Only to live, only to be
In Venice, is enough for me.
To be a beggar, and to lie
At home beneath the equal sky,
To feel the sun, to drink the night,
Had been enough for my delight;
Happy because the sun allowed
The luxury of being proud
Not to some only; but to all
The right to lie along the wall.
Here my ambition dies; I ask
No more than some half-idle task,
To be done idly, and to fill
Some gaps of leisure when I will.
I care not if the world forget
That it was ever in my debt;
I care not where its prizes fall;
I long for nothing, having all.
The sun each morning, on his way,
Calls for me at the Zattere;
I wake and greet him, I go out,
Meet him, and follow him about;
We spend the day together, he
Goes to bed early; as for me,
I make the moon my mistress, prove
Constant to my inconstant love.
For she is coy with me, will hie
To my arms amorously, and fly
Ere I have kissed her; ah! but she,
She it is, to eternity,
I adore only; and her smile
Bewilders the enchanted isle
To more celestial magic, glows
At once the crystal and the rose.
The crazy lover of the moon,
I hold her, on the still lagoon,
Sometimes I hold her in my arms;
'Tis her cold silver kiss that warms
My blood to singing, and puts fire
Into the heart of my desire.
And all desire in Venice dies
To such diviner lunacies.
Life dreams itself: the world goes on,
Oblivious, in oblivion;
Life dreams itself, contents to keep
Happy immortality, in sleep.