Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/13

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AUTHOR'S PREFACE


Wenn ich nur selber wüsste,
Was mir in die Seele zischt!
Die Worte und die Küsse
Sind wunderbar vermischt.

Oh, could I but decipher
What 'tis that fills my mind.
The words are with the kisses
So wond'rously combined.

Heine.

Dante, in the fifth canto of his Hell, has celebrated the power a kiss may have over human beings. In the course of his wanderings in the nether world, when he has reached the spot where abide those who have sinned through love, he sees two souls that "flutter so lightly in the wind." These are Francesco da Rimini and her brother-in-law Paolo. He asks Francesco to tell him:

"In the time of your sweet sighs,
By what, and how love granted, that ye knew
Your yet uncertain wishes?"