Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/25

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11
WHAT IS A KISS?

still remains for us to reply to some of the ordinary queries regarding the nature and characteristics of the kiss.

In the first place we must investigate the kiss in its gustative aspect. I here confine myself to what Kierkegaard calls "the perfect kiss," i.e., the kiss between man and woman; kisses between men are, according to that authority, insipid.

Küssen, wo smekt dat? see de maid. Yes, its taste naturally depends entirely on the circumstances, and experience is here a teacher that sets every theory at nought; but a few leading features may, however, be indicated.

When Lars Iversen, in Schandorph's Skovfogedbørnene, has kissed Mette Splyd, he wipes his mouth and says, when he has got well outside the door, "That tasted like meat that has been kept too long." When the old minnesinger, King Wenceslaus of Bohemia, had kissed his sweetheart he sang: "Just as a rose that opens its calix when it drinks the sweet dew, she offered me her sugar-sweet red mouth."

Recht als ein rôse diu sich ûz ir klôsen lât,
Swenn si des süezen touwes gert,
Sus bôt si mir ir zuckersüezen rôten munt.