Wie er wolle geküsset seyn

[This page by Madeleine Brook]


This playful and humorous ode, with its rhyming couplets and regular meter, instructs on the best way to kiss. The themes of kissing and of the kiss were popular with neo-latin humanist poets in the early modern period. Here, propriety and eroticism are played off against each other, resulting in the suggestion of ambiguous social acceptability, as can be seen in l.20. The ode is formed mainly of paired opposites placed at either side of a caesura; each stanza has a concluding line which brings the preceding three lines together in a witty, wry instruction for lovers to conduct themselves with measured variety. Although the title of the ode suggests that this is merely a list of instructions on how to kiss the male lyrical voice, the final stanza suggests to the contrary that this is – like the lines of the poem – always a story of complements: society in general versus the two lovers on the one hand, and the two lovers themselves as a complementary unit on the other.

Further Reading

Frederick M. Rener, ‘Sweet Imagery in German Baroque Poetry’, South Atlantic Bulletin 36 (1971), 14-22

Further Reading in German

Thorsten Unger, ‘Barocke Kussgedichte: Weltliche und geistliche Osculologie bei Paul Fleming und Angelus Silesius’, Zeitschrift für Deutsche Philologie 123 (2004), 183-205