Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/19

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5
WHAT IS A KISS?

board of the teeth of the lovely songs which love sings in a burning heart."

Baiser! rose trémière au jardin des caresses!
Vif accompagnement sur le clavier des dents,
Des doux refrains qu'Amour chante en les cœurs ardents
Avec sa voix d'archange aux langueurs charmeresses!

This definition, which seems to me to be as original as it is beautiful and apt, deals, however, exclusively with the kiss of love; but kisses, as we all know, are capable of expressing many other emotions, and it enlightens us not one whit as to the external side of the nature of a kiss. Let us, therefore, leave the poets, and seek refuge with the philologists.

In the Dictionary of the Danish Philological Society (Videnskabernes Selskabs Ordbog) a kiss is defined as "a pressure of the mouth against a body." As every one at once perceives, this explanation is very unsatisfactory, for, from the above statements, we could hardly accept more than one, viz., the mouth. Now, of course, it is quite clear that one of the first requisites for a kiss is a mouth. "Einen Kuss an sich, ohne Mund, kann man nicht geben," say the Germans,