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Gabrielle de Coignard (1545–1594)

Author of Spiritual Sonnets: A Bilingual Edition

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Gabrielle de Coignard was born into a wealthy family in Toulouse, France. Her father was a writer, and the records indicate that she received a good education. In 1570, she married a prominent statesman, Pierre, Sieur de Mansencal de Miremont, president of the city's Parliament. Three years later, she was left a widow at age 23 with two young daughters to raise. She retired from public life and turned to writing devotional poetry for consolation. About a decade after her death in 1594, her children published the first edition of her poems under the title Oeuvres chrestiennes de feue dame Gabrielle de Coignard (The Christian Works of the Late Lady Gabrielle de Coignard). The work indicates Gabrielle's familiarity with classical literature and mythology and her admiration for Ronsard. Her poems include 129 sonnets, as well as other verses and meditations of varying length, including a long poem on the Biblical heroine Judith.
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