by Pierre de Ronsard (1524 - 1585)
Translation © by David Wyatt

Douce maîtresse, touche
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Douce maîtresse, touche,
Pour soulager mon mal,
Mes levres de ta bouche
Plus rouge que coral :
[Que mon col soit pressé
De ton bras enlassé]1.

Puis, face dessus face,
Regarde moy les yeux,
Afin que ton trait passe
[En]2 mon cœur soucieux
[Cœur qui]3 ne vit sinon
D'amour et de ton nom.

Je l'ay veu fier et brave,
Avant que ta beauté
Pour estre son esclave
Doucement l'eust donté,
Mais son mal lui plait bien
Pourveu qu'il meure tien.

Belle par qui je donne
A mes yeux tant d'esmoy,
Baise moy ma mignonne,
Cent fois rebaise moy :
Et quoy ! faut il en vain
Languir dessus [ton]4 sein.

Maîtresse je n'ay garde
De vouloir t'esveiller,
Heureux quand je regarde
Tes beaux yeux sommeiller !
Heureux quand je les voy
Endormis dessus moy.

Veux-tu que je les baise
Afin de les ouvrir ?
Hà tu fais la mauvaise
Pour me faire mourir,
Je meurs entre tes bras
Et s'il ne t'en chaut pas !

Ha ma chere ennemie
Si tu veux m'apaiser
Redonne moy la vie
Par l'esprit d'un baiser,
Ha ! j'en ay la douceur
Senti jusques au cœur.

C'est une douce rage
Qui nous poinct doucement,
Quand d'un même courage
On s'aime incessament :
Heureux sera le jour
Que je mourray d'amour !

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Caietain, La Grotte: "D'un doux lien pressé/ Tiens mon col embrassé"
2 La Grotte: "De"
3 Caietain, La Grotte: "Lequel"
4 Caietain : "mon"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (David Wyatt) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: David Wyatt

This text was added to the website: 2014-10-27
Line count: 48
Word count: 216

Sweet mistress, touch –
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Sweet mistress, touch –
To soothe my ills – 
My lips with your mouth,
Redder than coral;
[That my neck might be held
Within your twined arms]1.

Then, your face pressed to mine,
Look into my eyes
That the wound you gave me might pass
[Into]2 my careworn heart
[A heart which]3 lives only
On love and on your name.

I saw it proud and brave
Before your beauty
Sweetly conquered it
To be your slave,
But its pain makes it very happy
As long as it dies your own.

Fair one through whom I give
My eyes such trouble,
Kiss me, my darling,
Kiss me again a hundred times;
What? Must [I lie in vain
Upon your]2 breast?

Mistress, I have no charge
To seek to wake you,
Happy when I watch
Your fair eyes sleeping,
And happy when I see them
Asleep upon me.

Would you like me to kiss them
To open them?
Ah, you are being mischievous
To make me die;
I am dying in your arms
And yet you do not care!

Ah, my dear enemy,
If you want to calm me
Give me back my life
Through the spirit of a kiss,
Oh, I felt its sweetness
Go right to my heart.

It’s a sweet madness
Which sweetly stabs us,
When with shared courage
We make love continuously;
Happy will be the day
When I shall die of love!

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Caietain, La Grotte: "Clasped in soft bonds/ Hold my neck in your embrace"
2 La Grotte: "From"
3 Caietain, La Grotte: "Which"
4 Caietain: "you lie in vain/ Upon my"


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2014 by David Wyatt, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2014-10-27
Line count: 48
Word count: 235