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Love And Folly
by [?]

Love and Folly[1]

Love bears a world of mystery–
His arrows, quiver, torch, and infancy:
‘Tis not a trifling work to sound
A sea of science so profound:
And, hence, t’ explain it all to-day
Is not my aim; but, in my simple way,
To show how that blind archer lad
(And he a god!) came by the loss of sight,
And eke what consequence the evil had,
Or good, perhaps, if named aright–
A point I leave the lover to decide,
As fittest judge, who hath the matter tried.
Together on a certain day,
Said Love and Folly were at play:
The former yet enjoy’d his eyes.
Dispute arose. Love thought it wise
Before the council of the gods to go,
Where both of them by birth held stations;
But Folly, in her lack of patience,
Dealt on his forehead such a blow
As seal’d his orbs to all the light of heaven.
Now Venus claim’d that vengeance should be given.
And by what force of tears yourselves may guess
The woman and the mother sought redress.
The gods were deafen’d with her cries–
Jove, Nemesis, the stern assize
Of Orcus,–all the gods, in short,
From whom she might the boon extort.
The enormous wrong she well portray’d–
Her son a wretched groper made,
An ugly staff his steps to aid!
For such a crime, it would appear,
No punishment could be severe:
The damage, too, must be repair’d.
The case maturely weigh’d and cast,
The public weal with private squared:
Poor Folly was condemn’d at last,
By judgment of the court above,
To serve for aye as guide to Love.

[1] It is thought that La Fontaine owed somewhat of his idea of this fable to one of the poems of Louise Labbe, “the beautiful ropemaker,” as she was called, who lived between 1526 and 1566.