Thursday, June 11, 2009

Le Jeudi de Josephine: A Lady's Sonnet




This Jeudi, I’m posting a beautiful sonnet for the Empress Josephine. I found it on this site (Famous Women: Sacred and Profane by Glen Levin Swiggett); where you’ll find a sonnet written for every great woman in history. There’s also one written on Marie Antoinette that I think is just so perfect. I have to say that although I’m fascinated by Josephine, I also adore Marie Antoinette, la Reine Martyre.

Here is the one for Josephine:

Letizia, mother of Napoleon,
So dearly known to him as Madame mère
And to the world for her maternal care
Of him at Elba, for herself has won
Affection greater than we shower upon
His Empress whose great beauty did not spare
Her, nor her tact, when he at last did dare
Divorce and exile her to Malmaison.
Napoleon's wish to found a dynasty
Far greater than his land had ever known,
To kings and princes of the Church and State
Related disavowed her for sterility,
Though in her former children she had shown
Such gifts as did him highly fascinate.
And, for Marie Antoinette
A king of France once said, I am the State;
And with this thought so lived he paved the way
For revolution at a later day,
When of French queens the most unfortunate,
Marie of Austria, that sorry fate
Endured from frenzied populace, a prey
To passions, dead to pity, that would slay,
Their baser humors to propitiate.
Marie was but a child when as a bride
She came to France, becoming soon a queen.
Caught in the current of intrigue and war,
And, with her husband, helpless in the tide
Of hate, she bravely faced the guillotine
When came her turn to ride the fatal car.


And this one for Marie Antoinette:

A king of France once said, I am the State;
And with this thought so lived he paved the way
For revolution at a later day,
When of French queens the most unfortunate,
Marie of Austria, that sorry fate
Endured from frenzied populace, a prey
To passions, dead to pity, that would slay,
Their baser humors to propitiate.

Marie was but a child when as a bride
She came to France, becoming soon a queen.
Caught in the current of intrigue and war,
And, with her husband, helpless in the tide
Of hate, she bravely faced the guillotine
When came her turn to ride the fatal car.


Painting: http://www.translating-william-shakespeare.com/image-files/sonnet_mulready.gif

8 comments:

Mirella Sichirollo Patzer said...

Thanks for sharing the sonnets. I visited the site myself and found one for Hroswitha, a nun who wrote stories and plays in the 10th century. She wrote about Queen Mathilde - the heroine of my current novel in progress.

Ingrid Mida said...

Your passion for Josephine is truly admirable. How do you continue to find new material about her?

Matterhorn said...

I love poetry, thanks!

Marie-Antoinette was very brave, truly La Reine Martyre.

sallymandy said...

Fascinating. I love that a poet wrote all these sonnets about women in history. Thank you for sharing them with us. ♥

Unseen Rajasthan said...

This is so a fantastic Poem !! Really Wonderful...Great One...Also I Have Started My Own Website And Would Like You To Have A Look At It.I Would Love To Have Your Comments On That Also.Unseen Rajasthan

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme said...

Happy Weekend, Ms. Lucy! And thanks for sharing your passion!
Kirsten

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

You find the most interesting things to post. Passion, passion, passion...there is no end to where it can lead.

Such 'coincidences' between us! More and more I am hoping that someday all of us who meet across our blogs will be able to one day meet in person. That would be a party I think I would attend! Thank you for your friendship.

Catherine xxoo

Viola said...

Lovely sonnets, Ms.Lucy! I must look up this site. Thank you for telling us about it.