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complete aversion, and who strange to say is harboured and countenanced in several houses where I visit—he is sitting now quite impudent between me and Tom He insults me at poor Jem Rice's—and you have seated him before now between us at the Theatre, when I thought he looked with a longing eye at poor Kean. I shall say, once for all, to my friends generally and severally, cut that fellow, or I cut you
I went to the Theatre here the other night, which I forgot to tell George, and got insulted, which I ought to remember to forget to tell any Body; for I did not fight, and as yet have had no redress—“ Lie thou there, sweetheart !” I wrote to Bailey yesterday, obliged to speak in a high way, and a damme who's afraid—for I had owed him so long; however, he shall see I will be better in future. Is he in town yet? I have directed to Oxford as the better chance. I have copied my fourth Book, and shall write the Preface soon. I wish it was all done; for I want to forget it and make my mind free for something new—Atkins the Coachman, Bartlett the Surgeon, Simmons the Barber, and the Girls over at the Bonnetshop, say we shall now have a month of seasonable weather—warm, witty, and full of invention—Write to me and tell me that you are well or thereabouts, or by the holy Beaucoeur, which I suppose is the Virgin Mary, or the repented Magdalen (beautiful name, that Magdalen), I'll take to my Wings and fly away to anywhere but old or Nova Scotia-I wish I had a little innocent bit of Metaphysic in my head, to criss-cross the letter: but you know a favourite tune is hardest to be remembered when one wants it most and you, I know, have long ere this taken it for granted that I never have any speculations without associating you in them, where they are of a pleasant nature, and you know enough of me to tell the places where I haunt most, so that if you think for five minutes after having read this, you will find it a long letter, and see written in the Air
i “And, sweetheart, lie thou there”:-Pistol (to his sword) in Henry IV., Part 2, II. iv.
Your most affectionate friend JOHN KEATS.
XLIII. .-TO BENJAMIN ROBERT HAYDON.
Teignmouth, Saturday Morn [March 21, 1818]. My dear Haydon—In sooth, I hope you are not too sanguine about that seal—in sooth I hope it is not Brumidgeum—in double sooth I hope it is his—and in triple sooth I hope I shall have an impression. Such a piece of intelligence came doubly welcome to me while in your own County and in your own hand—not but I have blown up the said County for its urinal qualifications, the six first days I was here it did nothing but rain ; and at that time having to write to a friend I gave Devonshire a good blowing up—it has been fine for almost three days, and I was coming round a bit; but to-day it rains again—with me the County is yet upon its good behaviour. I have enjoyed the most delightful Walks these three fine days beautiful enough to make me content here all the summer could I stay.
Here all the summer could I stay,
For there's Bishop's teign
And King's teign
Where close by the stream
You may have your cream
There's arch Brook
And there's larch Brook
And cooling the drouth
Of the salmon's mouth,
And fattening his silver gill. 1 Replying to an ecstatic note of Haydon's about a seal with a true lover's knot and the initials W. S., lately found in a field at Stratford-on-Avon.
There is Wild wood,
A Mild hood
Where the golden furze,
With its green, thin spurs,
There is Newton marsh
With its spear grass harsh-
Where the maidens sweet
Of the Market Street,
There's the Barton rich
With dyke and ditch
And the hollow tree
For the buzzing bee
And 0, and o
The daisies blow
And the violets white
Sit in silver plight,
Then who would go
Into dark Soho,
When he can stay
For the new-mown hay,
I know not if this rhyming fit has done anythingit will be safe with you if worthy to put among my Lyrics. Here's some doggrel for you—Perhaps you would like a bit of
Where be ye going, you Devon Maid ?
And what have you there in the Basket ?
Will ye give me some cream if I ask it ?
I love your Meads, and I love your flowers,
And I love your junkets mainly,
O look not so disdainly.
I love your hills, and I love your dales,
And I love your flocks a-bleating-
With both our hearts a-beating !
I'll put your Basket all safe in a nook,
Your shawl I hang up on the willow,
And kiss on a grass green pillow.
How does the work go on? I should like to bring out my “Dentatus ”1 at the time your Epic makes its appear
I expect to have my Mind soon clear for something
Tom has been much worse : but is now getting better—his remembrances to you. I think of seeing the Dart and Plymouth—but I don't know. It has as yet been a Mystery to me how and where Wordsworth went. I can't help thinking he has returned to his Shell—with his beautiful Wife and his enchanting Sister. It is a great Pity that people should by associating themselves with the finest things, spoil them. Hunt has damned Hampstead and masks and sonnets and Italian tales. Wordsworth has damned the lakes—Milman has damned the old drama-West has damned- · wholesale. Peacock has damned satire— Ollier has damn'd Music-Hazlitt has damned the bigoted and the blue-stockinged ; how durst the Man ?! he is your only good damner, and if ever I am damn'ddamn me if I shouldn't like him to damn me. It will not be long ere I see you, but I thought I would just give you a line out of Devon. Yours affectionately
JOHN KEATS. Remember me to all we know.
1 Dentatus was the subject of Haydon's new picture.
XLIV. --TO MESSRS. TAYLOR AND HESSEY.
Teignmouth, Saturday Morn [March 21, 1818]. My dear Sirs—I had no idea of your getting on so fast—I thought of bringing my 4th Book to Town all in good time for you—especially after the late unfortunate chance.
I did not however for my own sake delay finishing the copy which was done a few days after my arrival here. I send it off to-day, and will tell you in a Postscript at what time to send for it from the Bull and Mouth or other Inn. You will find the Preface and dedication and the title Page as I should wish it to stand—for a Romance is a fine thing notwithstanding the circulating Libraries. My respects to Mrs. Hessey and to Percy Street. Yours very sincerely
JOHN KEATS. P.S. I have been advised to send it to you—you may expect it on Monday—for I sent it by the Postman to Exeter at the same time with this Letter. Adieu !
XLV. - TO JAMES RICE.
Teignmouth, Tuesday (March 24, 1818]. My dear Rice—Being in the midst of your favourite Devon, I should not, by rights, pen one word but it should contain a vast portion of Wit, Wisdom and learning—for I have heard that Milton ere he wrote his answer to Salmasius came into these parts, and for one whole month, rolled himself for three whole hours (per day ?), in a certain meadow hard by us—where the mark of his nose at equidistances is still shown. The exhibitor of the said meadow further saith, that, after these rollings, not a nettle sprang up in all the seven acres for seven years, and that from the said time, a new sort of plant was made from the whitethorn, of a thornless nature, very