Louise Labé (1524-1566)


Born in the 1520’s in Lyon, Louise Labé was a Renaissance poet. Amongst her work are 24 (maybe 25) sonnets of glorious passion.
There are several English translations of Louise’s sonnets but my favourite belong to Alice Park

Today England is grey (again) but with a promise of the new season and I’ve just re-read Alice Park’s translation of Sonnet XV.

Sonnet XV – Pay Homage

Pay homage to the glad return of spring!

Embrace the razzle-dazzle, molten sun!

Enjoy the happy breeze and all the joy

Of hearing fresh, quick-running water sing!

The land displays its most alluring face.

Two scarlet songbirds work their miracle,

And seven hundred jonquils flaunt their all

In sunny, yellow splashes that erase

The tedium of ice and muffled white

Five slim, young girls are dancing in the light

Of blue-skied noon. I catch my breath.

O yes, You’ve come!

Now spring has made the whole scene new.

O little daylight moon, the sun, and you!

My heart feels overwhelming tenderness.

© 2000 Alice Park


I have around 700 snowdrops, no jonquils yet… but hope and expectation are in the air. Reading Sonnet 15 makes my heart feel ‘overwhelming tenderness.’

Yours too – I hope.


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