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writing or fretting about my non-estate. I have no quarrel, I assure you, of so weighty a nature, with the world, on my own account as I have on yours. I have done nothing—except for the amusement of a few people who refine upon their feelings till anything in the ununderstandable way will go down with them— people predisposed for sentiment. I have no cause to complain because I am certain anything really fine will in these days be felt. I have no doubt that if I had written Othello I should have been cheered by as good a mob as Hunt. So would you be now if the operation of painting was as universal as that of Writing. It is not : and therefore it did behove men I could mention among whom I must place Sir George Beaumont to have lifted you up above sordid cares. That this has not been done is a disgrace to the country. I know very little of Painting, yet your pictures follow me into the Country. When I am tired of reading I often think them over and as often condemn the spirit of modern Connoisseurs. Upon the whole, indeed, you have no complaint to make, being able to say what so few Men can, “I have succeeded.” On sitting down to write a few lines to you these are the uppermost in my mind, and, however I may be beating about the arctic while your spirit has passed the line, you may lay to a minute and consider I am earnest as far as I can see. Though at this present “I have great dispositions to write ” I feel every day more and more content to read. Books are becoming more interesting and valuable to me. I may say I could not live without them. If in the course of a fortnight you can procure me a ticket to the British Museum I will make a better use of it than I did in the first instance. I shall go on with patience in the confidence that if I ever do anything worth remembering the Reviewers will no more be able to stumble-block me than the Royal Academy could you. They have the same quarrel with you that the Scotch nobles had with Wallace. The fame they have lost through you is no joke to them. Had it not been for you Fuseli would have been not as he is major but maximus domo. What Reviewers can put a hindrance to must be—a nothing-or mediocre which is worse. I am sorry to say that since I saw you I have been guilty of a practical joke upon Brown which has had all the success of an innocent Wildfire among people. Some day in the next week you shall hear it from me by word of Mouth. I have not seen the portentous Book which was skummer'd at you just as I left town. It may be light enough to serve you as a Cork Jacket and save you for a while the trouble of swimming. I heard the Man went raking and rummaging about like any Richardson. That and the Memoirs of Menage are the first I shall be at. From Sr. G. B.'s, Lord Msl and particularly Sr. John Leicesters good lord deliver us. I shall expect to see your Picture plumped out like a ripe Peach—you would not be very willing to give me a slice of it. I came to this place in the hopes of meeting with a Library but was disappointed. The High Street is as quiet as a Lamb. The knockers are dieted to three raps per diem. The walks about are interesting from the many old Buildings and archways. The view of the High Street through the Gate of the City in the beautiful September evening light has amused me frequently. The bad singing of the Cathedral I do not care to smoke-being by myself I am not very coy in my taste. At St. Cross there is an interesting picture of Albert Dürer's—who living in such warlike times perhaps was forced to paint in his Gauntletsso we must make all allowances. I am, my dear Haydon, Yours ever
Brown has a few words to say to you and will cross this.
1 Sir George Beaumonts and Lord Mulgraves : compare Hay. don's Life and Correspondence.
CXXIII.—TO FANNY KEATS.
Wentworth Place 1 (October 16, 1819]. My dear Fanny-My Conscience is always reproaching me for neglecting you for so long a time. I have been returned from Winchester this fortnight, and as yet I have not seen you.
I have no excuse to offer—I should have
I shall expect to see you the next time I call on Mr. A. about George's affairs which perplex me a great deal—I should have to-day gone to see if you were in town—but as I am in an industrious humour (which is so necessary to my livelihood for the future) I am loath to break through it though it be merely for one day, for when I am inclined I can do a great deal in a day—I am more fond of pleasure than study (many men have prefer'd the latter) but I have become resolved to know something which you will credit when I tell you I have left off animal food that my brains may never henceforth be in a greater mist than is theirs by nature-I took lodgings in Westminster for the purpose of being in the reach of Books, but am now returned to Hampstead being induced to it by the habit I have acquired in this room I am now in and also from the pleasure of being free from paying any petty attentions to a diminutive house-keeping. Mr. Brown has been my great friend for some time—with
1 In the interval between the last letter and this, Keats had tried the experiment of living alone in Westminster lodgings, and failed. After a visit to his beloved at Hampstead, he could keep none of his wise resolutions, but wrote to her, “I can think of nothing else . . . I cannot exist without you you have absorb’d
... I shall be able to do nothing—I should like to cast the die for Love or Death—I have no patience with anything else and at the end of a week he had gone back to live next door to her with Brown at Wentworth Place. Here he quickly fell into that state of feverish despondency and recklessness to which his friends, especially Brown, have borne witness, and the signs of which are perceptible in his letters of the time, and still more in his verse, viz. the remodelled Hyperion and the Cap and Bells : see Keats (Men of Letters Series), pp. 180-190.
out him I should have been in, perhaps, personal distress —as I know you love me though I do not deserve it, I am sure you will take pleasure in being a friend to Mr. Brown even before you know him.—My lodgings for two or three days were close in the neighbourhood of Mrs. Dilke who never sees me but she enquires after you—I have had letters from George lately which do not contain, as I think I told you in my last, the best news—I have hopes for the best I trust in a good termination to his affairs which you please God will soon hear of — It is better you should not be teased with the particulars. The whole amount of the ill news is that his mercantile speculations have not had success in consequence of the general depression of trade in the whole province of Kentucky and indeed all America.—I have a couple of shells for you you will call pretty. Your affectionate Brother
CXXIV.—TO JOSEPH SEVERN.
Wentworth Place, Wednesday
[October 27 ? 1819]. Dear Severn-Either your joke about staying at home is a very old one or I really call’d. I don't remember doing so. I am glad to hear you have finish'd the Picture and am more anxious to see it than I have time to spare : for I have been so very lax, unemployed, unmeridian'd, and objectless these two months that I even grudge indulging (and that is no great indulgence considering the Lecture is not over till 9 and the lecture room seven miles from Wentworth Place) myself by going to Hazlitt's Lecture. If you have hours to the amount of a brace of dozens to throw away you may sleep nine of them here in your little Crib and chat the rest. When
Picture is up and in a good light I shall make a point of meeting you at the Academy if you will let me know when. If you should be at the Lecture to-morrow evening I shall see you—and congratulate you heartily-Haslam I know “is very Beadle to an amorous sigh." Your sincere friend
-TO JOHN TAYLOR.
Wentworth Place, Hampstead,
November 17 . My dear Taylor-I have come to a determination not to publish anything I have now ready written : but, for all that, to publish a poem before long, and that I hope to make a fine one. As the marvellous is the most enticing, and the surest guarantee of harmonious numbers, I have been endeavouring to persuade myself to untether Fancy, and to let her manage for herself.1 I and myself cannot agree about this at all. ( Wonders are no wonders to me.
I am more at home amongst men and women. I would rather read Chaucer than Ariosto. The little dramatic skill I may as yet have, however badly it might show in a drama, would, I think, be sufficient for a poem. I wish to diffuse the colouring of St. Agnes's Eve throughout a poem in which character and sentiment would be the figures to such drapery. Two or three such poems, if God should spare me, written in the course of the next six years, would be a famous Gradus ad Parnassum altissimum-I mean they would nerve me up to the writing of a few fine plays—my greatest ambition, when I do feel ambitious. I am sorry to say that is very seldom. The subject we have once or twice talked of appears a promising one—The Earl of Leicester's history. I am this morning reading Holinshed's “Elizabeth.” You had some books a while ago, you promised to send me, illustrative of my subject. If you can lay hold of them, or any others which may be serviceable to me, I know you will encourage my low-spirited muse by send
Referring to the fairy poem of The Cap and Bells, the writing of which, says Brown, was Keats's morning occupation during these weeks.