Today is International Kissing Day, and I believe that it’s a universal feeling to squee in joy when two people who we are eager to see get together finally seal their relationship with a kiss. Kisses can be passionate, loving, comforting, and even funny. To celebrate today, here are the top five best kisses in literature, with all of the trimmings.
5. Haidée and Juan in Don Juan by Lord Byron
“A long, long kiss, a kiss of youth, and love, And beauty, all concentrating like rays Into one focus, kindled from above; Such kisses as belong to early days, Where heart, and soul, and sense, in concert move, And the blood’s lava, and the pulse a blaze, Each kiss a heart-quake, — for a kiss’s strength, I think, it much be reckon’d by its length.
By length I mean duration; theirs endured Heaven knows how long — no doubt they never reckon’d’ And if they had, they could not have secured The sum of their sensations to a second: They had not spoken; but they felt allured, As if their souls and lips each other beckon’d, Which, being join’d, like swarming bees they clung — Their hearts the flowers from whence the honey sprung.”
4. Eleanor and Park in Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
She didn’t move, so he thought it was probably okay to touch her face. Her skin was as soft as it looked, white and smooth as freckled porcelain.
“I’ll just say, ‘Eleanor, follow me down this rabbit hole…’”
He laid his thumb on her lips to see if she’d pull away. She didn’t. He leaned closer. He wanted to close his eyes, but he didn’t trust her not to leave him standing there.”
3. Faramir and Eowyn in The Return of the King by J.R.R Tolkien
“Then you think that the Darkness is coming?” said Eowyn. “Darkness Unescapable?” And suddenly she drew close to him.
“No,” said Faramir, looking at her face. “It was but a picture in the mind. I do not know what is happening. The reason of my waking mind tells me that great evil has befallen and we stand at the end of days. But my heart says nay; and all my limbs are light, and a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. Eowyn, Eowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure!” And he stooped and kissed her brow.
And so they stood on the walls of the City of Gondor, and a great wind rose and blew, and their hair, raven and golden, streamed out mingling in the air.
2. Romeo and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
ROMEO: If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.
JULIET: Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, Which mannerly devotion shows in this; For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.
ROMEO: Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?
JULIET: Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.
ROMEO: O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do; They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.
JULIET: Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.
ROMEO: Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take. Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.
JULIET: Then have my lips the sin that they have took.
ROMEO: Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged! Give me my sin again.
JULIET: You kiss by the book.
1. Wesley and Buttercup in The Princess Bride by William Goldman
“There have been five great kisses since 1642 B.C. when Saul and Delilah Korn’s inadvertent discovery swept across Western civilization. (Before then couples hooked thumbs.) And the precise rating of kisses is a terribly difficult thing, often leading to great controversy, because although everyone agrees with the formula of affection times purity times intensity times duration, no one has ever been completely satisfied with how much weight each element should receive. But on any system, there are five that everyone agrees deserve full marks. Well, this one left them all behind.”
Featured image via Alejandra Quiroz