Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/35

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21
WHAT IS A KISS?

mouth, cause him the keenest pains; nay, even deprive him of his understanding. But, by Jupiter, anyhow this is quite another matter; for spiders poison the wound directly they inflict a sting. O, thou simple fellow, dost thou not know that lustful kisses are poisoned, even if thou failest to perceive the poison? Dost thou not know that she to whom the name of beautiful is given is a wild beast far more dangerous than scorpions; for the latter only poison us by their touch, whereas beauty destroys us without actual contact with us, and even ejects from a long distance a venom so dangerous that people are deprived thereby of their wits. This is the reason why I advise you, O Xenophon, to run away as fast as you can the very instant you see a beautiful woman, and with regard to yourself, O Kritobulus, I deem you will act most prudently in spending a whole year abroad; for that is the least time necessary for curing thy wound."[1]

It may perhaps be thought that Socrates' fear of kissing is a trifle exaggerated, his idea possibly arising from a certain prejudice derived from Mistress Xantippe; anyhow,

  1. Translated from the Danish Version.