1500 Stitches: diverse arts of Margaret Wolseley

Poetry and Songs

Home - English 1500 - Venice 1500 - Children's Clothes - Arts with Children - Poetry - About Me

I composed the following poem for the Duke Gyrth Oldcastle Memorial Smackdown at the 2012 Kingdom Arts and Sciences Festival. (Really, I composed it at KASF. I showed up with three ideas, a thesaurus, and a rhyme dictionary, and finished the last poem one minute before the smackdown began.) That year, we each adopted a historic persona (mine was Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII) and wrote from her perspective.

We were given the names of two other participant's chosen characters, and were to praise one entrant and "smack" a second. This is my poem smacking Louise Labé of Lyon, a mid-fifteenth century French poet and courtesan of unusual beauty. She was nicknamed La Belle Cordière (The Beautiful Ropemaker). All the other names in this poem are her contemporaries, male poets who knew her and wrote poems praising her.

La Belle Cordière

One Claude de Taillemon would praise la femme
Olivier de Magny agreed with him
And Jean Antoine de Baif (the taller son).
Antoine Fumee applauded her with pun.
And all I'm sure did judge her works quite well;
The basest words this famed mademoiselle
Could sweeten by expressing from her lips
With gasps and moans, between each stolen kiss.
The poets all would know La Belle Cordière—
Oh, yes, how very well they must know her.
For she, not satisfied to be just wed,
A ropemaker with wealth within her bed,
To peddle goods whose use can hang a man
Instead with pretty looks does make man stand.
Know I the merit of her simple verse?
To waist such time on that would be a curse.
I'll rate her as the men she so well knew—
Undoubtedly true: elle a chaud au cul.