The son of Titian, for her deathless fame,
Painted this portrait, witness of love's care,
And from that day renounced his art's high claim,
Loth that another dame his skill should share.
Stranger, if in your heart love doth abide,
Gaze on my lady's picture ere you chide.
Say if perchance your lady's fair as this.
Then mark how poor a thing is fame on earth;
Grand as this portrait is, it is not worth—
Believe me on my oath—the model's kiss.
W. F. H.
Thus even the highest work of art, yea, the loftiest reputation, is nothing in comparison with the passionate kiss of a woman one loves. This is what life has taught Musset, and a half melancholy sigh rings through his exultation over the omnipotence of love. In turning to the more naïve speech of popular poetry, we find in a German Schnaderhüpfel (Improvisation) a corresponding homage to the kiss as the noblest thing in the world:
My sweetheart's poor,
But fair to behold.
What use were wealth?
I cannot kiss gold.
W. F. H.
And we all yearn for kisses and we all seek them; it is idle to struggle against this passion. No one can evade the omnipotence of the kiss,