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coquetry, and speak of her beauty and her
constancy. The greatest pleasure of love
which is not love itself, is to speak of it.

"No sooner do men begin to love than they
become poets."

Apollo having finished his pleading, the
turn of Mercury comes, who is the advocate
for Folly, and the case he makes out is, it
must be confessed, good. There are many
traits of covert satire in this defence which
show humour and quick apprehension.

"I should never end," says the advocate,
"if I were to relate how much honour and
reputation are given every day to the Lady
Folly, of whom I have just heard so much ill
spoken. A few words are enough. Give me
a man extremely wise and give me a fooland
tell me which will be the most esteemed?
My wise friend will wait till he is called upon
and will remain neglected, alone with his
wisdom, without being intrusted to govern
towns, or to afford his advice in council: he
is content to listen, to weigh, to consider,
whereas promptitude and diligence are what
is requiredhe may as well stay at home,
for he will have plenty of time allowed to
plant his cabbages. The fool, on the contrary,
will hurry hither and thither, strike out right
and left, and if he meet with some hair-brain
like himself, who can push him, he will soon
be looked upon as a great man. The fool will
thrust himself in amongst ten thousand
musket shots, and fifty to one but he escapes; he
will be esteemed, praised, prized, followed by
every one. He will get up some mad scheme
in which, if he succeed, he will be lauded to
the skies.

"Depend upon it, that for one wise man
who is talked of in the world, there will be
ten thousand fools who will be the idol of the

Mercury having thus far proceeded with
applause, continues:

"Who would have ever crossed the seas
without having taken Folly for a guide? To
commit themselves to the mercy of the wind
and waves, rocks and quicksands, to tempt
unknown ways, traffic with barbarous and
savage menwhat but Folly would induce
them? What but Folly first taught men to
seek in the bowels of the earth for iron and
gold? How many occupations and trades
would be utterly banished from the world if
Folly were discarded? The greatest part of
its inhabitants would starve. What would
become, for instance, of judges, lawyers,
minstrels, actors, perfumers, embroiderers,
and a thousand others?

"The pleasures of Love are secret and
reserved, those of Folly are open to all the
world. Folly alone can amuse a whole
company. Let a man, covered with flour and with
a false hump on his back, enter a room and
look round with a foolish countenance, will
not the whole society be in a roar of laughter
instantly. Name any well-known fool, and
you will find that no one can contain himself
for mirth at the bare mention of him. We
may admire wise things, but they fatigue if
long dwelt upon: folly is always new and
welcome and enlivening, and invigorates the
heart. Wise men themselves seek the
company of fools in order to forget their cares
and drive away melancholy. If a great assembly
is toward, the foolish are always invited
in the hope of their making sport for others,
and though a wise founder of a feast may
pretend that he only invites these guests to
amuse the women and the young, you will
always see that he chooses those very persons
for his companions rather than wise folks
like himself."

The dispute between Love and Folly is at
last ended by the judgment of the gods, who
pronounce that neither can subsist without
the other, and that the best way to conclude
the strife is, that henceforth Folly shall be
the guide of Lovewho has no eyes to direct
himand she shall lead him wherever she
pleases, until the restoration of his sight.

Thus ends this ingenious dialogue, which
is in the style of the contentions of the
Troubadours at the Courts of Love, and resembles
not a little those so often introduced into
their verses by the Eastern poets: such as the
contention of Day and Night, by a famous
Persian poet.

La Fontaine, who neglected no author of
talent who had gone before him, has not
failed to lay Louise Labé" under contribution to
furnish an idea of one of his celebrated fables.
This dialogue is evidently the foundation of
his L' Amour et La Folie.

In the Elegies and Sonnets of Louise there
is much of feeling and passion, and probably
her power of expressing real or feigned
emotions not a little encouraged the reports,
of her too great sensibility.

Her poems are perhaps better known than
her prose, although each has great merit.
Her numerous sonnets, some of which are in
Italianfor she was an excellent linguist
are not yet forgotten by the lover of a literature
obscured by time. The following
translation may give an idea of her fervid and
feeling style, which is not disfigured by the
conceits fashionable at her time.


"Tant quo mes yeux pourront larmes espandre"

While yet these tears have power to flow
  O'er hours for ever pass'd away;
While yet these swelling sighs allow
  My falt'ring voice to breathe a lay;
While yet my hand can touch the chords,
  My tender lute, to wake thy tone;
While yet my mind no thought affords
  But one remember'd dream alone
I ask not death, whate'er my state:
  But, when my eyes can weep no more,
    My voice is lost, my hand untrue,
  And when my spirit's fire is o'er,
    Nor can express the love it knew:
Come, Death, and cast thy shadow o'er my fate!