Louise Labe (French, 1525-1566)
Long-felt desires, hopes as long as vain–
sad sighs–slow tears accustomed to run sad
into as many rivers as two eyes could add,
pouring like fountains, endless as the rain–
cruelty beyond humanity, a pain
so hard it makes compassionate stars go mad
with pity: these are the first passions I’ve had.
Do you think love could root in my soul again?
If it arched the great bow back again at me,
licked me again with fire, and stabbed me deep
with the violent worst, as awful as before,
the wounds that cut me everwhere would keep
me shielded, so there would be no place free
for love. It covers me. It can pierce no more.