Don Quixote "A Word To The Wise Is Enough"
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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"A Word To The Wise Is Enough"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: To the Romans this phrase in Latin, Verbum sat sapienti, was so common that they abbreviated it, verbum sap. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) declared in the Preface to Poor Richard Improved (1758): "A word to the wise is enough, and many words won't fill a bushel." Today we say "sufficient" for "enough." Having read the first volume of Don Quixote's adventures, the Duke and Duchess invite him and his squire to visit them, intending to provide adventures for the sequel. However, the announcement of the approach of Countess Trifaldi ("Three Skirts"), called the Disconsolate Matron, with a request for help from the Knight, poses a problem in protocol. How far should courtesy go toward a mere countess? When Sancho offers a suggestion, his master wants to know who bade him speak. The squire explains:

. . .
. . . Who bid me? . . . Why, I myself did. Han't I been squire to your worship, and thus served a 'prenticeship to good manners? And han't I had the Flower of Courtesy for my master, who has often told me, a man may as well lose at one-and-thirty with a card too much, as a card too little? Good wits jump; a word to the wise is enough.