"I do not dislike that modesty," said Don Quixote; "for there is no poet who is not conceited and does not think he is the best poet in the world."
Over conceits of this sort the poor gentleman lost his wits, and used to lie awake striving to understand them and worm the meaning out of them; what Aristotle himself could not have made out or extracted had he come to life again for that special purpose.
Interest retired, and Poetry came forward, and when she had gone through her figures like the others, fixing her eyes on the damsel of the castle, she said: With many a fanciful conceit, Fair Lady, winsome Poesy Her soul, an offering at thy feet, Presents in sonnets unto thee.
Though it is not they that are in fault, but the simpletons that extol them, and the fools that believe in them; and had I been the faithful duenna I should have been, his stale conceits would have never moved me, nor should I have been taken in by such phrases as ’in death I live,’
…sweet as syrup; and afterwards, I may say ever since then, looking at the misfortune into which I have fallen, I have thought that poets, as Plato advised, ought to be banished from all well-ordered States; at least the amatory ones, for they write verses, not like those of ’The Marquis of Mantua,’ that delight and draw tears from the women and children, but sharp-pointed conceits that pierce the heart like soft thorns, and like the lightning strike it, leaving the raiment uninjured.
…oaks will yield us their sweet fruit with bountiful hand, the trunks of the hard cork trees a seat, the willows shade, the roses perfume, the widespread meadows carpets tinted with a thousand dyes; the clear pure air will give us breath, the moon and stars lighten the darkness of the night for us, song shall be our delight, lamenting our joy, Apollo will supply us with verses, and love with conceits whereby we shall make ourselves famed for ever, not only in this but in ages to come.
But of all there were none he liked so well as those of the famous Feliciano de Silva’s composition, for their lucidity of style and complicated conceits were as pearls in his sight, particularly when in his reading he came upon courtships and cartels, where he often found passages like "the reason of the unreason with which my reason is afflicted so weakens my reason that with reason I murmur at your beauty;" or again, "the high heavens, that of your divinity divinely fortify you with…