The last glimpse of the life of Cervantes I have space for, is from his own inimitable pen, and is taken from the preface to the "Labors of Persiles and Sigismunda," which was published by the author's widow.

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.

I was forgetting to tell thee that thou mayest expect the "Persiles," which I am now finishing, and also the Second Part of "Galatea." Cide Hamete Benengeli, in the Second Part of this history, and third sally of Don Quixote, says that the curate and the barber remained nearly a month without seeing him, lest they should recall or bring back to his recollection what had taken place.

I was forgetting to tell thee that thou mayest expect the "Persiles," which I am now finishing, and also the Second Part of "Galatea." Cide Hamete Benengeli, in the Second Part of this history, and third sally of Don Quixote, says that the curate and the barber remained nearly a month without seeing him, lest they should recall or bring back to his recollection what had taken place.

Not only does he despise the novel of complicated plot, and everywhere prefer 'Don Quixote' to 'Persiles and Sigismunda, but he has a lively contempt for another class of novels much in favor with the gentilities of all countries. He calls their writers "novelists of the world," and he says that more than any others they have the rage of effectism.

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.

He knew he was nearing his end, but worked desperately to retrieve the lost years of his youth, and leave the world some testimony of his powers. He was able to finish and publish the Second Part of Quixote, and to give the last touches of the file to his favorite work, the long pondered and cherished Persiles.

The only thing which, at the moment, suggests itself for comparison with the Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon is the letter and dedication which Fielding's predecessor, Cervantes, prefixes to his last romance of Persiles and Sigismunda. In each case the words are animated by the same uncomplaining kindliness the same gallant and indomitable spirit; in each case the writer is a dying man.

Very well; the same Cervantes, mischievously influenced afterwards by the ideas of the vulgar, who were then what they are now and always will be, attempted to please them by a work giving a lively proof of his inventive talent, and wrote the 'Persiles and Sigismunda, where the strange incidents, the vivid complications, the surprises, the pathetic scenes, succeed one another so rapidly and constantly that it really fatigues you . . . . But in spite of this flood of invention, imagine," says Seflor Valdes, "the place that Cervantes would now occupy in the heaven of art, if he had never written 'Don Quixote," but only 'Persiles and Sigismund!

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 SAAVEDRA