The young Endymion sleeps Endymion's sleep; The shepherd-boy whose tale was left half told! The solemn grove uplifts its shield of gold To the red rising moon, and loud and deep The nightingale is singing from the steep; It is midsummer, but the air is cold; Can it be death?
Alas, beside the fold A shepherd's pipe lies shattered near his sheep. Lo! in the moonlight gleams a marble white, On which I read: "Here lieth one whose name Was writ in water." And was this the meed Of his sweet singing?
Rather let me write: "The smoking flax before it burst to flame Was quenched by death, and broken the bruised reed."Composition Date:
Dec. 4, 1873.
The lyrical form of this poem is abbaabbacdecde.1.
See Keats' poem Endymion, which tells of a youth searching for beauty who isrewarded by the moon goddess with unending sleep.
Keats with his own subject.5.
See Keats' poem Ode to a Nightingale. 10-11.
The epitaph Keats wrote for himself.13-14.
Isaiah 42.3: "A bruised reed shall he not break,and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shallbring forth judgment unto truth."