by Pierre de Ronsard (1524 - 1585)
Translation © by Faith J. Cormier, David Wyatt

Quand au temple nous serons
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG
Quand au temple nous serons
Agenouillés, nous ferons
Les dévots selon la guise
De ceux qui pour louer Dieu
Humbles se courbent au lieu
Le plus secret de l'église.

Mais quand au lit nous serons
Entrelacés, nous ferons
Les lascifs selon les guises
Des amants qui librement
Pratiquent folâtrement
Dans les draps cent mignardises.

Pourquoi donque, quand je veux
Ou mordre tes beaux cheveux,
Ou baiser ta bouche aimée,
Ou toucher à ton beau sein,
Contrefais-tu la nonnain
Dedans un cloître enfermée ?

Pour qui gardes-tu tes yeux
Et ton sein délicieux,
Ta joue et ta bouche belle ?
En veux-tu baiser Pluton
Là-bas, après que Charon
T'aura mise en sa nacelle ?

Après ton dernier trépas,
Grêle, tu n'auras là-bas
Qu'une bouchette blêmie ;
Et quand mort, je te verrais
Aux Ombres je n'avouerais
Que jadis tu fus m'amie.

Ton test n'aura plus de peau,
Ni ton visage si beau
N'aura veines ni artères :
Tu n'auras plus que les dents
Telles qu'on les voit dedans
Les têtes des cimeteres.

Donque, tandis que tu vis,
Change, maîtresse, d'avis,
Et ne m'épargne ta bouche :
Incontinent tu mourras,
Lors tu te repentiras
De m'avoir été farouche.

Ah, je meurs ! Ah, baise-moi !
Ah, maîtresse, approche-toi !
Tu fuis comme faon qui tremble.
Au moins souffre que ma main
S'ébatte un peu dans ton sein,
Ou plus bas, si bon te semble.

J. Castro sets stanza 8

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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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Faith J. Cormier) , "I'm dying, so kiss me", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Faith J. Cormier) (David Wyatt) , "When we are in the temple", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 48
Word count: 232

When we are in the temple
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
When we are in the temple church
Kneeling, we will look like
The devout, the very image
Of those who , to worship God,
Humbly bow towards the
Most holy part of the church.

But when we are in bed
Entwined, we will look like
The lascivious, the very image
Of lovers who freely
And friskily perform
A hundred little acts of love under the sheets.

So why, when I want
To bite your lovely hair
Or to kiss your beloved lips
Or to brush against your lovely breast,
Do you pretend to be a little nun
In an enclosed convent?

For whom are you keeping your eyes
And your delicious breast,
Your cheeks, your lovely lips?
Do you want Pluto to kiss them
Down below, after Charon
Has taken you into his little boat?

After your eventual death,
Down there you'll be spindly, with nothing
But a deathly-pale mouth;
And when I'm dead and see you
In the Shades I will not recognise
That you were formerly my beloved.

Your head will no longer have skin on it
Your face -- oh so beautiful ! --
Won't have its veins and arteries;
You will just have teeth left,
Like those you see inside
The skulls in cemeteries.

So, while you are alive,
Change your mind, my mistress,
And don't be sparing with your lips;
All at once you will be dead,
And then you will repent
Of having been shy with me.

I'm dying, so kiss me.
Oh Mistress, come near me.
Like a quaking fawn you flee.
At least allow my hand to rest,
All a-tremble, on your breast,
Or farther down still, if may be.

View text with footnotes
Translation of stanza 8 is by Faith Cormier (2000) ; the rest is by David Wyatt (2012).
1 in Greek myth, Charon's boat took the dead across the River Styx to Hades, where Pluto ruled.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © by Faith J. Cormier and 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.

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This text was added to the website: 2012-07-26
Line count: 48
Word count: 276