Louise Labe

(1524 - 1566 / France)

Louise Labe
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Louise Labe was born in the early 1520s to a prosperous rope-maker, a member of the Lyon bourgeoisie. Her mother died when she was a child; her father had her educated in languages and music, and a brother may have taught her to ride and fence. She was married in her mid-teens to another rope-maker, some 30 years older than she. It was apparently after her marriage that she began to participate in the literary circles of Lyon.

In 1555 Euvres de Louize Labe Lionnoize was published in Lyon: it contained a prose dedicatory epistle to a local noblewoman, a prose Debat de Folie et d'Amour, 24 sonnets (the first in Italian), and three elegies; the work concluded with 24 poems by other ... more »

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Best Poem of Louise Labe

While Yet These Tears

While yet these tears have power to flow
For hours for ever past away;
While yet these swelling sighs allow
My faltering 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 remembered 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 shadows o'er my fate!

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