Miguel de Cervantes

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Do not keep the alabaster boxes of your love and tenderness sealed up until your friends are dead. Fill their lives with sweetness, speak cheering words while their ears can hear, and while their hearts can be thrilled and made happier by them. George
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Miguel de Cervantes

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (29 September 154723 April 1616), was a Spanish novelist, poet and playwright. He is best known for his novel Don Quixote, or Don Quijote de la Mancha, which is considered by many to be the first modern novel, one of the greatest works in Western literature, and the greatest of the Spanish language.

Sourced

Don Quixote de la Mancha (1605-1615)

By a small sample we may judge of the whole piece.
This famous work has been translated into English by many authors, and an attempt will be made to source the translations which are used here.
  • A father may have a child who is ugly and lacking in all the graces, and the love he feels for him puts a blindfold over his eyes so that he does not see his defects but considers them signs of charm and intelligence and recounts them to his friends as if they were clever and witty.
    • Prologue
  • You are a king by your own fireside, as much as any monarch in his throne.
    • Prologue
  • I was so free with him as not to mince the matter.
    • Prologue
  • They can expect nothing but their labor for their pains.
    • Prologue
  • En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, no hace mucho tiempo que vivía un hidalgo de los de lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, rocín flaco y galgo corredor.
    • In some village in La Mancha, whose name I do not care to recall, there dwelt not so long ago a gentleman of the type wont to keep an unused lance, an old shield, a skinny old horse, and a greyhound for racing.
      • Part I, Book I, ch. 1
  • Which I have earned with the sweat of my brows.
    • Part I, Book I, ch. 4
Can we ever have too much of a good thing?
  • By a small sample we may judge of the whole piece.
    • Part I, Book I, ch. 4
  • Put you in this pickle.
    • Part I, Book I, ch. 5
  • Can we ever have too much of a good thing?
    • Part I, Book I, ch. 6
  • The charging of his enemy was but the work of a moment.
    • Part I, Book I, ch. 8
  • Those two fatal words, Mine and Thine.
    • Part I, Book II, ch. 3
  • The eyes those silent tongues of Love.
    • Part I, Book II, ch. 3
There's not the least thing can be said or done, but people will talk and find fault.
  • There's not the least thing can be said or done, but people will talk and find fault.
    • Part I, Book II, ch. 4
  • Without a wink of sleep.
    • Part I, Book II, ch. 4
  • No limits but the sky.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 3
Fear is sharp-sighted, and can see things underground, and much more in the skies.
  • To give the devil his due.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 3
  • You're leaping over the hedge before you come to the stile.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 4
  • Fear is sharp-sighted, and can see things underground, and much more in the skies.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 6
  • That's the nature of women ... not to love when we love them, and to love when we love them not.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 6
  • Ill luck, you know, seldom comes alone.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 6
  • Why do you lead me a wild-goose chase?
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 6
  • Experience, the universal Mother of Sciences.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 7
  • Let every man mind his own business.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 8
  • Those who'll play with cats must expect to be scratched.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 8
  • Raise a hue and cry.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 8
  • To withdraw is not to run away, and to stay is no wise action when there is more reason to fear than to hope. 'Tis the part of a wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow, and not venture all his eggs in one basket. And though I am but a clown, or a bumpkin, as you may say, yet I would have you to know I know what is what, and have always taken care of the main chance...
  • Within a stone's throw of it.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 9
  • The very remembrance of my former misfortune proves a new one to me.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 10
  • Absence, that common cure of love.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 10
  • From pro's and con's they fell to a warmer way of disputing.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 10
  • Thou hast seen nothing yet.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 11
  • My memory is so bad that many times I forget my own name.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 11
  • 'Twill grieve me so to the heart that I shall cry my eyes out.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 11
  • Ready to split his sides with laughing.
    • Part I, Book III, ch. 13
I must speak the truth, and nothing but the truth.
  • My honor is dearer to me than my life.
    • Part I, Book IV, ch. 1
  • Think before thou speakest.
    • Part I, Book IV, ch. 3
  • Let us forget and forgive injuries.
    • Part I, Book IV, ch. 3
  • I must speak the truth, and nothing but the truth.
    • Part I, Book IV, ch. 3
  • I begin to smell a rat.
    • Part I, Book IV, ch. 10
  • The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
    • Part I, Book IV, ch. 10
  • Let none presume to tell me that the pen is preferable to the sword.
    • Part I, Book IV, ch. 10
  • It is a common proverb, beauteous princess, that diligence is the mother of good fortune.
    • Part I, Book IV, ch. 19
  • The bow cannot always stand bent, nor can human frailty subsist without some lawful recreation.
    • Part I, Book IV, ch. 21
  • It is not the hand but the understanding of a man that may be said to write.
    • Part II (1615), Book III, Author's Preface
  • When the head aches, all the members partake of the pains.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 2
  • History is in a manner a sacred thing, so far as it contains truth; for where truth is, the supreme Father of it may also be said to be, at least, inasmuch as concerns truth.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 3
  • Cada uno es como Dios le hizo, y aún peor muchas veces.
    • Every man is as Heaven made him, and sometimes a great deal worse.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 4
  • Journey over all the universe in a map, without the expense and fatigue of traveling, without suffering the inconveniences of heat, cold, hunger, and thirst.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 6
  • The fair sex.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 6
  • A little in one's own pocket is better than much in another man's purse. 'Tis good to keep a nest egg. Every little makes a mickle.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 7
  • Remember the old saying, "Faint heart ne'er won fair lady."
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 10
  • Forewarned forearmed.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 10
  • As well look for a needle in a bottle of hay.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 10
  • Are we to mark this day with a white or a black stone?
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 10
  • I'll turn over a new leaf.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 13
  • La pluma es la lengua del alma: cuales fueren los conceptos que en ella se engendraren, tales serán sus escritos.
    • The pen is the tongue of the soul; as are the thoughts engendered there, so will be the things written.
      • Part II, Book III, ch. 16, as translated by Henry Edward Watts (1895)
  • Marriage is a noose.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 19
  • There are only two families in the world, the Haves and the Have-Nots.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 20
  • Love and War are the same thing, and stratagems and policy are as allowable in the one as in the other.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 21
  • A private sin is not so prejudicial in this world as a public indecency.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 22
Tomorrow will be a new day.
  • There is no love lost, sir.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 22
  • Tell me thy company, and I'll tell thee what thou art.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 23
  • Tomorrow will be a new day.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 26
Honesty is the best policy, I will stick to that.
  • Great persons are able to do great kindnesses.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 32
  • I was ever charitable and good to the poor, and scorn to take the bread out of another man's mouth. On the other side, by our Lady, they shall play me no foul play. I am an old cur at a crust, and can sleep dog-sleep when I list. I can look sharp as well as another, and let me alone to keep the cobwebs out of my eyes. I know where the shoe wrings me. I will know who and who is together. Honesty is the best policy, I will stick to that. The good shall have my hand and heart, but the bad neither foot nor fellowship. And in my mind, the main point of governing, is to make a good beginning.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 33, as translated by Pierre Antoine Motteux in The History of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (1701)
    • Variant translations:
    • I'm kind-hearted by nature, and full of compassion for the poor; there's no stealing the loaf from him who kneads and bakes; and by my faith it won't do to throw false dice with me; I am an old dog, and I know all about 'tus, tus;' I can be wide-awake if need be, and I don't let clouds come before my eyes, for I know where the shoe pinches me; I say so, because with me the good will have support and protection, and the bad neither footing nor access. And it seems to me that, in governments, to make a beginning is everything; and maybe, after having been governor a fortnight, I'll take kindly to the work and know more about it than the field labour I have been brought up to.
    • Honesty's the best policy.
The pen is the tongue of the soul; as are the thoughts engendered there, so will be the things written.
  • Time ripens all things. No man is born wise. Bishops are made of men and not of stones.
    • Part II, Book III, ch. 3
  • An honest man's word is as good as his bond.
    • Part II, Book IV, ch. 34
  • Good wits jump; a word to the wise is enough.
    • Part II, Book IV, ch. 37
  • Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness — its opposite — never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes.
    • Part II, Book IV, ch. 38
  • What a man has, so much he's sure of.
    • Part II, Book IV, ch. 38
  • The pot calls the kettle black.
    • Part II, Book IV, ch. 38
  • Mum's the word.
    • Part II, Book IV, ch. 44
  • I shall be as secret as the grave.
    • Part II, Book IV, ch. 62
  • The ass will carry his load, but not a double load; ride not a free horse to death.
    • Part II, Book IV, ch. 71
  • He ... got the better of himself, and that's the best kind of victory one can wish for.
    • Part II, Book IV, ch. 72
  • Every man was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
    • Part II, Book IV, ch. 73
  • There is a strange charm in the thoughts of a good legacy, or the hopes of an estate, which wondrously alleviates the sorrow that men would otherwise feel for the death of friends.
    • Part II, Book IV, ch. 74
  • For if he like a madman lived,
    At least he like a wise one died.
    • Don Quixote's epitaph

unplaced as yet by chapter :

  • I am almost frighted out of my seven senses.
  • Well, now, there's a remedy for everything except death.
  • Didn't I tell you, Don Quixote, sir, to turn back, for they were not armies you were going to attack, but flocks of sheep?
  • The painter Orbaneja of Ubeda, if he chanced to draw a cock, he wrote under it, "This is a cock," lest the people should take it for a fox.
  • Many count their chickens before they are hatched; and where they expect bacon, meet with broken bones.
  • I find my familiarity with thee has bred contempt.
  • Delay always breeds danger.
Fortune leaves always some door open to come at a remedy.
  • Too much sanity may be madness. And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be!
  • Fortune leaves always some door open to come at a remedy.
Take care, your worship, those things over there are not giants but windmills.
  • I never thrust my nose into other men's porridge. It is no bread and butter of mine; every man for himself, and God for us all.
  • Take care, your worship, those things over there are not giants but windmills.
  • A knight errant who turns mad for a reason deserves neither merit nor thanks. The thing is to do it without cause.
  • In me the need to talk is a primary impulse, and I can't help saying right off what comes to my tongue.
  • I can tell where my own shoe pinches me; and you must not think, sir, to catch old birds with chaff.
  • Let each man say what he chooses; if because of this I am criticized by the ignorant, I shall not be chastised by the learned.
  • "You are a villain and a scoundrel," said Don Quixote, "and you are the one who is vacant and foolish; I have more upstairs than the whore who bore you ever did."

La Gitanilla (The Little Gypsy)

  • Don't put too fine a point to your wit for fear it should get blunted.
  • My heart is wax molded as she pleases, but enduring as marble to retain.

Unsourced

The brave man carves out his fortune, and every man is the son of his own works.
  • Amistades que son ciertas nadie las puede turbar.
    • Nobody can disrupt true friendships.
  • Amor y deseo son dos cosas diferentes; que no todo lo que se ama se desea, ni todo lo que se desea se ama.
    • Love and desire are two different things; not everything that is loved is desired, and not everything that is desired is loved.
  • El que lee mucho y anda mucho, ve mucho y sabe mucho.
    • Who reads much and walks much sees much and knows much.
  • En los principios amorosos los desengaños prestos suelen ser remedios calificados.
    • In the loving principles the quick disappointments are usually described remedies.
  • Encomiéndate a Dios de todo corazón, que muchas veces suele llover sus misericordias en el tiempo que están más secas las esperanzas.
    • Commend yourself to God with all your heart; He often rains down His mercies when hope is at its driest.
  • La buena y verdadera amistad no debe ser sospechosa en nada.
    • True and good friendship must not be suspicious of anything.
  • Más vale la pena en el rostro que la mancha en el corazón.
    • Grief on the face is better than the stain in the heart.
  • Puede haber amor sin celos, pero no sin temores.
    • There may be love without jealousy, but there is none without fear.
  • The brave man carves out his fortune, and every man is the son of his own works.
    • Variant translation: Every man's the son of his own deeds.
  • He who loses wealth loses much, he who loses a friend loses more, but he that loses his honor loses all.
  • There is no greater folly in this world than for a man to despair.
  • A stout man's heart breaks bad luck.
  • Hunger, is the best sauce.

About Cervantes

  • It will probably never be possible to prove that Cervantes was a cristiano nuevo, but the circumstantial evidence seems compelling. The Instruccion written by Fernan Diaz de Toledo in the mid-fifteenth century lists the Cervantes family as among the many noble clans of Spain that were of converso origin.

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