As was the custom for many a noble lady in the sixteenth century, Margaretha van Mathenesse kept an album amicorum, in which she collected inscriptions from family, friends and people of renown. These contributions would sometimes include no more than name and motto, but in most cases they were songs and sonnets. Among these, we find the song Magdalena, Magdalena, with the name Gerrit van Bevervoort and the year 1591 written underneath. The song is about a specific, (very) young lady; the girl Anna Magdalena van Reede, who was abducted by Gerrit van Bevervoort in 1589. The lyrics not only fit smoothly within the petrarchan tradition of the period but also contain words and phrases which refer to actual circumstances in the Magdalena situation. The song then shows not only the standard practice of a conventional, stereotypical literary style, but also proves that there may yet be other, more personal dimensions to this kind of writing.
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