"What art thou?" exclaimed Don Quixote on his potent steed. "Who art
thou? Speak! or, by the eternal vengeance of mine arm, thy whole
machinery shall perish at sound of this my trumpet!"
Astonished at so rude a salutation, the great Sphinx stopped short,
and bridling up herself, drew in her head, like a snail when it
touches something that it does not like: the bulls set up a horrid
bellowing, the crickets sounded an alarm, and Gog and Magog advanced
before the rest. One of these powerful brothers had in his hand a
great pole, to the extremity of which was fastened a cord of about two
feet in length, and to the end of the cord was fastened a ball of
iron, with spikes shooting from it like the rays of a star; with this
weapon he prepared to encounter, and advancing thus he spoke:--
"Audacious wight! that thus, in complete steel arrayed, doth dare to
venture cross my way, to stop the great Munchausen. Know then, proud
knight, that thou shalt instant perish 'neath my potent arm."
When Quixote, Mancha's knight, responded firm:--
"Gigantic monster! leader of witches, crickets, and chimeras dire!
know thou, that here before yon azure heaven the cause of truth, of
valour, and of faith right pure shall ordeal counter try it!"
Thus he spoke, and brandishing his mighty spear, would instant
prodigies sublime perform, had not some wight placed 'neath the tail
of dark Rosinante furze all thorny base; at which, quadrupedanting,
plunged the steed, and instant on the earth the knight roared /credo/
for his life.
At that same moment ten thousand frogs started from the morions of Gog
and Magog, and furiously assailed the knight on every side. In vain he
roared, and invoked fair Dulcinea del Toboso: for frogs' wild croaking
seemed more loud, more sonorous than all his invocations. And thus in
battle vile the knight was overcome, and spawn all swarmed upon his
"Detested miscreants!" roared the knight; "avaunt! Enchanters dire and
goblins could alone this arduous task perform; to rout the knight of
Mancha, foul defeat, and war, even such as ne'er was known before.
Then hear, O del Toboso! hear my vows, that thus in anguish of my soul
I urge, midst frogs, Gridalbin, Hecaton, Kai, Talon, and the Rove!
[for such the names and definitions of their qualities, their separate
powers.] For Merlin plumed their airy flight, and then in watery
moonbeam dyed his rod eccentric. At the touch ten thousand frogs,
strange metamorphosed, croaked even thus: And here they come, on high
behest, to vilify the knight that erst defended famed virginity, and
matrons all bewronged, and pilgrims hoar, and courteous guise of all!
But the age of chivalry is gone, and the glory of Europe is
extinguished for ever?"
He spake, and sudden good Lord Whittington, at head of all his raree-
show, came forth, armour antique of chivalry, and helmets old, and
troops, all streamers, flags and banners glittering gay, red, gold,
and purple; and in every hand a square of gingerbread, all gilded
nice, was brandished awful. At a word, ten thousand thousand Naples
biscuits, crackers, buns, and flannel-cakes, and hats of gingerbread
encountered in mid air in glorious exaltation, like some huge storm of
mill-stones, or when it rains whole clouds of dogs and cats.
The frogs, astonished, thunderstruck, forgot their notes and music,
that before had seemed so terrible, and drowned the cries of knight
renown, and mute in wonder heard the words of Whittington, pronouncing
solemn:--"Goblins, chimeras dire, or frogs, or whatsoe'er enchantment
thus presents in antique shape, attend and hear the words of peace;
and thou, good herald, read aloud the Riot Act!"
He ceased, and dismal was the tone that softly breathed from all the
frogs in chorus, who quick had petrified with fright, unless redoubted
Gog and Magog, both with poles, high topped with airy bladders by a
string dependent, had not stormed against his lordship. Ever and anon
the bladders, loud resounding on his chaps, proclaimed their fury
against all potent law, coercive mayoralty; when he, submissive, thus
in cunning guile addressed the knights assailant:--"Gog, Magog,
renowned and famous! what, my sons, shall you assail your father,
friend, and chief confessed? Shall you, thus armed with bladders vile,
attack my title, eminence, and pomp sublime? Subside, vile discord,
and again return to your true 'legiance. Think, my friends, how oft
your gorgeous pouch I've crammed, all calapash, green fat, and
calapee. Remember how you've feasted, stood inert for ages, until size
immense you've gained. And think, how different is the service of
Munchausen, where you o'er seas, cold, briny, float along the tide,
eternal toiling like to slaves of Algiers and Tripoli. And ev'n on
high, balloon like, through the heavens have journeyed late, upon a
rainbow or some awful bridge stretched eminent, as if on earth he had
not work sufficient to distress your potent servitudes, but he should
also seek in heaven dire cause of labour! Recollect, my friends, even
why or wherefore should you thus assail your lawful magistrate, or why
desert his livery? or for what or wherefore serve this German Lord
Munchausen, who for all your labour shall alone bestow some fudge and
heroic blows in war? Then cease, and thus in amity return to
friendship aldermanic, bungy, brown, and sober."
Ceased he then, right worshipful, when both the warring champions
instant stemmed their battle, and in sign of peace and unity
returning, 'neath their feet reclined their weapons. Sudden at a
signal either stamped his foot sinistrine, and the loud report of
bursten bladder stunned each ear surrounding, like the roar of thunder
from on high convulsing heaven and earth.
'Twas now upon the saddle once again the knight of Mancha rose, and in
his hand far balancing his lance, full tilt against the troops of
bulls opposing run. And thou, shrill Crillitrilkril, than whom no
cricket e'er on hob of rural cottage, or chimney black, more gladsome
turned his merry note, e'en thou didst perish, shrieking gave the
ghost in empty air, the sport of every wind; for e'en that heart so
jocund and so gay was pierced, harsh spitted by the lance of Mancha,
while undaunted thou didst sit between the horns that crowned
Mowmowsky. And now Whittington advanced, 'midst armour antique and the
powers Magog and Gog, and with his rod enchanting touched the head of
every frog, long mute and thunderstruck, at which, in universal chorus
and salute, they sung blithe jocund, and amain advanced rebellious
'gainst my troop.
While Sphinx, though great, gigantic, seemed instinctive base and
cowardly, and at the sight of storming gingerbread, and powers, Magog
and Gog, and Quixote, all against her, started fierce, o'erturning
boat, balloons, and all; loud roared the bulls, hideous, and the crash
of wheels, and chaos of confusion drear, resounded far from earth to
heaven. And still more fierce in charge the great Lord Whittington,
from poke of ermine his famed Grimalkin took. She screamed, and harsh
attacked my bulls confounded; lightning-like she darted, and from half
the troop their eyes devouring tore. Nor could the riders, crickets
throned sublime, escape from rage, from fury less averse than cannons
murder o'er the stormy sea. The great Mowmowsky roared amain and
plunged in anguish, shunning every dart of fire-eyed fierce Grimalkin.
Dire the rage of warfare and contending crickets, Quixote and great
Magog; when Whittington advancing--"Good, my friends and warriors,
headlong on the foe bear down impetuous." He spoke, and waving high
the mighty rod, tipped wonderful each bull, at which more fierce the
creatures bellowed, while enchantment drear devoured their vitals. And
all had gone to wreck in more than mortal strife, unless, like Neptune
orient from the stormy deep, I rose, e'en towering o'er the ruins of
my fighting troops. Serene and calm I stood, and gazed around
undaunted; nor did aught oppose against my foes impetuous. But sudden
from chariot purses plentiful of fudge poured forth, and scattered it
amain o'er all the crowd contending. As when old Catherine or the
careful Joan doth scatter to the chickens bits of bread and crumbs
fragmented, while rejoiced they gobble fast the proffered scraps in
general plenty and fraternal peace, and "hush," she cries, "hush!