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this event in every way to undermine our freedom. They spread a horrid superstition against all innovation and improvement. The present struggle in England of the people is to destroy this superstition. What has roused them to do it is their distresses. Perhaps, on this account, the present distresses of this nation are a fortunate thing though so horrid in their experience. You will see I mean that the French Revolution put a temporary stop to this third change the change for the better-Now it is in progress again, and I think it is an effectual one. This is no contest between Whig and Tory, but between right and wrong. There is scarcely a grain of party spirit now in England. Right and wrong considered by each man abstractedly, is the fashion. I know very little of these things. I am convinced, however, that apparently small causes make great alterations. There are little signs whereby we may know how matters are going on. This makes the business of Carlisle the bookseller of great amount in my mind. He has been selling deistical pamphlets, republished Tom Paine, and many other works held in superstitious horror. He even has been selling, for some time, immense numbers of a work called The Deist, which comes out in weekly numbers. For this conduct he, I think, has had about a dozen indictments issued against him, for which he has found bail to the amount of many thousand pounds. After all, they are afraid to prosecute. They are afraid of his defence; it would be published in all the papers all over the empire. They shudder at this. The trials would light a flame they could not extinguish. Do you not think this of great import? You will hear by the papers of the proceedings at Manchester, and Hunt's triumphal entry into London. It would take me a whole day and a quire of paper to give you anything like detail. I will merely
mention that it is calculated that 30,000 people were in the streets waiting for him. The whole distance from the Angel at Islington to the Crown and Anchor was lined with multitudes.
As I passed Colnaghi's window I saw a profile portrait of Sandt, the destroyer of Kotzebue. His very look must interest every one in his favour.
I suppose they
have represented him in his college dress. me like a young Abelard-a fine mouth, cheek bones (and this is no joke) full of sentiment, a fine, unvulgar nose, and plump temples.
On looking over some letters I found the one I wrote, intended for you, from the foot of Helvellyn to Liverpool; but you had sailed, and therefore it was returned to me. It contained, among other nonsense, an acrostic of my sister's name and a pretty long name it is. I wrote it in a great hurry which you will see. Indeed I would not copy it if I thought it would ever be seen by any but yourselves.
Give me your patience, sister, while I frame
Or sue the fair Apollo, and he will
Rouse from his heavy slumber and instil
Imagine not that greatest mastery
And kingdom over all the realms of verse
Nears more to Heaven in aught than when we nurse
Anthropopagi in Othello's mood;
Ulysses storm'd, and his enchanted belt
Glowed with the Muse: but they are never felt
Such tender incense in their laurel shade
Kind sister! aye, this third name says you are;
Sons, daughters, and a home like honied hive.
I sent you in my first packet some of my Scotch letters. I find I have one kept back, which was written in the most interesting part of our tour, and will copy
part of it in the hope you will not find it unamusing. I would give now anything for Richardson's power of making mountains of molehills.
Incipit epistola caledoniensa
(I did not know the day of the month, for I find I have not added it. Brown must have been asleep). "Just after my last had gone to the post" (before I go any further, I must premise that I would send the identical letter, instead of taking the trouble to copy it; I do not do so, for it would spoil my notion of the neat manner in which I intend to fold these three genteel sheets. The original is written on coarse paper, and the soft one would ride in the post bag very uneasy. Perhaps there might be a quarrel)1
I ought to make a large "?" here, but I had better take the opportunity of telling you I have got rid of my haunting sore throat, and conduct myself in a manner not to catch another.
You speak of Lord Byron and me. There is this great difference between us: he describes what he seesI describe what I imagine. Mine is the hardest task; now see the immense difference. The Edinburgh Reviewers are afraid to touch upon my poem. They do not know what to make of it; they do not like to condemn it, and they will not praise it for fear. They are as shy of it as I should be of wearing a Quaker's hat. The fact is, they have no real taste. They dare not compromise their judgments on so puzzling a question. If on my
1 Keats here copies, with slight changes and abridgments, his letter to Tom of July 23, 1818 (see above, p. 147), ending with the lines written after visiting Staffa: as to which he adds, "I find I must keep memorandums of the verses I send you, for I do not remember whether I have sent the following lines upon Staffa. I hope not; 'twould be a horrid bore to you, especially after reading this dull specimen of description. For myself I hate descriptions. I would not send it if it were not mine."
next publication they should praise me, and so lug in Endymion, I will address them in a manner they will not at all relish. The cowardliness of the Edinburgh is more than the abuse of the Quarterly.
Monday [September 20].
This day is a grand day for Winchester. They elect the mayor. It was indeed high time the place should have some sort of excitement. There was nothing going on-all asleep. Not an old maid's sedan returning from a card party; and if any old women have got tipsy at christenings, they have not exposed themselves in the street. The first night, though, of our arrival here there was a slight uproar took place at about ten of the clock. We heard distinctly a noise patting down the street, as of a walking-cane of the good old dowager breed; and a little minute after we heard a less voice observe, "What a noise the ferril made-it must be loose." Brown wanted to call the constables, but I observed it was only a little breeze, and would soon pass over. The side streets here are excessively maiden-ladylike; the door-steps always fresh from the flannel. The knockers have a very staid, serious, nay almost awful quietness about them. I never saw so quiet a collection of lions' and rams' heads. The doors most part black, with a little brass handle just above the keyhole, so that you may easily shut yourself out of your own house. He! He! There is none of your Lady Bellaston ringing and rapping here; no thundering Jupiter-footmen, no opera-treble tattoos, but a modest lifting up of the knocker by a set of little wee old fingers that peep through the gray mittens, and a dying fall thereof. The great beauty of poetry is that it makes everything in every place interesting. The palatine Venice and the abbotine Winchester are equally interesting. Some time since I began a poem called "The Eve of St. Mark," quite in the spirit of town quietude. I think I will give you the sensation of walking about an old country
town in a coolish evening.
I know not whether I shall
ever finish it; I will give it as far as I have gone. Ut
THE EVE OF ST. MARK.
Upon a Sabbath-day it fell;
Twice holy was the Sabbath-bell,
The city streets were clean and fair
The bells had ceas'd, the prayers begun,
Perplex'd her with a thousand things,-
Azure saints and silver rays,
Moses' breastplate, and the seven
Candlesticks John saw in Heaven,
The winged Lion of St. Mark,
Dwelling in the old Minster-square;