His hearer inquiring further what he meant by that, Rodaja said that among the innumerable poets, by courtesy so called, the number of good ones was so small as scarcely to count at all, and that as the bad were not true poets, he could not admire them: but that he admired and even reverenced greatly the art of poetry, which does in fact comprise every other in itself, since it avails itself of all things, and purifies and beautifies all things, bringing its own marvellous productions to light for the advantage, the delectation, and the wonder of the world, which it fills with its benefits.
Among the rest our Thomas was informed that the Señora said she had been in Italy and Flanders when he, to ascertain if he were acquainted with the dame, likewise paid her a visit. She, on her part, immediately fell in love with Rodaja, but he rejected her advances, and never approached her house but when led thither by others, and almost by force.
They took Rodaja with them, and he remained in their company for some time; but, assailed by a perpetual longing to return to his studies at Salamanca, a city that enchains the will of all who have tasted the amenities of life in that fair seat of learning he entreated permission of his masters to depart for that purpose.
"I would have thee beware, boy," replied Rodaja; "the stripes given by a father are no dishonour to the son, and may save him from those of the hangman, which are indeed a disgrace."
While speaking thus, Rodaja stood at an apothecary's door, and turning to the master of the shop, he said, "Your worship's occupation would be a most salutary one if it were not so great an enemy to your lamps." "Wherein is my trade an enemy to my lamps?" asked the apothecary.
But Rodaja replied, that the hornet in question must needs be a slanderer, seeing that slanderers were of a race whose tongues were capable of penetrating bodies of bronze, to say nothing of glass.
"In this way," replied Rodaja; "whenever other oils fail you, immediately you take that of the lamp, as being the one which most readily comes to hand. But there is, indeed, another fault in your trade, and one that would suffice to ruin the most accredited physician in the world."
To such men as dyed their beards, Rodaja always exhibited a particular enmity; and one day observing a Portuguese, whose beard he knew to be dyed, in dispute with a Spaniard, to whom he said, "I swear by the beard that I wear on my face," Rodaja called out to him, "Halt there, friend; you should not say that you wear on your face, but that you dye on your face."
These and other considerations had their weight, and the opportunity being so much to his taste, Rodaja finally told the captain that he would go with him into Italy; but it must be on condition of being left at perfect liberty. He would not consent to enlist under his banner, nor to have his name enrolled in the books of the regiment, that he might not be subjected to the restraints of service.
Offended by this, Rodaja exclaimed, "Let none forget the words of Holy Scripture, 'Nolite tangere Christos meos; and, becoming still more heated, he bade those around him reflect a little, when they would see, that of the many saints canonised, and placed among the number of the blessed by the Church within a few years in those parts, none had been called the Captain Don Such a one, or the Lawyer Don So and So, or the Count Marquis, or Duke of Such a Place; but all were brother Diego, brother Jacinto, or brother Raimundo: all monks and friars, proceeding, that is to say, from the monastic orders."