... although poetry is less useful than pleasurable, it is not one of those that dishonors the one who knows it. Poetry, Señor, in my opinion, is like an innocent young maiden who is extremely beautiful, and whom many other maidens, who are the other fields of knowledge, are careful to enrich, polish, and adorn, and she must be served by all of them, and all of them must encourage her, but this maiden does not wish to be pawed or dragged through the streets or proclaimed at the corners of the squares or in the corners of the palaces. Her alchemy is such that the person who knows how to treat her will turn her into purest gold of inestimable value; the man who has her must keep her within bounds and not allow her to turn to indecent satires or cruel sonnets; she should never be in the marketplace except in heroic poems, heartfelt tragedies, or joyful, witty comedies; she should not be allowed in the company of scoundrels or the ignorant mob incapable of knowing or appreciating the treasures that lie within her. And do not think, Señor, that when I say mob I mean only humble, plebeian people; for anyone who is ignorant, even a lord and prince, can and should be counted as one of the mob. And so the man who uses and treats poetry in the requisite ways that I that I have mentioned will be famous, and his name esteemed, in all the civilized nations of the world.
Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1615)