Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 8/Endymion on Latmos

Once a Week, Series 1, Volume VIII  (1863) 
Endymion on Latmos
by R. N. Smith


High on the Latmian hills, with the twilight deepening round him, Couched in a mossy dell Endymion lay in his beauty,
Lulled into sleep by the sound of the pines, and the voice of the mountain
Streamlet that leaped down the vales and took all the echoes with laughter.
Silently, ’mid the reeds, his flocks were feeding around him,
Flocks of sheep, and dewy-eyed kine, and goats nimble-footed.
Beautiful as a dream, Endymion lay on the mountain,
Beautiful as a dream, in the purple glory of evening.

Slowly, on all the hills, the broad-winged darkness descended,
Slowly the stars came out in the silent measureless heaven.
Solemn, in silvery beauty, one moonbeam stole on the woodland,
Deeply slumbered the shepherd alone on shadowy Latmos.

Solemn in silvery beauty, one moonbeam stole o’er the woodland,
Stole o’er the bosky dells, and touched the side of the mountain,
Slowly it crept up the sward to where, under the whispering pine-trees,
Deeply slumbered the shepherd, alone on shadowy Latmos.

Rested the silvery moonbeam and streamed on his marvellous beauty,
Streamed on his golden hair and forehead’s roseate marble,
Streamed on his limbs of snow, out-stretched by the glimmering waters.
Fair as the twilight star, or Phosphor that heralds the morning,
Fair as the boy Ganymede, that dwells with the happy immortals,
Was he, the youth on whom Artemis gazed on shadowy Latmos.

Endymion (Millais).png

Shepherds beware of Selené; ah! cold is the smile of Selené,
Beautiful on the hills is the light of starry Selené,
Beautiful, cruel, and cold is the glance of starry Selene;
Chilled to the heart by her kiss, Endymion slumbers on Latmos,
Never again to awake, ah, me! to the glory of living.

Ai, that the gifts of the gods should be so fatal to mortals!
Year follows year, and race follows race, but Endymion wakes not.

Maids in the Latmian valleys bewailed for the beautiful shepherd,
Wept for his golden hair, and his ready foot in the Choros,
Wept for the summer eves when they wandered with him on the hillside.

Men in the Latmian valleys lamented the swift-footed shepherd.
Missed his sure spear in the chase, and skilful arm in the Discos,
Missed his glad pipe on the hills, with the low of the home-coming heifers.

Dim grew his name as a dream, and never again in the woodland,
Never again on the hills, was seen the beautiful shepherd.
Ai, that the gifts of the gods should be so fatal to mortals!

R. N. S.