Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/144

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

whereupon she replied that this could not be granted, inasmuch as the first of what he asked absolutely belonged to her husband, but, as she did not wish to be too hard on him, he was welcome to have the last:

Syllaba prima meo debetur tota marito,
Sume tibi reliquas, non ero dura, duas.[1]

In modern times the ceremonious kiss of respect has gone clean out of fashion in the most civilised countries; it is only retained in the Church, but in all other domains it is practically unknown—so unknown, indeed, that in many cases the practice would be offensive or ridiculous.

Kissing the earth is another instance of such kisses that I shall quote. It plays a part in the old stories about Junius Brutus. Together with King Tarquin's sons he journeyed to Delphi to consult the oracle. The answer they received was that the supreme power would fall to the lot of him who first kissed his mother. Brutus then made a pretence of stumbling, and as he fell he kissed the earth, our common mother. A

  1. My first is for my husband, not for you;
    But you're right welcome to the other two.

    W. F. H.