Anne Finch, “Cupid and Folly”


“Cupid and Folly”
Imitated from the FRENCH

Cupid, ere depriv’d of Sight,
Young and apt for all Delight,
Met with Folly on the way,
As Idle, and as fond of Play.
In gay Sports the time they pass;                                                                   5
Now run, now wrestle on the Grass;
Their painted Wings then nimbly ply,
And ev’ry way for Mast’ry try:
‘Till a Contest do’s arise,
Who has won th’ appointed Prize.                                                                 10
Gentle Love refers the Case
To the next, that comes in Place;
Trusting to his flatt’ring Wiles,
And softens the Dispute with Smiles.
But Folly, who no Temper knows,                                                                  15
Words pursues with hotter Blows:
‘Till the Eyes of Love were lost,
Which has such Pain to Mortals cost.
Venus hears his mournful Crys,
And repeats ‘em, in the Skys,                                                                          20
To Jupiter in Council set,
With Peers for the Occasion met;
In her Arms the Boy she bears,
Bathing him in falling Tears;
And whilst his want of Eyes is shown,                                                            25
Secures the Judges by her Own.
Folly to the Board must come,
And hear the Tryal and the Doom;
Which Cytherea loudly prays
May be as heavy as the Case:                                                                          30
Which, when All was justly weigh’d,
Cupid’s Wings now useless made,
That a Staff, his Feet must guide,
Which wou’d still be apt to slide;
This Decree at last was read,                                                                            35
That Love by Folly shou’d be lead.


1 Cupid “Roman god of love” (Britannica), often rendered in iconography as blindfolded or blind.

3 Folly “Foolishness…unwise conduct” (OED).

19 Venus Roman goddess of love, mother of Cupid (Britannica).

21 Jupiter Roman god of the sky (Britannica).

29 Cytherea Another name for Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1714), pp. 135-136. [HathiTrust]

 Edited by Hannah Heiden