, being fired, runs along the ground betwixt people's feet. It means also, metaphorically, a feint or feeler in talk, introduced to obtain further information, and a key to obscure passages in a work. The object of the “Buscapié,” according to Vicente de los Rios, was to excite the attention of the public to “Don Quixote,” by explaining it to be a satire on certain noble persons, such as Charles V. and the Duke of Lerma, the favourite of Philip III. The advantage to be gained in the sale of a book by declaring it to be directed against living notabilities is as well understood now as in VOL, CCLIII. NO. 1819.
the days of Cervantes and of Pope. But the fact that several editions of “Don Quixote” were published in a short time-four, indeed, in the year of its appearance, 1605 : the first and fourth at Madrid, the second at Valencia, and the third at Lisbon—is a serious objection to the view of Vicente de los Rios. Moreover, Cervantes speaks in “Don Quixote" with the highest respect of Charles V., going so far as to call him invictisimo, deviating from the rules of grammar in his desire of forcible panegyric. Still, the reader of the “Voyage to Parnassus” will hesitate some time before admitting that Cervantes intends every word he writes to be taken in its natural meaning.
In the Prologue of the edition published by De Castro, the author asks the reader to read the “Buscapié," if he has not, through want of intelligence, been able to disembowel the matters hid in his ingenious Manchegan flower and mirror of all knight-errantry. But the reader obtains very little explanation of difficulties from the “Buscapié." Here is a delicately fine imitation of Cervantes—if he be not indeed the author—who was so culpably and notoriously careless in the matter of Sancho's ass and the name of Sancho's wife. But surely it appears that the chief purport of the work was to show, not only by the example of particular persons in high station, but even by that of the generality of people, of which the Bachelor may be taken as a representative, that knights-errant existed at that time, and that knight-errantry was still a subject of admiration. It may be remembered that in the second part of “Don Quixote” the Ecclesiastic, as he is called by Cervantes, supposed by some to be intended for Luis de Aliaga or Avellaneda, makes the very same objection against the existence of knights-errant in his time as is made by the Bachelor in the work before us.
“ Where have you found,” says this irate dignitary, addressing Don Quixote, at the Duke's table by the injurious appellation of "Soul of a Pitcher"" Where have you found that there have ever been, or are now, any of your knights-errant ? Where are your Spanish giants? your Manchegan marauders ? your enchanted Dulcineas ? and the whole pack of your idle absurdities?” The purpose of “Don Quixote" was, according to its prologue, to overthrow the ill-founded pile of books of chivalry, abhorred by so many and praised by so many more; and the 66
Buscapié” comes as a sort of corollary to give proofs, not, indeed, of the existence of books of chivalry, which was never denied, but of knights-errant who still remained in the world at the time “Don Quixote" was written.
The extent to which the subject of knight-errantry had occupied men's minds is shown by a volume published in the middle of the
sixteenth century, composed by Hieronymo Sanpedro, called “The Book of Celestial Chivalry of the Stem of the Fragrant Rose.” This book, which in its dedication curiously anticipates the comparison of Mrs. Malaprop to the orange-tree, contains some hundred chapters on Marvels, beginning with the creation of two round tables, the earth and heaven, by the omnipotent Emperor, and ending with the conduct of King Hezekiah, by a certain sage, Alegorin, to the splendid palace of Abraham, where he sees the leading members of the heavenly host, and is informed of the advent of Christ, the Knight of the Lion. In this unique romance Eve and Rebecca are represented as two beautiful princesses in the style of Oriana and Angelica ; the Devil becomes the Knight of the Snake ; while Abraham figures as a second Tirante or Amadis of Gaul. The author, in a preface, modestly expressing his doubts of his own eloquence, consoles himself a little naïvely with the example of Balaam's ass. It is only fair to add that this book was rigorously prohibited by the Holy Office.
The “Buscapié,” short as it is, abounds with amusement. No work of Cervantes, from his “Galatea” to his “ Persiles" contains so much fun in so little space. What Addison thought of Pope's “Rape of the Lock” before the introduction of the Rosicrucian machinery, may be applied to it. It is merum sal, a delicious little thing. Here, for example, is a passage taken from the Bachelor's criticism on the Book of Spiritual Verses, the companion of Don Quixote, in his leather purse. “One thing,” says the humpbacked, “much annoys me herein ; I mean the confusion and mixture of the ornaments and court-dresses of the Christian Muses with those adored by barbarous heathendom. Now, who does not feel offended and hurt when he sees the name of the Divine Word, and that of the most sacred Virgin Mary and the holy prophets to boot, with Apollo and Daphne, Pan and Syrinx, Jupiter and Europa, and with that cuckold of a Vulcan, and that son of a whore, little Cupid, the blind god born of the adultery of Venus and Mars? And yet, what a mighty bustle was made by the author of these same absurdities about a pious old dame, who used to answer in a snuffling tone, 'Praised be God,' when in the service of the mass he said 'The Lord be with you," instead of replying, as she ought to have done, in conformity with the prayer book and ordinary courtesy, “and with thy spirit.' "The devil take you and all your lineage,' quoth one day the offended divine; 'can't you see, my good woman, though your prayer is pious, it is not here to the purpose?” The Bachelor's criticism on the author of the Book of Spiritual Verses would certainly have received the support of Dr. Johnson, one of whose favourite subjects of reproof, in the Lives of such Poets as he seems to have held apostates from God's grace, to wit, is the irreligious licentiousness of many of their lines. Most readers will remember his complaint about the indecency of Dryden, who—in this respect at least, as bad as the subject of the Bachelor's animadversions-after proposing, in his verses on the Restoration, a sacrifice to Portunus and other sea gods, for Charles the Second's safe return, says, in the language of religion
Prayer stormed the skies, and ravished Charles from thence,
As heaven itself is took by violence; and, adds his horror-stricken biographer, afterwards mentions one of the most awful passages of sacred history. The punctilious Bachelor speaks with great approval on another occasion of the change attributed to Charles V., in the famous words of Julius Cæsar: "I came," said the Emperor, “I saw," but he added, as a Christian prince should do, “God conquered."
Everybody probably, except the traditional school-boy of universal knowledge, will remember the scene in the First Part of “Henry IV.," where the counterfeiting Falstaff, after slaying the already slain Hotspur, bears him on his back to the prince and claims the reward for his egregious valour. Those who delight in the detection of such plagiarisms as it is now the fashion to call literary parallels, may ascribe, if they will, to Shakespeare an incident in the Bachelor's account of how he became a captain. This gentleman one day, in the heat of a fight with the German heretics, is looking about him anxiously for some convenient place of retirement, deeming, doubtless, like the fat knight, that the better part of valour is discretion. On his way he notices the number of his fellow-soldiers carried off by death,--as the author says prettily elsewhere, borrowing his simile from the first line of one of Argensola's most celebrated sonnets, like vine tendrils by the hand of October. The idea comes to him that he should reserve himself, the Bachelor not being as yet born nor engendered, for greater matters. To his companion's suggestion, that the narrator should say rather the least of matters, the humpback phlegmatically replies that he has heard before that he is very small, but he has always held it for idle talk, a tale told by an old woman round a winter fire. To resume his story : at the end of the battle, says the Bachelor, my father appeared before the Emperor with more than thirty heads of the heretics cut off by his own sword, a weapon on the majority of occasions of a retiring, modest, and unassuming character. But to show the malice of the world, adds the graduate of Sala