"Faith, you are right," said Sancho, "and no doubt he is some enamoured knight."
"There is no knight-errant that is not," said Don Quixote; "but let us listen to him, for, if he sings, by that thread we shall extract the ball of his thoughts; because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."
Sancho was about to reply to his master, but the Knight of the Grove's voice, which was neither very bad nor very good, stopped him, and listening attentively the pair heard him sing this
Your pleasure, prithee, lady mine, unfold;
Declare the terms that I am to obey;
My will to yours submissively I mould,
And from your law my feet shall never stray.
Would you I die, to silent grief a prey?
Then count me even now as dead and cold;
Would you I tell my woes in some new way?
Then shall my tale by Love itself be told.
The unison of opposites to prove,
Of the soft wax and diamond hard am I;
But still, obedient to the laws of love,
Here, hard or soft, I offer you my breast,
Whate'er you grave or stamp thereon shall rest
Indelible for all eternity.
With an "Ah me!" that seemed to be drawn from the inmost recesses of his heart, the Knight of the Grove brought his lay to an end, and shortly afterwards exclaimed in a melancholy and piteous voice, "O fairest and most ungrateful woman on earth! What! can it be, most serene Casildea de Vandalia, that thou wilt suffer this thy captive knight to waste away and perish in ceaseless wanderings and rude and arduous toils? It is not enough that I have compelled all the knights of Navarre, all the Leonese, all the Tartesians, all the Castilians, and finally all the knights of La Mancha, to confess thee the most beautiful in the world?"
"Not so," said Don Quixote at this, "for I am of La Mancha, and I have never confessed anything of the sort, nor could I nor should I confess a thing so much to the prejudice of my lady's beauty; thou seest how this knight is raving, Sancho. But let us listen, perhaps he will tell us more about himself."
"That he will," returned Sancho, "for he seems in a mood to bewail himself for a month at a stretch."
But this was not the case, for the Knight of the Grove, hearing voices near him, instead of continuing his lamentation, stood up and exclaimed in a distinct but courteous tone, "Who goes there? What are you? Do you belong to the number of the happy or of the miserable?"
"Of the miserable," answered Don Quixote.
"Then come to me," said he of the Grove, "and rest assured that it is to woe itself and affliction itself you come."
Don Quixote, finding himself answered in such a soft and courteous manner, went over to him, and so did Sancho.
The doleful knight took Don Quixote by the arm, saying, "Sit down here, sir knight; for, that you are one, and of those that profess knight-errantry, it is to me a sufficient proof to have found you in this place, where solitude and night, the natural couch and proper retreat of knights-errant, keep you company." To which Don made answer, "A knight I am of the profession you mention, and though sorrows, misfortunes, and calamities have made my heart their abode, the compassion I feel for the misfortunes of others has not been thereby banished from it. From what you have just now sung I gather that yours spring from love, I mean from the love you bear that fair ingrate you named in your lament."
In the meantime, they had seated themselves together on the hard ground peaceably and sociably, just as if, as soon as day broke, they were not going to break one another's heads.
"Are you, sir knight, in love perchance?" asked he of the Grove of Don Quixote.
"By mischance I am," replied Don Quixote; "though the ills arising from well-bestowed affections should be esteemed favours rather than misfortunes."
"That is true," returned he of the Grove, "if scorn did not unsettle our reason and understanding, for if it be excessive it looks like revenge."
"I was never scorned by my lady," said Don Quixote.
"Certainly not," said Sancho, who stood close by, "for my lady is as a lamb, and softer than a roll of butter."
"Is this your squire?" asked he of the Grove.
"He is," said Don Quixote.
"I never yet saw a squire," said he of the Grove, "who ventured to speak when his master was speaking; at least, there is mine, who is as big as his father, and it cannot be proved that he has ever opened his lips when I am speaking."
"By my faith then," said Sancho, "I have spoken, and am fit to speak, in the presence of one as much, or even — but never mind — it only makes it worse to stir it."
The squire of the Grove took Sancho by the arm, saying to him, "Let us two go where we can talk in squire style as much as we please, and leave these gentlemen our masters to fight it out over the story of their loves; and, depend upon it, daybreak will find them at it without having made an end of it."
"So be it by all means," said Sancho; "and I will tell your worship who I am, that you may see whether I am to be reckoned among the number of the most talkative squires."
With this the two squires withdrew to one side, and between them there passed a conversation as droll as that which passed between their masters was serious.