Louise LabeLouise Charlin Perrin Labe, (c. 1525 - April 25, 1566), French poet, called La Belle Cordière, was born at Lyons about 1525, the daughter of a rich ropemaker, named Charley or Charlin.
At the siege of Perpignan she is said to have fought on horseback in the ranks of the Dauphin, afterwards Henry II. Some time before 1551 she married Ennemond Perrin, a ropemaker. She formed a library and gathered round her a society which included many of the learned women of Lyons--Pernette du Guillet, Claudine and Sibylle Scève and Clémence de Bourges, and the poets Maurice Scève, Charles Fontaine, Pontus de Tyard; and among the occasional visitors were Clement Marot and his friend Melin de Saint-Gelais, with probably Bonaventure des Périers and Rabelais.
About 1550 the poet Olivier de Magny passed through Lyons on his way to Italy in the suite of Jean d'Avanson, the French envoy to the Holy See. As the friend of Ronsard, "Prince of Poets," he met with an enthusiastic reception from Louise, who straightway fell in love with him. There seems little doubt that her passion for Magny inspired her eager, sincere verse, and the elegies probably express her grief at his first absence. A second short visit to Lyons was followed by a second longer absence.
Magny's influence is shown more decisively in her Sonnets, which, printed in, 1555, quickly attained great popularity. During his second visit to Italy Magny had apparently consoled himself, and Louise, despairing of his return, encouraged another admirer, Claude Rubys, when her lover returned unexpectedly. Louise dismissed Rubys, but Magny's jealousy found vent in an ode addressed to the Sire Aymon (Ennemond), which ruined her reputation; while Rubys, angry at his dismissal, avenged himself later in his Histoire veritable de Lyons (1573). This scandal struck a fatal blow at Louise's position. Shortly afterwards her husband died, and she returned to her country house at Parcieu, where she died on the 25th of April 1566, leaving the greater part of the fortune she was left to the poor.
Her works include, besides the Elegies and Sonnets mentioned, a prose Débat de folie ci d’amour (translated into English by Robert Greene in 1608).
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.