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Love And Folly

(Recueil 3, Livre 12, Fable 14)



Love bears a world of mystery

His arrows, quiver, torch, and infancy:

It's not a trifling work to sound

A sea of science so profound:

And, hence, explain it all today

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 has the matter tried.

Together on a certain day,

Said Love and Folly were at play:

The former yet enjoyed 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 sealed his orbs to all the light of heaven.

Now Venus claimed that vengeance should be given.

And by what force of tears yourselves may guess

The woman and the mother sought redress.

The gods were deafened 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 portrayed

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 repaired.

The case maturely weighed and cast,

The public weal with private squared:

Poor Folly was condemned at last,

By judgment of the court above,

To serve for aye as guide to Love.

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 12, Fable 14



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