French poet and politician Alphonse de Lamartine was born on October 21, 1790. The son of a noble family, Lamartine first made his mark with a poem called “Le Lac.” French poetry has highly stylized rules and forms and Lamartine was so gifted with them that he was elected to the Académie Française. He is considered the first poet of the Romantic era. He served as an ambassador to Italy and then held a series of increasingly important government positions. He was chosen to declare the founding of the Second Republic in 1848. Lamartine used his position to achieve the abolition of slavery and the death penalty. He retired from politics after an unsuccessful bid for the presidency and dedicated himself to writing. He died on February 28 1869 in deep poverty.
Today’s quotation, il y a une femme à l’origine de toutes les grandes choses (eel ee ah oon fahm ah loreejeen duh toot lay grahnd shows) is by Lamartine. It means “there is a woman at the beginning of all great things.” That’s a sentiment I can really get behind.