Bion was born in Smyrna, or in a neighbouring village named Phlossa, and may have died at some date not far from 250 B.C. The statement of Moschus that Bion was poisoned by certain enemies appears to be intended as an assertion of actual fact. Of Moschus nothing distinct is known, beyond his being a native of Sicily.
AN ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF JOHN KEATS,
Author of Endymion, Hyperion, etc.
Astaer prin men elampes eni zooisin eoos.
Nun de thanon lampeis esperos en phthimenois.]
Pharmakon aelthe Bion poti son stoma, pharmakon eides.
Pos teu tois cheilessi potedrame kouk eglukanthae;
Tis de Brotos tossouton anameros ae kerasai toi,
Ae dounai laleonti to pharmakon; ekphugen odan.]
MOSCHUS, EPITAPH. BION.
It is my intention to subjoin to the London edition of this poem a criticism upon the claims of its lamented object to be classed among the writers of the highest genius who have adorned our age. 15 My known repugnance to the narrow principles of taste on which several of his earlier compositions were modelled proves at least that I am an impartial judge. I consider the fragment of Hyperion as second to nothing that was ever produced by a writer of the same years. 20
John Keats died at Rome of a consumption, in his twenty-fourth year, on the [23rd] of [February] 1821; and was buried in the romantic and lonely cemetery of the protestants in that city, under the pyramid which is the tomb of Cestius, and the massy walls and towers, now mouldering and desolate, which formed the circuit of 25 ancient Rome. The cemetery is an open space among the ruins, covered in winter with violets and daisies. It might make one in love with death to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place.
30 The genius of the lamented person to whose memory I have dedicated these unworthy verses was not less delicate and fragile than it was beautiful; and, where canker-worms abound, what wonder if its young flower was blighted in the bud? The savage criticism on his Endymion which appeared in the Quarterly Review produced the 35 most violent effect on his susceptible mind. The agitation thus originated ended in the rupture of a blood-vessel in the lungs; a rapid consumption ensued; and the succeeding acknowledgments, from more candid critics, of the true greatness of his powers, were ineffectual to heal the wound thus wantonly inflicted.