"Don Quixote De La Mancha", the amusing crazily crusading hero, a caricatured figure of mingled fun and pathos, was the gallivanting knight out of time with his generation, who was so demented he thought he was still living in the days of ancient chivalry, so that he rode around gallantly on his old nag in a patchwork suit of armour with a pot for a helmet, faithfully followed on a funny little donkey by his fat and fuming "squire", Sancho Panza, gravely concerned for his odd master's safety during such ridiculous exploits as challenging windmills to battle whom he thought to be giants and rescuing fair ladies whom he supposed to be in distress, residing in an old inn he imagined to be a castle!
He was really very noble, good-hearted and well-meaning, though somewhat misguided by his dementia and delusions of grandeur. However, in a way, he was a sort of fictional characterisation of his author's, Cervantes', own colourful life, a young Spanish idealist who went from job to job and battle to battle and bad to worse in his financial, military and marital difficulties. With a household of women to support, including his sisters, nieces, wife, mistress and daughter, he was frequently imprisoned for his debts, and wrote "Don Quixote" while in jail, about 1603 when he was 53 years of age, received nearly nothing for it, and died in poverty and near disgrace!
Nevertheless, Cervantes must have been somewhat of a tarnished saint, since, while in five years of slavery in Algeria, the Hassan of Algiers claimed he led a charmed life and his ships and cities were safe as long as Cervantes was with him! For an illegal duel of honour, he also spent years in exile in Rome as secretary to one of the Pope's Cardinals, and was considered a devout and faithful Catholic, though so often at odds with the System of his day!--How much like his own Don Quixote!
The book itself is now considered the first and greatest of modern novels, and has been translated into more languages than any other book in the world outside the Bible! In fact, the first English translation was published in 1612, only one year later than the world-famed King James Bible of 1611! Set in Cervantes' native land of Spain long after the Crusades were over, "Don Quixote" revives the crusading spirit, searching for meaning and purpose to life, the nature and reality of truth, the relativity of judgement and values and innersprings of character with a constant delving beneath the surface of appearances and experience for a deeper significance and an all-pervading sense of the frailties of humanity.
Don Quixote has even inspired movies, such as "The Man of La Mancha" and "The Adventures of Don Quixote". While viewing the end of the latter on TV, we were suddenly struck by his resemblance to ourselves and the reaction of his followers to his return to sanity on his deathbed. A poor young girl like one of you asks him sadly, "But how can you have been mad when you were so beautiful; so good and so poetic?"--To which he wanly replies, "I suppose wise madness is better than foolish sanity!"--TO which we suddenly received the witness of the Spirit with the first of the following verses, the remainder of which were inspired during the night.
We had also just seen the awful "Death of Adolph Hitler", and could not help but see the tremendous contrast between the lives of these two madmen--one good and one bad, one loved and one hated. Yet the bad man was long considered sane by the world, and the good man has always been thought crazy! You see, it all depends on who is calling who mad! Look at Nitler (David's nickname for Richard Nixon) and his horrible atrocities in Vietnam, his attempted insane annihilation of a whole nation!--And yet, judging by his landslide re-election, the average insane American apparently considers him sane! But odd men trying to do good, like Quixote, Pied Piper, Rasputin, Moses, Simple Simon, Russia's "Idiot", Jesus, Paul and we, are so honest and loving we're insane!
He lived in a world of fantasy
Where all were mad but he.
He lived in a world of madness
Where he alone was free!
He lived in a world of madness
Where only he was sane
He brought them joy and gladness
They only brought him pain!
He lived in a world of madness
Where only he was wise.
They lived in a world of sadness
'Twas folly in disguise!
Where happiness is madness
'Tis wisdom in disguise--
Where sanity is sadness
'Tis folly to be wise!
Oh give me a world of madness
If madness is to be glad!
I'd rather be happy in madness
Than only be sane and sad.
If foolishness is gladness
'Tis folly to be wise!
If sanity is sadness
It makes my brain capsize!
Oh give me pain with gladness
If wisdom is in vain.
'Tis better far than sadness
And sanity again!
If singing songs brings gladness
Like singing in the rain,
And wisdom only brings sadness
I'd rather be mad than sane!
They tell me our goodness is badness
Our singing of songs is in vain.
But I tell them their wisdom is madness
I'd far rather sing than complain!
They tell me our goodness is madness:
We should seek after worldly gain!
But I tell them their saneness is sadness
And it brings to so many such pain!
Oh give me my world of madness!
Give me my songs in the rain!
They can have their saneness and
sadness! I would rather be glad though insane!
It's their whole world that's in madness!
'Tis their whole world that's insane!
I'd rather have joy in my gladness,
Than their sanity, sorrow and pain.
It was their world that was madness!
They were the ones so insane!
For his hope, love, joy and gladness
Was better than sorrow and pain.
So therefore if madness be gladness,
And sanity, sorrow and pain,
Oh then,let my gladness be madness
And let me be mad once again!
How crazy are the words of David!--
They'll say he has gone insane!
But I'd rather be mad and be saved
Than lost in their darkness and sane!
So give me his joy and his gladness!
I'd rather have joy than be sane!
I say it is they that have madness
Who'd rather have sorrow and pain.
They live in a world full of madness
It was he that was really sane!
For our Don Quixote had gladness
In spite of their sorrow and pain.
This world full of violence and madness
So violent and mad and insane!
Would you rather my joy, or their sadness?
Would you rather my bliss, or their pain?
So let me dream on if I'm dreaming!
Oh let me drift on in my dreams!
I'd rather be dreaming than screaming!
I'd rather have dreams than their screams!
So come let us dance in our gladness!
Oh come let us dance in the rain!
I'd rather be mad than have sadness,
i'd rather be glad though insane!
I'd rather be old Don Quixote
Than the pompous wise sane King of Spain!
For though he's a little bit dotey
Quixote was happy, 'tis plain!
For he lived in his mind on a rancho
A great knight was he in his brain!
He had his old faithful dear Sancho
And thus he was freed from the strain.
So give me. his world full of madness!
And give me his world so insane!
I'd rather have madness than sadness,
I'd rather be glad than be sane!
They say there's no end to this madness!
I say there's no end to their pain!
I'd rather have joy in my gladness
Than all of their sorrow though sane.
You say you have no time for madness?
You have to go quick catch a train?
I'd rather be free and have gladness
While you slave again and again!
So give me this Man of La Mancha!
And sing me his happy refrain!
Oh can you all see it, or can'tcha?
That he was the one who was sane!
Oh I am so weary with study!
Of the reading of books there's no end!
Can't you see their minds are all muddy?
It's they who have gone round the bend!
They like to be rich and be churchy
And wage their cruel wars without end!
Don't let their pollution besmirch me!
I'd far rather heal and to mend.
They call me Pied Piper of Hamelin:
"He's old Don Quixote again!"
They say that on Heaven I'm gamblin'
While they wreak their Hell amongst men!
I may be Abominable Snowman
A giant wild happy and free
Who cares and so what?--Come let's go, Man!
With me you've no idea what you'll see!
So let's sing a song for Quixote!
Let's sing a song for the free!
Let's sing a song though we're dotey
For we're bound for Eternity!
So let's sing a song for Pied Piper
And a song for his Children so free!
For I'd rather be mad than a sniper
Who only brings sad misery.
Let's sing for the Mad Monk Rasputin
Who loved, drank, healed and swayed kings!
For while they were madly disputin',
He made off with all of their things!
So here's to dear Alice's Mad Hatter!
And the Walrus's cabbage and kings!
So what if it's mad, does it matter
If to children it happiness brings?
So here's to the "Light in the Plaza"!
So here's to the madness that sings!
Would you rather have shooting in Gaza
Than a girl who is happy with rings?
So give us the mad Don Quixotes!
Pied Pipers that make us to sing!
And let us be madness devotees
With the joy our insanity brings!
So I'd rather be happy in Jesus
Than sane as the Devil and bad.
If it's madness of spirit that frees us,
I'd rather be mad and be glad!
For we live in a world full of madness
Where all are insane but we!
I'll take my world full of gladness
Though you call it fantasy.
Your world may be sane but temporal--
While mine is unseen but more real!
You call me insane and immoral
In this madness of gladness I feel.
But I say it is you who are crazy
And it's I who have reality!
It is you who are mad and amaze me,
For mine's for Eternity!
For only in realms of the spirit
Can you enjoy Heavenly scenes
That Heavenly sound, can you hear it?
Do you know what such ecstasy means?
No! You're mad, and you don't even know it!
It's you who are living in dreams!
It's I who am glad, and I show it!
I dance on in spite of your screams.
It's you who are living in madness!
It's you who are really insane!
It's we who have Jesus and gladness,
And we'll have it again and again!
So here's to our dear Don Quixote,
Pied Piper, Rasputin and MO!
I'd rather be their blest devotee
Than have your insane world of woe!
So give me my wild happy Children
Their singing and dancing so free!
You can have your madness that kills men
Bringing Hell and insanity!
I'd rather have dear Simple Simon
Who tasted the Pieman's wares
Or the "Idiot" who dared to defy men
With the love, truth and mercy he bears!
Give me Alices and Don Quixotes
Pied Pipers, Rasputins and MOs!
I'd rather have all of these doties
Than all of your world full of woes!
Give me trips in the spirit that thrill me
And a mind that with visions God blows!
Your world of killing just chills me!
l like living where anything goes!
So here's to our dear Don Quixote
And all of our Heavenly tours!
I'd rather have rice in my roti
Than bats in my belfry like yours!
So that makes just 49 verses,
And seven times seven must blend:
Or else you will load me with curses--
And wish that my madness would end!
P.S. So wee words of wisdom
Have come from my pen
Though you think my madness
Be full to the brim!
For the foolishness of God
Is wiser than men
And this world's wisdom
Is foolishness to Him!
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family International
James and Tess Arendt
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