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Knowing within myself the manner in which this Poem
BOOK 1. has been produced, it is not without a feeling of regret that I make it public.
A THING of beauty is a joy for ever : What manner I mean, will be quite clear to the Its loveliness increases; it will never reader, who must soon perceive great inexperience, Pass into nothingness; but still will keep imina turity, and every error denoting a feverish attempt, A bower quiet for us, and a sleep rather than a deed accomplished. The two first books, Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing. and indeed the two last, I feel sensible are not of such Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing completion as to warrant their passing the press; nor A flowery band to bind us to the earth, should they if I thought a year's castigation would do Spite of despondence, of th’ inhuman dearth them any good ;- it will not: the foundations are too Of noble natures, of the gloomy days, sandy. Jt is just that this youngster should die away: Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkend ways a sad thought for me, if I had not some hope that while Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all, it is dwindling I may be plotting, and fitting myself for Some shape of beauty moves away the pall verses fit to live.
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon, This may be speaking too presumptuously, and may Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon des erve a punishment: but no feeling man will be sor-For simple sheep; and such are daffodils ward to inflict it: he will leave me alone, with the con- With the green world they live in; and clear rills viction that there is not a fiercer hell than the failure in that for themselves a cooling covert make a great object. This is not written with the least atom Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake, of purpose to forestall criticisms of course, but from the Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms : desire I have to conciliate men who are competent to And such too is the grandeur of the dooms look, and who do look with a zealous eye, to the honour We have imagind for the mighty dead; of English literature.
All lovely tales that we have heard or read : The imagination of a boy is healthy, and the mature An endless fountain of immortal drink, imagination of a man is healthy; but there is a space Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink. of life between, in which the soul is in a ferment, the character undecided, the way of life uncertain, the am- Nor do we merely feel these essences bition thick-sighted: thence proceeds mawkislıness, and for one short hour; no, even as the trees all the thousand bitters wbich those men I speak of That wliisper round a temple become soon must necessarily taste in going over the following Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon, pages.
The passion poesy, glories infinite, I hope I have not in too late a day touched the beau- Hlaunt us till they become a cheering light tiful mythology of Greece, and dulled its brightness: Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast, for I wish to try once more, before I bid it farewell. That, whether there be shine, or gloom o'ercast,
They alway must be with us, or we die. TEIGNMOUTH, April 10. 1818.
Of brightness so unsullied, that therein
Therefore, 't is 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 younyest 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 aboul globes of clover and sweet peas, I must be ncar 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.
Now while the silent workings of the dawn
And now, as deep into the wood as we Alight mark a lynx's eye, there glimmer'd light Fair faces and a rush of garments white, Plainer and plainer showing, till at last Into the widest alley they all past, Making directly for the woodland altar. O kindly muse! let not my weak tongue falter In telling of this goodly company, Of their old piety, and of their glee: But let a portion of ethereal dew Fall on my head, and presently unmew My soul; that I may dare, in wayfaring, To stammer where old Chaucer used to sing.
Upon the sides of Latmos was outspread A miglily forest; for the moist earth fed So plenteously all weed-lidden roots Into o’erhanging boughs, and precious fruits. And it had gloomy shades, sequester'd deep, Where no man went; and if from shepherd's keep A lamb stray'd far a-down those inmost glens, Never again saw he the happy pens Whither his brethren, bleating with content, Over the hills at every night-fall went. Among the shepherds 'I was believed ever, That not one fleecy lamb which thus did sever From the white flock, but pass'd unworried By any wolf, or pard with prying head, Until it came to some unfooted plains Where fed the herds of Pan: ay, great his gains Who thus one lamb did lose. Paths there were many, Winding through palmy fern, and rushes feuny, And ivy banks; all leading pleasantly To a wide lawn, whence one could only see Stems thronging all around between the swell Of turf and slanting branches : who could tell The freshness of the space of heaven above, Edged round with dark tree tops ? through which a dove Would often beat its wings, and often too A lille cloud would move across the blue.
Leading the way, young damsels danced along, Bearing the burden of a shepherd's song; Each having a white wicker over-brimm'd With April's tender younglings: next, well trimm'd, A crowd of shepherds with as sunburnt looks As may be read of in Arcadian books; Such as sat listening round Apollo's pipe, When the great deity, for carth too ripe, Let his divinity o'erllowing die in music, through the vales of Thessaly: Some idly trail'd their sheep-hooks on the ground, And some kept up a shrilly mellow sound With ebon-tipped Outes: close after these, Now coining from beneath the forest trees, A venerable priest full soberly, Begirl with ministring looks: alway his eye Stedfast upon the malled turf he kept, And after him his sacred vestments swept. From his right hand there swung a vase, milk-white, Of mingled wine, out-sparkling generous light; And in his left he held a basket full Of all sweet herbs that searching eye could cull: Wild thyme, and valley-lilies whiter still Than Leda's love, and cresses from the rill.
Full in the middle of this pleasantness There stood a marble altar, with a tress Of flowers budded newly; and the dew Had taken fairy phantasies to strew Daisies upon the sacred sward last eve, And so the dawned light in pomp receive. For 't was the morn: Apollo's upward fire Made every eastern cloud a silvery pyre
His aged head, crowned with beecben wreath,
Thus ending, on the shrine he heap'd a spire Seem'd like a poll of ivy in the teeth
Of teeming sweets, evkindling sacred fire; Of winter hoar. Then came another crowd
Anon he stain'd the thick and spongy
sod Of shepherds, lifting in due time aloud
With wine, in honour of the shepherd-god. Their share of the ditly. After them appcard, Now while the earth was drinking it, and while Up-follow'd by a multitude that rear'd
Bay leaves were crackling in the fragrant pile, Their voices to the clouds, a fair wrought car
And gummy frankincense was sparkling bright Easily rolling so as scarce to mar
'Neatlı smothering parsley, and a hazy light The freedom of three steeds of dapple brown:
Spread greyly eastward, thus a chorus sang:
«O thou, whose mighty palace roof doth hang Showing like Ganymede to manhood grown;
From jagged trunks, and overshadoweth And, for those simple times, his garments were
Eternal whispers, glooms, the birth, life, death A chieftain king's: beneath his breast, half bare,
Of unseen flowers in heavy peacefulness; Was hung a silver bugle, and between
Who lovest to see the hamadryads dress His nervy knees there lay a boar-spear keen.
Their ruffled locks where meeting hazels darken; A smile was on his countenance; he seemd,
And through whole solemn hours dost sit, and licarken To common lookers on, like one who dream'd
The dreary melody of bedded reeds-Of idleness in groves Elysian :
In desolate places, where dank moisture breeds But there were some who feelingly could scan
The pipy hemlock to strange overgrowth, A lurking trouble in his nether lip,
Bethinking thee, how melancholy loth
Thou wast to lose fair Syrinx-do thou now,
By all the trembling mazes that she ran,
Hear us, great Pan! Why should our young Endymion pine away!
«O) thou, for whose soul-soothing quiet, turtles Soon the assembly, in a circle ranged,
Passion their voices cooingly 'mong myriles, Stood silent round the shrine: each look was changed Through sunny meadows, that outskirt the side
What time thou wanderest at eventide
Of thine enmossed realms: 0 thou, to whom
Broad-leaved big-trees even now foredoom
Their ripen d fruitage; yellow-girted bees Endymion too, without a forest peer,
Their golden honeycombs; our village Icas
Their fairest blossom'd beans and poppied corn;
The chuckling linnet its five young unborn,
To sing for thee; low creeping strawberries
Their summer coolness; pent up butterflies And, after lifting up his aged hands,
Their freckled wings; yea, the fresh budding year Thus spake he: « Men of Latmos! shepherd bands!
All its completions- be quickly near, Whose care it is to guard a thousand flocks:
By every wind that nods the mountain pine,
O forester divine !
• Thou, to whom every fawn and satyr flies Or from your swelling downs, where sweet air stirs
For willing service; whether to surprise Blue hare-bells lightly, and where prickly furze
'The squatted hare while in half sleeping fit; Buws lavish gold; or ye, whose precious charge
Or upward ragged precipices flit Nibble their fi!l at ocean's very marge,
To save poor lambkins from the eagle's maw; Whose mellow reeds are touch'd with sounds forlorn
Or by mysterious enticement draw By the dim echoes of old 'Triton's horn:
Bewilder'd shepherds to their path again; Mothers and wives! who day by day prepare
Or to tread breathless round the frothy main, The scrip, with needments, for the mountain air;
And gather up all fancifullest shells And all ye gentle girls who foster up
For thee 10 tumble into Naiads' cells, Udderless lambs, and in a little cup
And, being hidden, laugh at their out-peeping; will put choice honey for a favour'd youth :
Or to delight thee with fantastic leaping, Yea, every one attend! for in good truth
The while they pelt each other on the crown Our vows are wanting to our great god Pan.
With silvery oak-apples, and fir-cones brownAre not our lowing heifers sleeker than
By all the echoes that about thee ring,
Hcar us, 0 satyr king!
« O Hearkener to the loud-clapping shears, Sickens our fearful ewes; and we have had
While ever and anon to his shorn peers Great bounty from Endymion our lord.
A ram goes bleating: Winder of the horn, The earth is glad: the merry lark has pour'd
When snouted wild-boars routing tender corn His early song against yon breezy sky,
Anger our huntsman: Breather round our farms, That spreads so clear o`er our solemnity,
To keep off mildews, and all weather harms:
Strange ministrant of undescribed sounds,
Until, from the horizon s vaulted side, That come a-swooning over hollow grounds,
There shot a golden splendour far and wide, And wither drearily on barren moors :
Spangling those million poutings of the brine Dread opener of the mysterious doors
With quivering ore: 't was even an awful shine Leading to universal knowledge-see,
From the exaltation of Apollo's bow; Great son of Dryope,
A beavenly beacon in their dreary woe. The many that are come to pay their vows
Who thus were ripe for highi contemplating, With leaves about their brows!
Might turn their steps towards the sober ring
Where sat Endymion and the aged priest • Be still the unimaginable lodge
'Mong shepherds gone in eld, whose looks increased For solitary thinkings; such as dodge
The silvery setting of their mortal star. Conception to the very bourne of heaven,
There they discoursed upon the fragile bar Then leave the naked brain : be still the leaven, That keeps us from our homes ethereal; That spreading in this dull and clodded carth,
And what our duties there: to nightly call Gives it a touch ethereal-a new birth :
Vesper, the beauty-crest of summer weather ; Be still a symbol of immensity;
To summon all the downiest clouds together A firmament reflected in a sea;
For the sun's purple couch ; to emulate
In ministring the potent rule of fate
Sweet poesy by moonlight: besides these,
A world of other unguess'd offices. Upon thy Mount Lycean!»
Anon they wander'd, by divine converse,
Into Elysium; vying to reliearse Even while they brought the burden to a close, Each one his own anticipated bliss. A shout from the whole multitude arose,
One felt heart-certain that he could not miss That linger'd in the air like dying rolls
Ilis quick gone love, among; fair blossom'd boughs, Of abrupt thunder, when Ionian shoals
Where every zephyr-sigh pouts, and endows Of dolphins bob their noses through the brine.
Her lips with music for the welcoming. Meantime, on shady levels, mossy fine,
Another wish'd, 'mid that eternal spring, Young companies nimbly began dancing
To meet liis rosy child, with feathery sails, To the swift treble pipe, and humming string.
Sweeping, eye-earnestly, through almond vales: Aye, those fair living forms swam heavenly
Who, suddenly, should stoop through the smooth wind, To tunes forgotten--out of memory:
And with the balmiest leaves liis temples bind; Fair creatures! whose young childrens' children bred And, ever after, through those regions be Thermopylæ its heroes-not yet dead,
His messenger, his little Mercury. But in old marbles ever beautiful.
Some were athirst in soul to see again High genitors, unconscious did they cull
Their fellow huntsmen o'er the wide champaign Time's sweet first-fruits-they danced to weariness, In times long past; to sit with them, and talk And then in quiet circles did they press
Of all the chances in their earthly walk; The hillock turf, and caught the latter end
Comparing, joyfully, their plenteous stores Of some strange history, potent to send
Of happiness, to when upon the moors, A young mind from its bodily tenement.
Beniglited, close they huddled from the cold, Or they might watch the quoit-pitchers, intent
And shared their famish'd scrips. Thus all out-cold On either side; pitying the sad death
Their fond imaginations,-saving him Of Hyacinthus, when the cruel breath
Whose cyelids curtain'd up their jewels dim, Of Zephyr slew him,- Zephyr penitent,
Endymion: yet hourly had he striven Who now, ere Phæbus mounts the firmament,
To liide the cankering venom, that had riven Fondles the flower amid the sobbing rain.
Ilis fainting recollections. Now indeed The archers too, upon a wider plain,
His senses had swoond off: he did not heed Beside the feathery whizzing of the shaft,
The sudden silence, or the whispers low, And the dull twanging bowstring, and the raft Or the old cyes dissolving at his woe, Branch down sweeping from a tall ash top,
Or anxious calls, or close of trembling palms, Caild up a thousand thoughits to cnvelope
Or maiden's sigh, that grief itself embalms : Those who would watch. Perhaps, the trembling knee But in the self-same fixed trance he kept, And frantic gapre of lonely Niobe,
Like one who on the carth had never stept. Poor, lonely Niobe! when her lovely young
Aye, even as dead-still as a marble man,
Frozen in that old tale Arabian.
Who whispers him so pantingly and close ?
His friends, the dearest. Husling signs she made, Uplifting; his strong bow into the air,
And breathed a sister's sorrow to persuade Many might after brighter visions stare:
A yielding up, a cradling on her care. After the Argonauts, in blind amaze
Her cloquence did breathe away the curse : Tossing about on Neptune's restless ways,
She led him, like some midnight spirit nurse