Don Quixote "A Blot On Thy Escutcheon"
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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"A Blot On Thy Escutcheon"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: A knight's escutcheon, or shield, bore his coat of arms, the sign of his honor, and was supposed to be maintained unblemished, with no blot to indicate dishonor. Sancho, as a mere squire, could bear no shield of his own or display a coat of arms. When Merlin, on one of the carts in the procession arranged by the Duke and the Duchess, brings directions how Dulcinea may be released from her enchantment, he says that Sancho must receive 3,300 lashes "on his bare, brawny buttocks." Sancho refuses indignantly. It is his master, not he, involved with Dulcinea. A nymph then comes to persuade him through shame:

. . . such a hesitation at three thousand three hundred stripes, which every puny school-boy makes nothing of receiving every month, 'tis amazing, nay astonishing to the tender and commiserating bowels of all that hear thee, and will be a blot on thy escutcheon to all futurity.