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The Romantics prized the Spanish writer, Cervantes, for his celebration of the wisdom of folly in his romance Don Quixote of La Mancha 1605-15. The Don has absurd adventures imitating the deeds of heroes he has read about. He is assisted by his squire, Sancho Panza, who also provides a wry commentary on them.Here Sancho confides his private view of his master to a Duchess: ‘I cannot beat it out of my noddle, but that he is as mad as a march hare.’ This is a second version of a subject Leslie exhibited, to great acclaim, in 1824.

May 2007