I Begged a Kiss of a Little Maid

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"I Begged a Kiss of a Little Maid"
by Zmai Iovan Iovanovich, translated by Nikola Tesla and Robert Underwood Johnson
Published in Poems.

I begged a kiss of a little maid;
    Shyly, sweetly, she consented;
Then of a sudden, all afraid,
    After she gave it, she repented;
And now as penance for that one kiss
    She asks a poem — I'll give her this.

But how can my song be my very best
    When she, with a voice as soft as Circe's,
Has charmed the heart from my lonely breast —
    The heart, the fountain of all true verses?
Why, oh, why should a maid do this?
    No — I must give her back her kiss.

This is a translation and has a separate copyright status from the original text. The license for the translation applies to this edition only.
Original:
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.
 
Translation:
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1943, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.