Endymion: A Poetic Romance

by John Keats

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What year was "Endymion" published?

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One of John Keats' most well-loved poems, "Endymion" was first published in 1818, three years before Keats' untimely death at the age of 26. The first line of the poem, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever" speaks to a thematic element that runs through much of this poet's work, and solidified his reputation as one of the finest of the Romantic writers. This theme of beauty and joy was a constant one, as Keats wrote many poems and odes praising the beauty of nature and the sublime emotions one could experience when contemplating it or spending time outdoors.

Endymion is also a poem in the pastoral tradition; that is, it glorifies and valorizes the live simply lived in the outdoors, quite literally the life of the pasture, such as the life lived by shepherds, hunters and farmers. The concept of Arcadia, a natural paradise of Greco-Roman mythology, is also described in this poem, along with the forest god Pan. Endymion refers to a shepherd and hunter who was said to rule in Olympia, the land of the ancient gods whose stories were beloved by the Romantics, including Keats.


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