over this usage in a little epigram to Posthumus:
What's this that myrrh doth still smell in thy kiss,
And that with thee no other odour is?
'Tis doubt, my Posthumus, he that doth smell
So sweetly always, smells not very well.
This kissing of friends gradually became a veritable nuisance to the country. Fashion ordained that every one should give and receive such kisses, but, in reality, every one preferred evading them. Martial, in another epigram to this same Posthumus, exclaims:
Posthumus late was wont to kiss
With one lip, which I loth;
But now my plague redoubled is,—
He kisses me with both.
Posthumus' kisses some must have,
And some salute his fist;
Thy hand, good Posthumus, I crave,
If I may choose my list.
Under such frightful circumstances people had recourse to shifts which seem almost as unsavoury as the kisses they would escape:
Why on my chin a plaster clapped;
Besalved my lips, that are not chapped;
Philænis, why? The cause is this:
Philænis, thee I will not kiss.