On Friendship and Xxix Sonnets/Montaigne's Address to Madame de Grammont, Countess of Guissen, dedicating La Boetie's Sonnets

On Friendship and Xxix Sonnets by Michel de Montaigne, translated by Louis How
Montaigne's Address to Madame de Grammont, Countess of Guissen, dedicating La Boetie's Sonnets


By Estienne de La Boetie


Madame De Grammont

Countess of Guissen

MADAME, I HERE OFFER you nothing of my own, either because it is already yours, or because I find nothing there worthy of you; but I could wish that these verses, wheresoever they might be seen, should bear your name in front, for the honour it will be to them to have as a guide the great Corisande d'Andoins. This gift seems to me fitting for you, because there are few ladies in France who have better judgement, and who make a more apt use of poetry; and besides, because there are none who can render it alive and lively as you do by those beautiful, rich harmonies, wherewith, in addition to a million beauties, nature has endowed you Madame, these verses merit your cherishing; for you will be of my opinion that there have come none out of Gascony having more ingenuity and charm, or testifying to have issued from a fuller hand. And do not grow jealous because you have but those remaining after what I erstwhile printed under the name of Monsieur de Foix, your good kinsman: for really these exhibit a something, I know not what, more lively and sparkling; for he made them in his youth and warmed by a fair and noble ardour, which I will tell you about, madame, one of these days, in your ear. The others were made later, when he was in pursuit of his marriage, in honour of his wife, and when he already felt I know not what marital coolness. And I am one of those who hold that poetry is never elsewhere so smiling as it is on a wanton and irregular theme.