Through cloudless skies, in silvery sheen,
Full beams the moon on Actium’s coast:
And on these waves for Egypt’s queen,
The ancient world was won and lost.
And now upon the scene I look,
The azure grave of many a Roman;
Where stem Ambition once forsook
His wavering crown to follow woman.
Florence! whom I will love as well
As ever yet was said or sung
(Since Orpheus sang his spouse from hell),
Whilst thou art fair and I am young;
Sweet Florence! those were pleasant times;
When worlds were staked for ladies’
Had bards as many realms as rhymes;
Thy charms might raise new Antonies.
Though Fate forbids such things to be
Yet, by thine eyes and ringlets curl’d!
I cannot lose a world for thee,
But would not lose thee for a world.