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Laura

1 For questions 1-7, read the following text and then choose from the list A-J the best phrase given below to fill each of the spaces.
Each correct phrase may be used only once. Some of the suggested answers do not fit at all.

Laura

We do not know who the Dark Lady was that Shakespeare mentioned in his sonnets but we know which writer was the model for that sequence and for most of the great love poems of the Renaissance. This was Francesco petrarca,(1) , who wrote poetry in the fourteenth century in praise of a lady called Laura, (2) . So who was Petrarch and was there a real Laura?

Petrarch was born at Arezzo in Italy in 1304. He was exiled, (3) , for political reasons and spent most of his early years near the rival papal court at Avignon, where he first saw Laura in 1327. She was a young Frenchwoman, (4) . Petrarch made no secret of his love for her. He wrote hundreds of poems, recited them in public, sometimes (5) , and even commissioned the famous Sienese painter, Simone Martini, to paint her. Her husband does not seem to have minded, and Laura herself was evidently too busy to respond to his passion. She had given birth to 11 children when she died in 1348. In any case, Petrarch was a priest so he could not have consummated his love. Nevertheless, his continuing adoration made him the model for all those writers who have praised the perfect, unattainable woman, (6)
As for Shakespeare's sonnets, he owed much to Petrarch in technical terms, but his Dark Lady was neither pure nor unattainable. On the contrary, he wrote about her with bitter humour at his own expense, (7) .

  1. accompanied by a musician
  2. admired as the most influential poet of his time
  3. already married to a nobleman
  4. ashamed that he could not help being attracted to her
  5. disgusted by a girl's coolness towards them
  6. imitating the great Italian poet
  7. inspired by her matchless beauty
  8. known to English readers as Petrarch
  9. like Chaucer, who translated man of them
  10. like his great contemporary, Dante

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