"You'll weep for me, dear Delia, ere flames have caught my bier,
And mingle with your kisses full many a bitter tear."
W. F. H.
The death-kiss is something so natural that it is superfluous to point out its existence amongst different nations. It was not only a mark of love, but it was also an article of belief that the soul might be detained for a brief while by such a kiss. Ovid, in his Tristia, laments over his joyless existence in Tomis, whither Augustus had banished him, and is in despair because, when the hour of death approaches, he will not have his beloved wife by his side to detain his fleeting spirit by her kisses mingled with tears.
The kiss is the last tender proof of love bestowed on one we have loved, and was believed, in ancient times, to follow mankind to the nether world. Even in our own days, popular belief in many places demands that the nearest relative shall kiss the corpse's forehead ere the coffin lid is screwed down; in certain parts, indeed, it is incumbent on every one who sees a dead body to kiss it, otherwise he will get no peace for the dead.