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The Sonnets of Louise Labé

Alice’s translations of the Louise Labé  sonnets.

Louise Labé (1524 – 1566) was born in Lyons France, and died there. Her father, Pierre Labé, was a prosperous ropemaker. Louise married an older man, Ennemond Perrin, also a ropemaker; hence, her famous nickname La Belle Cordière, the beautiful wife of a ropemaker.

Louise belonged to the Lyons group of poets. She wrote twenty-four sonnets, all on the single theme of passionate love, its anguish as well as its tenderness. Although there is no definite proof that she had one or more liaisons, her last sonnet, Do Not Blame Me, Ladies, is a half-playful answer to the charges leveled against her by Lyons society.

Sonnet I            What If the Hero
Sonnet II           Your Cold, Appraising Eyes
Sonnet III         My Long Desire
Sonnet IV          When Love Arrives
Sonnet V            Bright Venus
Sonnet VI          Twice Blessed
Sonnet VII        All Love Is Seen
Sonnet VIII       I Live I Die
Sonnet IX          However Soon
Sonnet X           When I Catch Sight
Sonnet XI         One Passing Glance
Sonnet XII       O Lute, True Friend
Sonnet XIII      If Only I Were Ravished
Sonnet XIV       As Long As Tears
Sonnet XV        Pay Homage
Sonnet XVI       A Bolt Of Lightning
Sonnet XVII     I Run Away
Sonnet XVIII   O Kiss Me
Sonnet XIX      The Beautiful Diana
Sonnet XX        I Always Knew
Sonnet XXI      That Solemn Grandeur
Sonnet XXII     O Shining Sun
Sonnet XXIII   Alas! You Used To Pour Out Lavish Praise
Sonnet XXIV    Do Not Blame Me, Ladies

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