16th Century French Poetess Poem “Sonnet XXIV” by Louise Labé & Audio Pronunciation

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Slower and natural readings of the French poem “Sonnet XXIV” de Louise Labé – listen to my clear French audio recording and read the English translation of the poem.

Today, I’m going to read the 16th Century French poem Sonnet 24 by Louise Labé, the first recognized French poetess.

She was born in Lyon, between 1520 and 1525. She was raised during one of the most interesting centuries in literature’s history. The Middle Ages were over, and the Italian renaissance was creating a revolution in France’s artistic life.

The message of the poem is simple and still so very modern: love and its torments…

I will read the poem once slowly so you can repeat after me, then I’ll read it faster with a personal interpretation.

1 – Famous French Poem “Sonnet XXIV” de Louise Labé – Audio Recording

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2 – French Poem in old French

Ne reprenez, Dames, si j’ay aymé :
Si j’ay senti mile torches ardentes,
Mile travaus, mile douleurs mordentes :
Si en pleurant, j’ay mon tems consumé,

Las que mon nom n’en soit par vous blamé.
Si j’ay failli, les peines sont presentes,
N’aigrissez point leurs pointes violentes :
Mais estimez qu’Amour, ê point nommé,

Sans votre ardeur d’un Vulcan excuser,
Sans la beauté d’Adonis acuser,
Pourra, s’il veut, plus vous rendre amoureuses :

En ayant moins que moy d’occasion,
Et plus d’estrange et forte passion.
Et gardez vous d’estre plus malheureuses.

3 – Famous French Poem “Sonnet XXIV” de Louise Labé

Ne reprenez, Dames, si j’ai aimé,
Si j’ai senti mille torches ardentes,
Mille travaux, mille douleurs mordantes.
Si, en pleurant, j’ai mon temps consumé,

Las ! que mon nom n’en soit par vous blamé.
Si j’ai failli, les peines sont présentes,
N’aigrissez point leurs pointes violentes :
Mais estimez qu’Amour, à point nommé,

Sans votre ardeur d’un Vulcain excuser,
Sans la beauté d’Adonis accuser,
Pourra, s’il veut, plus vous rendre amoureuses,

En ayant moins que moi d’occasion,
Et plus d’étrange et forte passion.
Et gardez-vous d’être plus malheureuses!

Easy French Poetry

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4 – English Translation of the classical French poem “Sonnet XXIV” de Louise Labé

Here is my own translation of the French poem. I went for a literal translation so you could understand the vocabulary.

Do not reproach me, ladies, if I’ve loved,
And felt a thousand burning torches,
A thousand griefs, a thousand biting pains.
If I’ve spent my days crying,

Alas, ladies, do not speak badly of me.
If I failed, I’m suffering now
Don’t make it worse.
But consider Love could at any point

Without blaming Vulcan for your desire,
Without blaming Adonis’ beauty,
(Love) could if he wanted to make you enamoured

With less reason for it than the one I had
And with stranger and a stronger passion.
And do refrain from being sadder than I am.

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Born and raised in Paris, I have been teaching today's French to adults for 23+ years in the US and France. Based on my students' goals and needs, I've created unique downloadable French audiobooks focussing on French like it's spoken today, for all levels. Most of my audiobooks are recorded at several speeds to help you conquer the modern French language. Good luck with your studies and remember, repetition is the key!

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