Brembate was rather well known for writing poetry in Latin, French, Spanish, and Italian. Unfortunately, very few of her poems survive.
One non-poem survival that I was really excited to see is her imprese. It was published in 1565 in Le Imprese Illustri by Girolamo Ruscelli. The text (in Spanish) translates to "I will guard them better." The image is of a dozing dragon in front of the Garden of Hesperides from which Hercules stole the golden apples. The entirety of Ruscelli is available online. Some rather interesting imprese. What I found most interesting was that the imprese of a non-royal woman was published in her lifetime. Granted, she was interesting in her own right as well as being part of a powerful family that was involved in a giant family feud with intrigue and multiple murder going on at about this time (the family troubles came to a head in 1563.) Regardless of the reason, I'm excited to see it.
It is sad that her poetry didn't survive as well. There is a volume of poems dedicated to her with poems by 31 OTHER poets, but only 3 sonnets and one longer piece survive. Of the 3 sonnets, two are pretty specific to particulat historic persons. This is the other one.
Sublime thought always
unburdens my heart of other thought
like the brilliant sun lightens dark clouds
shows me the true path to heaven.
This alone rules my breast
and creates desire, forms rose and violet words,
as changing as April
under the majestic sun
Now, if Heaven and Nature
wish that the sun be within me
who is powerful enough then to take it away?
However much cruel Fortune might oppose this
she can never challenge
the mindful care of heaven.
Translation and most of the information is from Irma B. Jaffe's book Shining Eyes, Cruel Fortune: The lives and loves of Renaissance female poets. I can't recommend it enough. Besides being a scholarly work that is easy to read, it includes art of a variety of types to give more insight into the poets. On top of which, it comes with a cd of the poems being read aloud in both English and the original Italian.
|In private collection of Count Antonio Moroni.Image via|