Asphodel Sleep

I was in love, you know.

I came walking by the river,

Among the fields of grass,

In the quiet land of Latmos.

The flowers were in bloom,

Shining like the palms of the sun.

There were swans by the pond,

Sitting lazily on the ground.

I was so enchanted

When I came to the small valley,

My heart leaped within me,

And I felt peace like no other.

The temple was marble:

Such a beautiful carved structure.

It gleamed in the gold rays

Of the glorious setting sun.

And that’s when I saw you–

O Endymion, the Stunning!

My heart beat violently,

And I was lost to your beauty.

Ode to the gracious Fates,

That they might bring us together!

That I might find you there,

Asleep in that peaceful valley!

I touched your graceful hand,

And your eyes opened into mine.

There was a breathless pause,

And I was taken by your smile.

“Hello, gentle Lady.

What brings you to my napping place?”

Your face was kind and sweet;

And I felt possessed to kiss you.

“I am just wandering.

I may not stay here much longer.”

I gave you a smile.

“Will you come wandering with me?”

Your expression soured.

“I apologize, dear Lady,

But I cannot wander–

Not from my beloved valley.”

I came back every day,

To ask you my love-struck request,

And every day you said,

“Not from my beloved valley.”

I waited there for you;

Watching your hazy face sleeping.

Why wouldn’t you say yes?

Why couldn’t you have just said yes?

Summer drew to a close,

And a shadow passed over me.

I was tired of it:

The slow days of anxious waiting.

I soon became angry,

And ran down the hill to find you.

“Endymion, come now!

I cannot stay here anymore.

Come away from this place,

To greater lands and smoother waters.”

Your eyes glimmered with tears

As you took my hand inside yours.

“I cannot, sweet Selene.

Not from my beloved valley.”

And my heart was shattered,

And I pulled far away from you.

“I waited here for you!

For you to be ready to leave!”

Hot tears streamed down my face;

My breath fogged in the chilly air.

“If you won’t come with me,

Then you shall sleep and never wake!”

I ran away in haste,

Made frantic by my aching heart.

I kept hidden from sight,

And I was absent for a time.

Your face is still as lax,

Your hair is just as beautiful.

But I know you’ll ne’er wake,

And your sparkling eyes won’t open.

I come to see you now,

But not because I pity you.

This is your punishment,

And my heart no longer suffers.


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