The rising moon has hid the stars;
Her level rays, like golden bars,
Lie on the landscape green,
With shadows brown between.
And silver white the river gleams,
As if Diana, in her dreams,
Had dropt her silver bow
Upon the meadows low.
On such a tranquil night as this,
She woke Endymion with a kiss,
When, sleeping in the grove,
He dreamed not of her love.
Like Dian’s kiss, unasked, unsought,
Love gives itself, but is not bought;
Her voice, nor sound betrays
Its deep, impassioned gaze.
It comes,—the beautiful, the free,
The crown of all humanity,—
In silence and alone
To seek the elected one.
It lifts the boughs, whose shadows deep,
Are Life’s oblivion, the soul’s sleep,
And kisses the closed eyes
Of him, who slumbering lies.
O, weary hearts! O, slumbering eyes!
O, drooping souls, whose destinies
Are fraught with fear and pain,
Ye shall be loved again!
No one is so accursed by fate,
No one so utterly desolate,
But some heart, though unknown,
Responds unto his own.
Responds,—as if with unseen wings,
A breath from heaven had touched its strings
And whispers, in its song,
“Where hast thou stayed so long!”
This poem is in the public domain.
About this Poem
“Endymion” was published in Ballads and Other Poems (John Owen, 1841).
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the "Fireside Poets," wrote lyrical poems about history, mythology, and legend that were popular and widely translated, making him the most famous American of his day.
Date Published: 2016-08-27
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/endymion