« AnteriorContinua »
here with a line a little fish much like an anchovy, pull them up fast. Remember me to Mr. and Mrs. Dilkemention to Brown that I wrote him a letter at Portsmouth which I did not send and am in doubt if he ever will see it. My dear Mrs. Brawne, yours sincerely and affectionate
JOHN KEATS. Good bye Fanny! God bless you.
CLXIII. -TO CHARLES BROWN.
Naples, November 1 (1820). My dear Brown-Yesterday we were let out of quarantine, during which my health suffered more from bad air and the stifled cabin than it had done the whole voyage. The fresh air revived me a little, and I hope I am well enough this morning to write to you a short calm letter; -if that can be called one, in which I am afraid to speak of what I would fainest dwell upon. As I have gone thus far into it, I must go on a little ;—perhaps it may relieve the load of WRETCHEDNESS which presses upon me. The persuasion that I shall see her no more will kill me. My dear Brown, I should have had her when I was in health, and I should have remained well. I can bear to die—I cannot bear to leave her. Oh, God! God ! God! Every thing I have in my trunks that reminds me of her goes through me like a spear. The silk lining she put in my travelling cap scalds my head. My imagination is horribly vivid about her—I see her—I hear her. There is nothing in the world of sufficient interest to divert me from her a moment. This was the case when I was in England; I cannot recollect, without shuddering, the time that I was a prisoner at Hunt's, and used to keep my eyes fixed on Hampstead all day. Then there was a good hope of seeing her again—Now !-0 that I could be buried near where she lives! I am afraid to write to her—to receive a letter from her—to see her handwriting
would break my heart—even to hear of her anyhow, to see her name written, would be more than I can bear. My dear Brown, what am I to do? Where can I look for consolation or ease? If I had any chance of recovery, this passion would kill me. Indeed, through the whole of my illness, both at your house and at Kentish Town, this fever has never ceased wearing me out. write to me, which you will do immediately, write to Rome (poste restante)—if she is well and happy, put a mark thus + if
Remember me to all. I will endeavour to bear my miseries patiently. A person in my state of health should not have such miseries to bear. Write a short note to my sister, saying you have heard from me. Severn is very well. If I were in better health I would urge your coming to Rome. I fear there is no one can give me any comfort. Is there any news of George? O that something fortunate had ever happened to me or my brothers ! then I might hope, — but despair is forced upon me as a habit. My dear Brown, for my sake be her advocate for ever. I cannot say a word about Naples ; I do not feel at all concerned in the thousand novelties around me.
I am afraid to write to her—I should like her to know that I do not forget her. Oh, Brown I have coals of fire in my breast-It surprises me that the human heart is capable of containing and bearing so much misery. Was I born for this end ? God bless her, and her mother, and my sister, and George, and his wife, and you, and all !
Your ever affectionate friend JOHN KEATS.
[Thursday, November 2.] I was a day too early for the Courier. He sets out
I have been more calm to-day, though in a half dread of not continuing so. I said nothing of my health; I know nothing of it; you will hear Severn's account from Haslam. I must leave off. You bring my thoughts too near to Fanny. God bless you!
CLXIV.—TO CHARLES BROWN.
Rome, November 30, 1820. My dear Brown—'Tis the most difficult thing in the world to me to write a letter. My stomach continues so bad, that I feel it worse on opening any book,—yet I am much better than I was in quarantine. Then I am afraid to encounter the pro-ing and con-ing of anything interesting to me in England. I have an habitual feeling of my real life having passed, and that I am leading a posthumous existence. God knows how it would have been—but it appears to me—however, I will not speak of that subject. I must have been at Bedhampton nearly at the time you were writing to me from Chichesterhow unfortunate—and to pass on the river too ! There was my star predominant! I cannot answer anything in your letter, which followed me from Naples to Rome, because I am afraid to look it over again. I am so weak (in mind) that I cannot bear the sight of any handwriting of a friend I love so much as I do you. Yet I ride the little horse, and at my worst even in quarantine, summoned up more puns, in a sort of desperation, in one week than in any year of my life. There is one thought enough to kill me; I have been well, healthy, alert, etc., walking with her, and now—the knowledge of contrast, feeling for light and shade, all that information (primitive sense) necessary for a poem, are great enemies to the recovery of the stomach. There, you rogue, I put you to the torture; but you must bring your philosophy to bear, as I do mine, really, or how should I be able to live ? Dr. Clark is very attentive to me;
he there is very little the matter with my lungs, but my stomach, he says,
very bad. I am well disappointed in hearing good news from George, for it runs in my head we shall all die young.
I have not written to Reynolds yet, which he must think very neglectful; being anxious to send him a good account of my health, I have delayed it
from week to week. If I recover, I will do all in my power to correct the mistakes made during sickness; and if I should not, all my faults will be forgiven. Severn is very well, though he leads so dull a life with me. Remember me to all friends, and tell Haslam I should not have left London without taking leave of him, but from being so low in body and mind. Write to George as soon as you receive this, and tell him how I am, as far as you can guess; and also a note to my sister—who walks about my imagination like a ghost—she is so like Tom. I can scarcely bid you good-bye, even in a letter. I always made an awkward bow. God bless you !
JOHN KEATS.1 i On the 10th of December following came a renewal of fever and hemorrhage, extinguishing the last hope of recovery: and after eleven more weeks of suffering, only alleviated by the devoted care of Severn, the poet died in his friend's arms on the 23d of February 1821.
Printed by R. & R. Clark, Edinburgh.