Imatges de pÓgina
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amusement, part of it built 1400 years ago; and the more modern by a magnificent Man, you may have read of in our History, called William of Wickham. The whole town is beautifully wooded. From the Hill at the eastern extremity you see a prospect of Streets, and old Buildings mixed up with Trees. Then there are the most beautiful streams about I ever saw- V-full of Trout. There is the Foundation of St. Croix about half a mile in the fields—a charity greatly abused. We have a Collegiate School, a Roman catholic School; a chapel ditto and a Nunnery! And what improves it all is, the fashionable inhabitants are all gone to Southampton. We are quiet—except a fiddle that now and then goes like a gimlet through my Ears—our Landlady's son not being quite a Proficient. I have still been hard at work, having completed a Tragedy I think I spoke of to you. But there I fear all my labour will be thrown away for the present, as I hear Mr. Kean is going to America. For all I can guess I shall remain here till the middle of October—when Mr. Brown will return to his house at Hampstead; whither I shall return with him.

I some time since sent the Letter I told you I had received from George to Haslam with a request to let you and Mrs. Wylie see it: he sent it back to me for very insufficient reasons without doing so; and I was so irritated by it that I would not send it travelling about by the post any more : besides the postage is very expensive. I know Mrs. Wylie will think this a great neglect. I am sorry to say my temper gets the better of me-I will not send it again. Some correspondence I have had with Mr. Abbey about George's affairs—and I must confess he has behaved very kindly to me as far as the wording of his Letter went. Have you heard any further mention of his retiring from Business ? I am anxious to hear whether Hodgkinson, whose name I cannot bea to write, will in any likelihood be throw upon himself. The delightful Weather we have had for two Months is the highest gratification I could receive

no chill'd red noses—no shivering—but fair atmosphere to think in—a clean towel mark'd with the mangle and a basin of clear Water to drench one's face with ten times a day: no need of much exercise—a Mile a day being quite sufficient. My greatest regret is that I have not been well enough to bathe though I have been two Months by the seaside and live now close to delicious bathing — Still I enjoy the Weather-I adore fine Weather as the greatest blessing

I can have.

Give me Books, fruit, French wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors, played by somebody I do not knownot pay the price of one's time for a jig—but a little chance music: and I can pass a summer very quietly without caring much about Fat Louis, fat Regent or the Duke of Wellington. Why have you not written to me? Because you were in expectation of George's Letter and so waited ? Mr. Brown is copying out our Tragedy of Otho the Great in a superb style—better than it deserves

there as I said is labour in vain for the present. I had hoped to give Kean another opportunity to shine. What can we do now? There is not another actor of Tragedy in all London or Europe. The Covent Garden Company is execrable. Young is the best among them and he is a ranting coxcombical tasteless Actor—a Disgust, a Nausea — and yet the very best after Kean. What a set of barren asses are actors ! I should like now to promenade round your Gardens--apple tasting -pear-tasting-plum-judging--apricot-nibbling-peachscrunching-nectarine-sucking and Melon-carving. I have also a great feeling for antiquated cherries full of sugar cracks—and a white currant tree kept for company. I admire lolling on a lawn by a water lilied pond to eat white currants and see gold-fish : and go to the Fair in the Evening if I'm good. There is not hope for that-one is sure to get into some mess before evening. Have these hot days I brag of so much been well or ill for your health? Let me hear soon. Your affectionate Brother

JOHN

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CXIV.-TO JOHN TAYLOR.

Winchester, September 1, 1819. My dear Taylor-Brown and I have been employed for these 3 weeks past from time to time in writing to our different friends- 5-a dead silence is our only answer

-we wait morning after morning. Tuesday is the day for the Examiner to arrive, this is the 2d Tuesday which has been barren even of a newspaper—Men should be in imitation of spirits "responsive to each other's note.” Instead of that I pipe and no one hath danced. We have been cursing like Mandeville and Lisle-With this I shall send by the same post a 3d letter to a friend of mine, who though it is of consequence has neither answered right or left. We have been much in want of news from the Theatres, having heard that Kean is going to America—but no—not a word. Why I should come on you with all these complaints I cannot explain to myself, especially as I suspect you must be in the country. Do answer me soon for I really must know something. I must steer myself by the rudder of Information. Ever yours sincerely

JOHN KEATS.

CXV.--TO JOHN TAYLOR.

Winchester, September 5 (1819]. My dear Taylor- This morning I received yours of the 2d, and with it a letter from Hessey enclosing a Bank post Bill of £30, an ample sum I assure you—more I had no thought of.—You should not have delayed so long in Fleet St. — leading an inactive life as you did was breathing poison : you will find the country air do more for you than you expect.

But it must be proper country air. You must choose a spot. What sort of a place is Retford ? You should have a dry, gravelly, barren, elevated country, open to the currents of air, and such a place is generally furnished with the finest springs — The neighbourhood of a rich enclosed fulsome manured arable land, especially in a valley and almost as bad on a flat, would be almost as bad as the smoke of Fleet St. — Such a place as this was Shanklin, only open to the south-east, and surrounded by hills in every other direction. From this south-east came the damps of the sea ; which, having no egress, the air would for days together take on an unhealthy idiosyncrasy altogether enervating and weakening as a city smoke—I felt it very much. Since I have been here at Winchester I have been improving in health—it is not so confined—and there is on one side of the City a dry chalky down, where the air is worth Sixpence a pint. So if you do not get better at Retford, do not impute it to your own weakness before you have well considered the Nature of the air and soil—especially as Autumn is encroaching—for the Autumn fog over a rich land is like the steam from cabbage water. What makes the great difference between valesmen, flatlandmen and mountaineers ? The cultivation of the earth in a great measure—Our health temperament and disposition are taken more (notwithstanding the contradiction of the history of Cain and Abel) from the air we breathe, than is generally imagined. See the difference between a Peasant and a Butcher.—I am convinced a great cause of it is the difference of the air they breathe : the one takes his mingled with the fume of slaughter, the other from the dank exhalement from the glebe; the teeming damp that comes up from the plough-furrow is of great effect in taming the fierceness of a strong man-more than his labour-Let him be mowing furze upon a mountain, and at the day's end his thoughts will run upon a he ever had handled one; let him leave the plough, and he will think quietly of his supper.

Agriculture is the tamer of men—the steam from the earth is like drinking their Mother's milk—it enervates their nature—this appears a great cause of the imbecility of the Chinese: and if this sort of atmosphere is a mitigation to the energy

1 So copied by Woodhouse : query "battle-axe"?

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of a strong man, how much more must it injure a weak one unoccupied unexercised—For what is the cause of so many men maintaining a good state in Cities, but occupation-An idle man, a man who is not sensitively alive to self-interest in a city cannot continue long in good health. This is easily explained—If you were to walk leisurely through an unwholesome path in the fens, with a little horror of them, you would be sure to have your ague. But let Macbeth cross the same path, with the dagger in the air leading him on, and he would never have an ague or anything like it—You should give these things a serious consideration. Notts, I believe, is a flat county—You should be on the slope of one of the dry barren hills in Somersetshire. I am convinced there is as harmful air to be beathed in the country as in town. I am greatly obliged to you for your letter. Perhaps, if you had had strength and spirits enough, you would have felt offended by my offering a note of hand, or rather expressed it. However, I am sure you will give me credit for not in anywise mistrusting you ; or imagining that you would take advantage of any power I might give you over me. No-It proceeded from my serious resolve not to be a gratuitous borrower, from a great desire to be correct in money matters, to have in my desk the Chronicles of them to refer to, and know my worldly nonestate : besides in case of my death such documents would be but just, if merely as memorials of the friendly turns I had done to me-Had I known of your illness I should not have written in such fiery phrase in my first letter. I hope that shortly you will be able to bear six times as much. Brown likes the tragedy very much : But he is not a fit judge of it, as I have only acted as midwife to his plot; and of course he will be fond of his child. I do not think I can make you any extracts without spoiling the effect of the whole when you come to read it—I hope you will then not think my labour misspent. Since I finished it, I have finished Lamia, and am now occupied in revising St. Agnes's Eve, and study

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