1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Keats

John Hamilton Reynolds, "Dian and Endymion" Edinburgh Magazine NS 7 (October 1820) 316.



I know a lone spot where the sweet-eyed moon
Plays with the boy Endymion:
It is an upland lawn thro' which a stream
(Such as youthful poets dream)
Runs, scattering round about its music soft
'Midst grass and sky-blue flowers, while aloft,
Facing the rough and frozen north, a wood
Of ancient oaks, which seem as they had stood
For ages there like forest kings,
Branch out above the shrubs and meaner things;
Yet, when the wind waves their brown locks, they sigh
Methinks over their own antiquity.
Below, and fronting the sweet south, a scene
Opens upon the sun and softer skies,
Like that love-haunted place of paradise,
Which Milton painted, with its slopes of green,
And flower-enamelled sward, and lofty trees,
Fruits, bowers, and brooks, — gently varieties.
'Tis there pale Dian comes to watch her boy
By night, and with a melancholy joy,
Stooping from her bright home amidst the skies,
She kisses tremblingly his closed eyes,
His small vermillion mouth, and forehead fair,
And dives amidst the tangles of his hair;
But he, the senseless youth, lies still the while,
Tho' now and then a faint — the faintest smile
Shines forth, as tho' the queen had power to bless
The sleeper with a distant consciousness,
That then the radiant Dian deigned to sip
Love and show'r sweets nectarean on his lip.
—Oh! for that life of sleep — that placid sleep
Full of divinest dreams, and fancies deep,
With sights of love floating before our eyes,
And prospects opening to the eternal skies,
With sounds, like gentle music in our ears—
Low songs, like those we heard in earlier years,
With just enough of life to dream, and save
The heart from withering in the cold cold grave.
I. R.