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itary tendency to consumption. In the same letter to his brother Tom which contains the transcript of the Fingal poem, he speaks of a "slight sore throat," and of being obliged to rest for a day or two at Oban. Thence they pushed on in bad weather to Fort William, made the ascent of Ben Nevis in a dissolving mist, and so by the 6th of August to Inverness. Keats's throat had in the mean time been getting worse; the ascent, and especially the descent, of Ben Nevis had, as he confesses, tried him: feverish symptoms set in, and the doctor whom he consulted at Inverness thought his condition threatening, and forbade him to continue his tour. Accordingly he took passage on the 8th or 9th of August from the port of Cromarty for London, leaving his companion to pursue his journey alone "much lamenting," to quote Brown's own words, "the loss of his beloved intelligence at my side." Keats in some degree picked up strength during a nine days' sea passage, the humours of which he afterwards described pleasantly in a letter to his brother George. But his throat trouble, the premonitory sign of worse, never really or for any length of time left him afterwards. On the 18th of August he arrived at Hampstead, and made his appearance among his friends the next day, as brown and as shabby as you can imagine," writes Mrs. Dilke; 'scarcely any shoes left, his jacket all torn at the back, a fur cap, a great plaid, and his knapsack. I cannot tell what he looked like." When he found himself seated, for the first time after his hardships, in a comfortable stuffed chair, we are told how he expressed a comic enjoyment of the sensation, quoting at himself the words in which Quince the carpenter congratulates his gossip the weaver on his metamorphosis.'


1 Severn in Houghton MSS.


Simultaneously almost with Keats's return from the North appeared attacks on him in Blackwood's Magazine and the Quarterly Review. The Blackwood article, being No. IV. of a series bearing the signature "Z" on the "Cockney School of Poetry," was printed in the August number of the magazine. The previous articles of the same series, as well as a letter similarly signed, bad been directed against Leigh Hunt, in a strain of insult so preposterous as to be obviously inspired by the mere wantonness of partisan licence. It is not quite certain who wrote them, but there is every reason to believe that they were the work of Wilson, suggested and perhaps revised by the publisher, Willian Blackwood, at this time his own sole editor. Not content with attacking Hunt's opinions, or his real weaknesses as a writer or a man, his Edinburgh critics must needs heap on him the grossest accusations of vice and infamy. In the course of these articles allusion had several times been made to "Johnny Keats" as an "amiable bardling" and puling satellite of the arch-offender and king of Cockaigne, Hunt. When now Keats's own turn came his treatment was mild in comparison with that of his supposed leader. The strictures on his work are idle and offensive, but not more so than is natural to unsympathetic persons full of prejudice and wishing to hurt. "Cockney" had been in itself a fair enough label for a hostile critic to fasten upon Hunt; neither was it altogether inapplicable to Keats, having regard to the facts of his origin and training—that is, if we choose to forget that the measure of a man is not his experience, but the use he is able to make of it. The worst part of the Keats review was in its personalities-“so back to the shop, Mr. John, stick to'plasters, pills, ointment boxes,' etc."—and what made these worse was the manner in which the ma

terials for them had been obtained. Keats's friend Bailey had by this time taken his degree, and after publishing a friendly notice of Endymion in the Oxford Herald for June, had left the University and gone to settle in a curacy in Cumberland. In the course of the summer he staid at Stirling, at the house of Bishop Gleig, whose son, afterwards the well-known writer and Chaplain-general to the forces, was his friend, and whose daughter (a previous love-affair with one of the Reynold sisters having fallen through) he soon afterwards married. Here Bailey met Lockhart, then in the hey-day of his brilliant and bitter youth, lately admitted to the intimacy of Scott, and earning on the staff of Blackwood and otherwise the reputation and the nickname of "Scorpion." Bailey, anxious to save Keats from the sort of treatment to which Hunt had already been exposed, took the opportunity of telling Lockhart in a friendly way his circumstances and history, explaining at the same time that his attachment to Leigh Hunt was personal and not political, pleading that he should not be made an object of party denunciation, and ending with the request that, at any rate, what had been thus said in confidence should not be used to his disadvantage. To which Lockhart replied that certainly it should not be so used by him. Within three weeks the article appeared, making use, to all appearance, and to Bailey's great indignation, of the very facts he had thus confidentially communicated.

To the end of his life Bailey remained convinced that whether or not Lockhart himself wrote the piece, he must, at any rate, have prompted and supplied the materials for it. It seems, in fact, all but certain that he actually wrote

1 Houghton MSS.

it.' If so, it was a felon stroke on Lockhart's part, and to forgive him we must needs remember all the gratitude that is his due for his filial allegiance to, and his immortal biography of, Scott. But even in that connection our grudge against him revives again, since, in the party violence of the time and place, Scott himself was drawn into encouraging the savage polemics of his young Edinburgh friends, and that he was in some measure privy to the Cockney School outrages seems certain. Such, at least, was the impression prevailing at the time; and when Severn, who did not know it, years afterwards innocently approached the subject of Keats and his detractors in conversation with Scott at Rome, he observed both in Scott and his daughter signs of pain and confusion which he could only interpret in the same sense. It is hard to say whether the thought of the great-hearted Scott, the soul most free from jealousy or harshness, thus associated with an act of stupid cruelty to genius, is one to make us the more indignant against those who so misled him, or the more patient of mistakes committed by commoner spirits among the distracting cries and blind collisions of the world.

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The Quarterly article on Endymion followed in the last week of September (in the number dated April), and was in an equally contemptuous strain, the writer pro

1 Dilke (in a MS. note to his copy of Lord Houghton's Life and Letters, ed. 1848) states positively that Lockhart afterwards owned as much; and there are tricks of style-e.g., the use of the Spanish Sangrado for doctor-which seem distinctly to betray his hand.

2 Leigh Hunt at first believed that Scott himself was the writer, and Haydon to the last fancied it was Scott's faithful satellite, the actor Terry.

3 Severn in the Atlantic Monthly, vol. ii.,
p. 401.

fessing to have been unable to read beyond the first canto, or to make head or tail of that. In this case again the question of authorship must remain uncertain; but Gifford as editor, and an editor who never shrank from cutting a contributor's work to his own pattern, must bear the responsibility with posterity. The review is quite in his manner, that of a man insensible to the higher chạrm of poetry, incapable of judging it except by mechanical rule and precedent, and careless of the pain he gives. Considering the perfect modesty and good judgment with which Keats had, in his preface, pointed out the weaknesses of his own work, the attacks are both alike inexcusable. They had the effect of promptly rousing the poet's friends in his defence. Reynolds published a warm rejoinder to the Quarterly reviewer in a West-country paper, the Alfred; an indignant letter on the same side appeared in the Morning Chronicle with the initials J. S.-those probably of John Scott, then editor of the London Magazine, and soon afterwards killed by a friend of Lockhart's in a duel arising out of these very Blackwood brawls, in which it was thought that Lockhart himself ought to have come forward. Leigh Hunt reprinted Reynolds's letter, with some introductory words, in the Examiner, and later in his life regretted that he had not done more. But he could not have done more to any purpose. He was not himself an enthusiastic admirer of Endymion, and had plainly said so to Keats and to his friends. Reynolds's piece, which he reprinted, was quite effective and to the point; and, moreover, any formal defence of Keats by Hunt would only have increased the virulence of his enemies, as they both perfectly well knew; folly and spite being always ready to cry out that praise of a friend by a friend must needs be interested or blind.

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