Ask Cervantes

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Dear Cervantes,
I just have to say you are a hero of mine, having written about he who so bravely battled the mighty windmills. I am curious, what are your thoughts now on alternative energy sources, especially regarding wind power and windmills?

Thank you,

A concerned Avis

Dear A concerned Avis,

You’ll remember him
You can’t not
That wise man
Apolonio Tianeo
Who, for all you know,
With heaven’s favor
Or a learned science
With work and time
Learned to understand birds’
Song to such an extreme
That hearing them he said,
“That’s what they say.”
And it’s true
Canary sings
Goldfinch trills
Turtle dove groans
Crow caws,
From the rogue sparrow
To the royal eagle
From their songs he understood
Their hidden secrets“

Si de bien tendrás memoria,
porque no es posible menos,
de aquel sabio cuyo nombre
fue Apolonio Tianeo,
el cual, según que lo sabes,
o fuese favor del cielo,
o fuese ciencia adquirida
con el trabajo y el tiempo,
supo entender de las aves
el canto tan por estremo,
que en oyéndolas decía:
“Esto dicen”. Y esto es cierto.
Ora cantase el canario,
ora trinase el jilguero,
ora gimiese la tórtola,
ora graznasen los cuervos,
desde el pardal malicioso 890
hasta el águila de imperio,
de sus cantos entendía
los escondidos secretos

La gran sultana doña Catalina de Oviedo, from Las Comedias

“Sure, what am I am complaining about? Unlucky me! It’s the truth that when misfortunes are brought by the currents of the stars, coming from on high to down low, letting themselves go with fury and violence, there is no force on earth that can stop them, nor human industry that can prevent them.”

“Mas, ¿de qué me quejo?, ¡desventurado de mí!, pues es cosa cierta que cuando traen las desgracias la corriente de las estrellas, como vienen de alto a bajo, despeñándose con furor y con violencia, no hay fuerza en la tierra que las detenga, ni industria humana que prevenirlas pueda” El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de La Mancha

“You see that sun shines on us? Yeah, for a sign of what I can do, you want me to take away its rays and shadow us in clouds, well ask me, and I’ll make this clarity into the darkest night, or if you want to see the ground shake, the winds battled, the sea altered, the mountains found, the beasts to bellow, or other terrifying signs of the confusion of the first chaos, ask me it, and you will be satisfied and I accredited.”

“¿Ves este sol que nos alumbra? Pues si, para señal de lo que puedo, quieres que le quite los rayos y le asombre con nubes, pídemelo, que haré que a esta claridad suceda en un punto escura noche; o ya si quisieres ver temblar la tierra, pelear los vientos, alterarse el mar, encontrarse los montes, bramar las fieras, o otras espantosas señales que nos representen la confusión del caos primero, pídelo, que tú quedarás satisfecho y yo acreditada.” Los Trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda

“More in that short time, when he thought that the ship of his good fortune had caught a prosperous wind toward his desired port, a contrary one lifted in its sea a mighty storm, that a thousand times he dreaded would suck him into the depths.”

“Mas en aquel breve tiempo, donde él pensaba que la nave de su buena fortuna corría con próspero viento hacia el deseado puerto, la contraria suerte levantó en su mar tal tormenta, que mil veces temió anegarle.” “Novela de la española inglesa,” Novelas Ejemplares


*Translation above, original marked as quote below. Translations are all mine. I would love comments on errors/mistranslations or bettering them!


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