Author: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Dates: 29 September 1547 – 22 April 1616
Title of Book: The Generous Lover
These words were uttered by a captive Christian as he gazed from an eminence on the ruined walls of Nicosia; and thus he talked with them, comparing his miseries with theirs, as if they could understand him,–a common habit with the afflicted, who, carried away by their imaginations, say and do things inconsistent with all sense and reason. Meanwhile there issued from a pavilion or tent, of which there were four pitched in the plain, a young Turk, of good-humoured and graceful appearance, who approached the Christian, saying, “I will lay a wager, friend Ricardo, that the gloomy thoughts you are continually ruminating have led you to this place.”
“It is true,” replied Ricardo, for that was the captive’s name; “but what avails it, since, go where I will, I find no relief from them; on the contrary, the sight of yonder ruins have given them increased force.”
“You mean the ruins of Nicosia?”
“Of course I do, since there are no others visible here.”
“Such a sight as that might well move you to tears,” said the Turk; “for any one who saw this famous and plenteous isle of Cyprus about two years ago, when its inhabitants enjoyed all the felicity that is granted to mortals, and who now sees them exiled from it, or captive and wretched, how would it be possible not to mourn over its calamity? But let us talk no more of these thing’s, for which there is no remedy, and speak of your own, for which I would fain find one. Now I entreat you, by what you owe me for the good-will I have shown you, and for the fact that we are of the same country, and were brought up together in boyhood, that you tell me what is the cause of your inordinate sadness. For even, admitting that captivity alone is enough to sadden the most cheerful heart in the world, yet I imagine that your sorrows have a deeper source; for generous spirits like yours do not yield to ordinary misfortunes so much as to betray extraordinary grief on account of them. Besides, I know that you are not so poor as to be unable to pay the sum demanded for your ransom; nor are you shut up in the castles of the Black Sea as a captive of consideration, who late or never obtains the liberty he sighs for. Since, then, you are not deprived of the hope of freedom, and yet manifest such deep despondency, I cannot help thinking that it proceeds from some other cause than the loss of your liberty. I entreat you to tell me what is that cause, and I offer you my help to the utmost of my means and power. Who knows but that it was in order that I might serve you that fortune induced me to wear this dress which I abhor.
Brief Biography: Cervantes was a novelist, poet and playwright. His novel Don Quixote is considered to be the first modern European novel.