« AnteriorContinua »
TO LEIGH HUNT
April 18th. only ten lines — I hope all is well — I shall Will you have the goodness to do this ? forthwith begin my Endymion, which I Borrow a Botanical Dictionary - turn to hope I shall have got some way with by the the words Laurel and Prunus, show the ex- time you come, when we will read our planations to your sisters and Mrs. Dilke
verses in a delightful place I have set my and without more ado let them send me the heart upon, near the Castle. Give my
Love Cups Basket and Books they trifled and to your Sisters severally- to George and put off and off while I was in town. Ask Tom. Remember me to Rice, Mr. and them what they can say for themselves Mrs. Dilke and all we know. ask Mrs. Dilke wherefore she does so dis- Your sincere Friend JOHN KEATS. tress me let me know how Jane has her Direct J. Keats, Mrs. Cook's, New Vilhealth - the Weather is unfavourable for lage, Carisbrooke. her. Tell George and Tom to write. I'll tell you what -– on the 23d was Shakspeare
7. born. Now if I should receive a letter from you and another from my Brothers on that
Margate, May 10, 1817. day't would be a parlous good thing. When- MY DEAR HUNT — The little gentleman ever you write say a word or two on some that sometimes lurks in a gossip's bowl, Passage in Shakspeare that may have come ought to have come in the very likeness of rather new to you, which must be con- a roasted crab, and choaked me outright for tinually happening, notwithstanding that not answering your letter ere this: howwe read the same Play forty times — for ever, you must not suppose that I was in instance, the following from the Tempest town to receive it: no, it followed me to the never struck me so forcibly as at present, Isle of Wight, and I got it just as I was
'Urchins going to pack up for Margate, for reasons Shall, for the vast of night that they may work, which you anon shall hear. On arriving at All exercise on thee
this treeless affair, I wrote to my brother How can I help bringing to your mind the George to request C. C. C. to do the thing line
you wot of respecting Rimini; and George In the dark backward and abysm of time –
tells me he has undertaken it with great I find I cannot exist without Poetry –
pleasure; so I hope there has been an unwithout eternal Poetry - half the day will
derstanding between you for many proofs: not do the whole of it - I began with a
C. C. C. is well acquainted with Bensley. little, but habit has made me a Leviathan.
Now why did you not send the key of your I had become all in a Tremble from not cupboard, which, I know, was full of pahaving written anything of late the Son- / pers? We would have locked them all in net overleaf did me good. I slept the better
trunk, together with those you told me last night for it — this Morning, however,
to destroy, which indeed I did not do, for I am nearly as bad again. Just now I
fear of demolishing receipts, there not being opened Spenser, and the first Lines I saw
a more unpleasant thing in the world (saving were these
a thousand and one others) than to pay a
bill twice. Mind you, old Wood 's a 'very "The noble heart that harbours virtuous
varmint,' shrouded in covetousness: and thought, And is with child of glorious great intent,
now I am upon a horrid subject — what a Can never rest until it forth have brought horrid one you were upon last Sunday, and Th' eternal brood of glory excellent
well you handled it. The last Examiner Let me know particularly about Haydon, was a battering-ram against Christianity, ask him to write to me about Hunt, if it be blasphemy, Tertullian, Erasmus, Sir Philip
Sidney; and then the dreadful Petzelians you a fine dance. Where are you now? and their expiation by blood; and do Chris- in Judea, Cappadocia, or the parts of Libya tians shudder at the same thing in a news- about Cyrene? Stranger from Heaven, paper which they attribute to their God in Hues, and Prototypes,' I wager you have its most aggravated form? What is to be given several new turns to the old saying, the end of this? I must mention Hazlitt's Now the maid was fair and pleasant to Southey. O that he had left out the grey look on,' as well as made a little variation hairs; or that they had been in any other in “Once upon a time.' Perhaps, too, you paper not concluding with such a thunder- have rather varied, “Here endeth the first clap! That sentence about making a page lesson.' Thus I hope you have made a of the feeling of a whole life, appears to me horseshoe business of 'unsuperfluous life,' like a whale's back in the sea of prose. *faint bowers,' and fibrous roots. I ought to have said a word on Shak- that I have been down in the mouth lately speare's Christianity. There are two which at this work. These last two days, howI have not looked over with you, touching ever, I have felt more confident - I have the thing: the one for, the other against: asked myself so often why I should be a that in favour is in Measure for Measure, poet more than other men, seeing how Act II. Scene ii.
great a thing it is, — how great things are
to be gained by it, what a thing to be in Isab. Alas, alas ! Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once;
the mouth of Fame, that at last the idea And He that might the 'vantage best have took, has grown so monstrously beyond my seemFound out the remedy.
ing power of attainment, that the other day That against is in Twelfth Night, Act III.
I nearly consented with myself to drop into Scene ii.
a. Phaethon. Yet 't is a disgrace to fail,
even in a huge attempt; and at this moMaria. For there is no Christian that means ment I drive the thought from me. I began to be saved by believing rightly, can ever believe such impossible passages of grossness.
my poem about a fortnight since, and have
done some every day, except travelling Before I come to the Nymphs, I must ones. J Perhaps I may have done a good get through all disagreeables. I went to deal for the time, but it appears such a the Isle of Wight, thought so much about pin's point to me, that I will not copy any poetry, so long together, that I could not out. When I consider that so many of get to sleep at night; and, moreover, I know these pin-points go to form a bodkin-point not how it was, I could not get wholesome (God send I end not my life with a bare food. By this means, in a week or so, I be- bodkin, in its modern sense!), and that it came not over capable in my upper stories, requires a thousand bodkins to make a spear and set off pell-mell for Margate, at least bright enough to throw any light to posa hundred and fifty miles, because, forsooth, terity, I see nothing but continual uphill I fancied that I should like my old lodging journeying. Now is there anything more here, and could contrive to do without trees. unpleasant (it may come among the thouAnother thing, I was too much in soli- sand and one) than to be so journeying and tude, and consequently was obliged to be in to miss the goal at last? But I intend to continual burning of thought, as an only whistle all these cogitations into the sea,
However, Tom is with me at where I hope they will breed storms violent present, and we are very comfortable. We enough to block up all exit from Russia. intend, though, to get among some trees. Does Shelley go on telling strange stories How have you got on among them? How of the deaths of kings ?? Tell him, there are the Nymphs ? I suppose they have led are strange stories of the deaths of poets.
TO BENJAMIN ROBERT HAYDON
Some have died before they were con- them. I am one that 'gathers Samphire, ceived. • How do you make that out, dreadful trade' the Cliff of Poesy Master Vellum ?' Does Mrs. S. cut bread towers above me - yet when Tom who and butter as neatly as ever ? Tell her to meets with some of Pope's Homer in Pluprocure some fatal scissors, and cut the tarch's Lives reads some of those to me thread of life of all to-be-disappointed they seem like Mice to inine. I read and poets. Does Mrs. Hunt tear linen as write about eight hours a day. There is an straight as ever ? Tell her to tear from old saying 'well begun is half done' the book of life all blank leaves. Remem- 't is a bad one. I would use instead, .Not ber me to them all; to Miss Kent and the begun at all till half done;' so according to little ones all.
that I have not begun my Poem and conseYour sincere Friend
quently (à priori) can say nothing about it. JOHN KEATS alias JUNKETS. Thank God! I do begin arduously where You shall hear where we move.
I leave off, notwithstanding occasional depressions ; and I hope for the support of
a High Power while I climb this little emi8.
nence, and especially in my Years of more Margate, Saturday Eve [May 10, 1817].
momentous Labour. I remember your sayMY DEAR HAYDON,
you had notions of a good Genius 'Let Fame, that all pant after in their lives,
presiding over you. I have of late had the Live register'd upon our brazen tombs,
same thought, for things which I do half at And so grace us in the disgrace of death: Random are afterwards confirmed by my When spite of cormorant devouring Time judgment in a dozen features of Propriety. The endeavour of this present breath may buy
Is it too daring to fancy Shakspeare this That Honour which shall bate his Scythe's keen
Presider ? When in the Isle of Wight I met edge And make us heirs of all eternity.'
with a Shakspeare in the Passage of the Love's Labour 's Lost, I. i. 1–7.
House at which I lodged — it comes nearer
to my idea of him than any I have seen — To think that I have no right to couple I was but there a Week, yet the old woman myself with you in this speech would be made me take it with me though I went off death to me, so I have e'en written it, and in a hurry. Do you not think this is omiI pray God that our brazen tombs' be nous of good ? I am glad you say every nigh neighbours. It cannot be long first ; man of great views is at times tormented the endeavour of this present breath' will as I am. soon be over, and yet it is as well to breathe
Sunday after [May 11] freely during our sojourn — it is as well This Morning I received a letter from as if you have not been teased with that George by which it appears that Money Money affair, that bill-pestilence. How- Troubles are to follow us up for some time ever, I must think that difficulties nerve to come — perhaps for always — these vexathe Spirit of a Man — they make our Prime tions are a great hindrance to one — they Objects a Refuge as well as a Passion. The are not like Envy and detraction stimulants Trumpet of Fame is as a tower of Strength, to further exertion as being immediately the ambitious bloweth it and is safe. I sup
relative and reflected on at the same time pose, by your telling me not to give way to with the prime object — but rather like a forebodings, George has mentioned to you nettle leaf or two in your bed. So now I what I have lately said in my Letters to revoke my Promise of finishing my Poem him truth is I have been in such a state by the Autumn which I should have done of Mind as to read over my Lines and hate had I gone on as I have done — but I can
not write while my spirit is fevered in a that of a galley Slave — what you
observe contrary direction and I am now sure of thereon is very true must be in tine. having plenty of it this Summer. At this Perhaps it is a self-delusion to say so moment I am in no enviable Situation - but I think I could not be deceived in the I feel that I am not in a Mood to write manner that Hunt is
may I die to any to-day; and it appears that the loss of morrow if I am to be. There is no greater it is the beginning of all sorts of irregu- Sin after the seven deadly than to flatter larities. I am extremely glad that a time oneself into an idea of being a great Poet must come when everything will leave not - or one of those beings who are privileged a wrack behind. You tell ne never to to wear out their Lives in the pursuit of despair - I wish it was as easy for me to Honor – how comfortable a feel it is to feel observe the saying - truth is I have a that such a Crime must bring its heavy horrid Morbidity of Temperament which Penalty ? That if one be a Self-deluder has shown itself at intervals it is I have accounts must be balanced ? I am glad no doubt the greatest Enemy and stumbling- you are hard at Work — 't will now soon block I have to fear I
may even say that be done — I long to see Wordsworth's as it is likely to be the cause of my disappoint- well as to have mine in: 8 but I would ment. However every ill has its share of rather not show my face in Town till the good — this very bane would at any time end of the Year - if that will be time enable me to look with an obstinate eye on enough — if not I shall be disappointed if the Devil Himself — aye to be as proud of you do not write for me even when you being the lowest of the human race as think best. I never quite despair and I read Alfred could be in being of the highest. Shakspeare — indeed I shall I think never I feel confident I should have been a rebel read any other Book much. Now this might angel had the opportunity been mine. I am lead me into a long Confab but I desist. very sure that you do love me as your very I am very near agreeing with Hazlitt that Brother I have seen it in your continual Shakspeare is enough for us. By the by anxiety for me — and I assure you that what a tremendous Southean article his last your welfare and fame is and will be a
I wish he had left out 'grey hairs.' chief pleasure to me all my Life. I know It was very gratifying to meet your reno one but you who can be fully sensible of marks on the manuscript — I was reading the turmoil and anxiety, the sacrifice of all Anthony and Cleopatra when I got the what is called comfort, the readiness to Paper and there are several Passages apmeasure time by what is done and to die in plicable to the events you commentate. six hours could plans be brought to conclu
say that he arrived by degrees and not sions — the looking upon the Sun, the Moon, by any single struggle to the height of his the Stars, the Earth and its contents, as ambition — and that his Life had been as materials to form greater things — that is common in particulars as other Men's. to say ethereal things — but here I am Shakspeare makes Enobarb say talking like a Madman, greater things than our Creator himself made !!
Where's Antony ?
Eros. I wrote to Hunt yesterday — scarcely
He's walking in the garden, and
spurns know what I said in it. I could not talk
The rush that lies before him ; cries, Fool, Le. about Poetry in the way I should have liked pidus! for I was not in humor with either his or mine. His self-delusions are very lament
In the same scene we find able — they have enticed him into a Situa
Let determined things tion which I should be less eager after than To destiny hold unbewailed their way.
of Anthony's Messenger, Shield Cuirass, Cuisses Herbadgeon Spear An argument that he is pluck'd when hither
Casque Greaves Paldrons spurs Chevron or He sends so poor a pinion of his wing.
any other scaly commodity, but he need Then again
only take the Bank-note of Faith and Cash
of Salvation, and set out against the monEno. -- I see Men's Judgments are
ster, invoking the aid of no Archimago or A parcel of their fortunes; and things outward
Urganda, but finger me the paper, light as Do draw the inward quality after them, To suffer all alike.
the Sibyl's leaves in Virgil, whereat the
fiend skulks off with his tail between his The following applies well to Bertrand 9
legs. Touch him with this enchanted paper, Yet he that can endure
and he whips you his head away as fast To follow with allegiance a fallen Lord,
as a snail's horn but then the horrid Does conquer him that did his Master conquer, And earns a place i' the story.
propensity he has to put it up again has
discouraged many very valiant Knights. He But how differently does Buonaparte bear
is such a never-ending still-beginning sort his fate from Anthony !
of a body — like my landlady of the Bell. 'Tis good, too, that the Duke of Welling- I should conjecture that the very spright ton has a good Word or so in the Examiner.
that 'the green sour ringlets makes WhereA man ought to have the Fame he deserves
of the ewe not bites' had manufactured it - and I begin to think that detracting of the dew fallen on said sour ringlets. I from him as well as from Wordsworth is think I could make a nice little allegorical the same thing. I wish he had a little more
called "The Dun,' where we would taste and did not in that respect deal have the Castle of Carelessness, the drawin Lieutenantry. You should have heard
bridge of credit, Sir Novelty Fashion's from me before this — but in the first place expedition against the City of Tailors, etc. I did not like to do so before I had got a etc. I went day by day at my poem for a little way in the First Book, and in the
Month — at the end of which time the other next as G. told me you were going to write
day I found my Brain so over-wrought that I delayed till I had heard from you. Give I had neither rhyme nor reason in it — so my Respects the next time you write to the
was obliged to give up for a few days. I North and also to John Hunt. Remember
hope soon to be able to resume my work – me to Reynolds and tell him to write. Ay, I have endeavoured to do so once or twice; and when you send Westward tell your
but to no purpose. Instead of Poetry, I Sister that I mentioned her in this. So now
have a swimming in my head and feel all in the name of Shakspeare, Raphael and the effects of a Mental debauch, lowness of all our Saints, I commend you to the care
Spirits, anxiety to go on without the power of heaven !
to do so, which does not at all tend to my Your everlasting Friend John KEATS.
ultimate progression. However tomorrow I will begin my next month. This evening I go to Canterbury, having got tired of
Margate. I was not right in my head when Margate, May 16, 1817.
At Canterbury I hope the rememMY DEAR SIRS --I am extremely indebted brance of Chaucer will set me forward like to you for your liberality in the shape of a Billiard Ball. I am glad to hear of Mr. manufactured rag, value £20, and shall im- T.'s health, and of the welfare of the “Inmediately proceed to destroy some of the town-stayers.' And think Reynolds will minor heads of that hydra the dun; to con- like his Trip — I have some idea of seeing quer which the knight need have no Sword the Continent some time this summer. In
TO MESSRS. TAYLOR AND HESSEY