Keats and Wilde
The poet John Keats published his poem ‘Endymion’ in 1818. The opening lines contain some of the best known poetry in the English language:
‘A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.’
Portrait of the poet John Keats by William Hilton.
Oscar Wilde also wrote a poem entitled Endymion. But it is in another of his poems, The Garden of Eros, that he encapsulates the allegory of the myth, especially from a modern perspective (and with a smile):
'Methinks these new Actaeons boast too soon
That they have spied on beauty; what if we
Have analysed the rainbow, robbed the moon
Of her most ancient, chastest mystery,
Shall I, the last Endymion, lose all hope
Because rude eyes peer at my mistress through a telescope!'