Endymion: A Poetic Romance (Excerpt)

John Keats 1795 (Moorgate) – 1821 (Rome)

BOOK I
  A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
  Its loveliness increases; it will never
  Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
  A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
  Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
  Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
  A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
  Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
  Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
  Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
  Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
  Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
  From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
  Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
  For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
  With the green world they live in; and clear rills
  That for themselves a cooling covert make
  'Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake,
  Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
  And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
  We have imagined for the mighty dead;
  All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
  An endless fountain of immortal drink,
  Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

  Nor do we merely feel these essences
  For one short hour; no, even as the trees
  That whisper round a temple become soon
  Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon,
  The passion poesy, glories infinite,
  Haunt us till they become a cheering light
  Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast,
  That, whether there be shine, or gloom o'ercast;
  They always must be with us, or we die.

  Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I
  Will trace the story of Endymion.
  The very music of the name has gone
  Into my being, and each pleasant scene
  Is growing fresh before me as the green
  Of our own valleys: so I will begin
  Now while I cannot hear the city's din;
  Now while the early budders are just new,
  And run in mazes of the youngest hue
  About old forests; while the willow trails
  Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails
  Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year
  Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer
  My little boat, for many quiet hours,
  With streams that deepen freshly into bowers.
  Many and many a verse I hope to write,
  Before the daisies, vermeil rimm'd and white,
  Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
  Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
  I must be near the middle of my story.
  O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
  See it half finish'd: but let Autumn bold,
  With universal tinge of sober gold,
  Be all about me when I make an end.
  And now, at once adventuresome, I send
  My herald thought into a wilderness:
  There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
  My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
  Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed....

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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John Keats

John Keats was an English Romantic poet. more…

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