Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
Endymion
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)
 
[From Poetical Works. 1887.]

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,        5
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,        10
      When, sleeping in the grove,
      He dreamed not of her love.
 
Like Dian’s kiss, unasked, unsought,
Love gives itself, but is not bought;
      Nor voice, nor sound betrays        15
      Its deep, impassioned gaze.
 
It comes,—the beautiful, the free,
The crown of all humanity,—
      In silence and alone
      To seek the elected one.        20
 
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!        25
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,        30
      But some heart, though unknown,
      Responds unto his own.
 
Responds,—as if with unseen wings,
An angel touched its quivering strings;
      And whispers, in its song,        35
      “Where hast thou stayed so long?”
 
 
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