Don Quixote "Without A Wink Of Sleep"
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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"Without A Wink Of Sleep"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Shutting one's eyes for a moment is a wink, and so the expression for no sleep became "without a wink of sleep." Pisanio tells Imogen in Shakespeare's Cymbeline (1610) (Act III, sc. iv, l. 103): "Since I received command to do this (kill her as a strumpet), I have not slept one wink." Chapter 33 of Part II of Don Quixote begins: "Sancho slept not a wink all that afternoon." Bucolic literature about the loves of shepherdesses for shepherds and for nobles masquerading as shepherds, was popular in Spain's Golden Age, so Cervantes had to include a sample. A goatherd explains to Don Quixote that "that fine shepherd and scholar Chrysostome," is one more victim of Marcella, the "devilish untoward daughter of rich William." Dressed in the garb of a shepherdess, she roams the countryside doing "more harm in the country than the plague would do."

. . . Here sighs one shepherd, there another whines; here is one singing doleful ditties, there another is wringing his hands and making woeful complaints. You shall have one lay him down at night at the foot of a rock, or some oak, and there lie weeping and wailing without a wink of sleep, and talking to himself till the sun finds him the next morning. . . .