#12 – ‘The Knight with the Sorrowful Face’

The Knight with the Sorrowful Face

A forest near Seville.


    How slight a bauble is the intellect,
    to crack so easily. But soft, he comes,
    his antic mood still on him.

Enter QUIXOTE, mad, wearing a barber’s basin


                                  Rocks and stones
    and trees and grass and streams, oh hear the tale
    of piteous Don Quixote, scorned in love!


    I will approach him now. Art thou then he?
    Art thou the great and noble Don Quixote?

Cardenio, Act 4, Scene 2

The old man was a nutter,
sure enough, with his talk of Roland and Amadís.
But he was a good man with it.
Before he lost his marbles
he often helped us,
when mildew spoiled the grapes
on the vines, or the rains failed
and the wheat-fields dried to dust.
That was why I joined him, not for fevered promises
of islands and earldoms, but because
he needed me. When, in the night,
he shook and cried out in his sleep,
I was the one to calm him,
use a wet rag to cool his face.
But that dick Cervantes
made me into a credulous oaf,
and now this windbag Shakespeare
has cut me from the story altogether.
It tears my heart to see Señor Quijote
made into a comic turn
for the drunken stinking London crowd.
A pox on writers.