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Don Quixote Dedication of Part II
These days past, when sending Your Excellency my plays, that had
appeared in print before being shown on the stage, I said, if I
remember well, that Don Quixote was putting on his spurs to go
and render homage to Your Excellency. Now I say that “with his
spurs, he is on his way.” Should he reach destination methinks I
shall have rendered some service to Your Excellency, as from many
parts I am urged to send him off, so as to dispel the loathing and
disgust caused by another Don Quixote who, under the name of
Second Part, has run masquerading through the whole world. And
he who has shown the greatest longing for him has been the great
Emperor of China, who wrote me a letter in Chinese a month ago
and sent it by a special courier. He asked me, or to be truthful, he
begged me to send him Don Quixote, for he intended to found a
college where the Spanish tongue would be taught, and it was his
wish that the book to be read should be the History of Don Quixote.
He also added that I should go and be the rector of this college. I
asked the bearer if His Majesty had afforded a sum in aid of my
travel expenses. He answered, “No, not even in thought.”
“Then, brother,” I replied, “you can return to your China, post
haste or at whatever haste you are bound to go, as I am not fit for so
long a travel and, besides being ill, I am very much without money,
while Emperor for Emperor and Monarch for Monarch, I have at
Naples the great Count of Lemos, who, without so many petty titles
of colleges and rectorships, sustains me, protects me and does me
more favour than I can wish for.”
Thus I gave him his leave and I beg mine from you, offering Your
Excellency the “Trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda,” a book I shall
finish within four months, Deo volente, and which will be either
the worst or the best that has been composed in our language, I
mean of those intended for entertainment; at which I repent of
having called it the worst, for, in the opinion of friends, it is bound
to attain the summit of possible quality. May Your Excellency return
in such health that is wished you; Persiles will be ready to kiss
your hand and I your feet, being as I am, Your Excellency’s most
humble servant.

From Madrid, this last day of October of the year one thousand
six hundred and fifteen.

At the service of Your Excellency:
Miguel de Cervantes Saaverdra

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