Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Prince of Wits

Miguel de Cervantes

Now I’d like to touch on the man who gave us The Don and some comments made by Francois Klaus on opening night.

Miguel de Cervantes, who lived largely in the second half of the 16th century and died 68 in 1616, had a full life as a valet, soldier, grocer, tax collector, and, of course wit and writer.

But as Klaus said in his remarks for all Cervantes’ adventures – and they included being held hostage by Algerian Corsairs for five years and as a purveyor (that’s a grocer) to the Spanish Armada - it’s his storytelling which  immortalised him.

Don Quixote was considered the first great European novel and Cervantes was known in his lifetime as a man of letters and El Principe de Los Ingenios (The Princes of Wits).

Here are some examples of his quotes:

. A closed mouth catches no flies

. A proverb is a short sentence based on a long experience

. A private sin is not so prejudiced in the world, as a public indecency

. Fair and softly goes far

. Every man is the son of his own works

. Good actions ennoble us and we are the sons of our deeds

And lastly this extract from Don Quixote:

“Remember that there are two kinds of beauty: one of the soul and the other of the body.

 That of the soul displays its radiance in intelligence, in chastity, in good conduct, in generosity, and in good breeding, and all these qualities may exist in an ugly man.

And when we focus our attention upon that beauty, not upon the physical, love generally arises with great violence and intensity.

 I am well aware that I am not handsome, but I also know that I am not deformed, and it is enough for a man of worth not to be a monster for him to be dearly loved, provided he has those spiritual endowments I have spoken of.”

And so say all of us….

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