Dial Essays (1843)
The Spanish Student
The Spanish Student. A Play in Three Acts. By H. W. Longfellow.
A pleasing tale, but Cervantes shall speak for us out of La Gitanilla.
"You must know, Preciosa, that as to this name of Poet, few are they who deserve it, — and I am no Poet, but only a lover of Poesy, so that I have no need to beg or borrow the verses of others. The verses, I gave you the other day, are mine, and those of to-day as well; — but, for all that, I am no poet, neither is it my prayer to be so."
"Is it then so bad a thing to be a poet?" asked Preciosa.
"Not bad," replied the Page, "but to be a poet and nought else, I do not hold to be very good. For poetry should be like a precious jewel, whose owner does not put it on every day, nor show it to the world at every step; but only when it is fitting, and when there is a reason for showing it. Poetry is a most lovely damsel; chaste, modest, and discreet; spirited, but yet retiring, and ever holding itself within the strictest rule of honor. She is the friend of Solitude. She finds in the fountains her delight, in the fields her counsellor, in the trees and flowers enjoyment and repose; and lastly, she charms and instructs all that approach her."