Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
From “Dorothy: a Country Story.” II. Country Kisses
Arthur Joseph Munby (b. 1828)
CURIOUS, the ways of these folk of humble and hardly condition:
  Kisses, amongst ourselves, bless me, how much they imply!
Ere you can come to a kiss, you must scale the whole gamut of courtship—
  Introduction first; pretty attentions and words;
Tentative looks; and at length, perhaps the touch of a finger;        5
  Then the confession; and then (if she allow it) the kiss.
So that a kiss comes last—’t is the crown and seal of the whole thing;
  Passion avow’d by you, fondly accepted by her.
But in our Dorothy’s class, a kiss only marks the beginning:
  Comes me a light-hearted swain, thinking of nothing at all;        10
Flings his fustian sleeve round the ample waist of the maiden;
  Kisses her cheek, and she—laughingly thrusts him away.
Why, ’t is a matter of course; every good-looking damsel expects it;
  ’T is but the homage, she feels, paid to her beauty by men:
So that, at Kiss-in-the-Ring—an innocent game and a good one—        15
  Strangers in plenty may kiss: nay, she pursues, in her turn.


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