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◈ Letters Of John Keats To His Family And Friends (존 키츠의 편지) ◈

◇ 2. (1817년) ◇

해설목차  서문  1권  2권 3권  4권  5권  6권  7권  8권  9권  May 1891.
John Keats

1. V.—TO JOHN HAMILTON REYNOLDS.

1.1. [London,] Sunday Evening [March 2, 1817?].[10]

 
1
My dear Reynolds—Your kindness affects me so sensibly that I can merely put down a few mono-sentences. Your Criticism only makes me extremely anxious that I should not deceive you.
 
2
It’s the finest thing by God as Hazlitt would say. However I hope I may not deceive you. There are some acquaintances of mine who will scratch their Beards and although I have, I hope, some Charity, I wish their Nails may be long. I will be ready at the time you mention in all Happiness.
 
3
There is a report that a young Lady of 16 has written the new Tragedy, God bless her—I will know her by Hook or by Crook in less than a week. My Brothers’ and my Remembrances to your kind Sisters.
 
4
Yours most sincerely
5
John Keats.
 

 

2. VI.—TO JOHN HAMILTON REYNOLDS.

2.1. [London, March 17, 1817.]

 
1
My dear Reynolds—My Brothers are anxious that I should go by myself into the country—they have always been extremely fond of me, and now that Haydon has pointed out how necessary it is that I should be alone to improve myself, they give up the temporary pleasure of living with me continually for a great good which I hope will follow. So I shall soon be out of Town. You must soon bring all your present troubles to a close, and so must I, but we must, like the Fox, prepare for a fresh swarm of flies. Banish money—Banish sofas—Banish Wine—Banish Music; but right Jack Health, honest Jack Health, true Jack Health—Banish health and banish all the world. I must ... if I come this evening, I shall horribly commit myself elsewhere. So I will send my excuses to them and Mrs. Dilke by my brothers.
 
2
Your sincere friend
3
John Keats.
 

 

3. VII.—TO GEORGE AND THOMAS KEATS.

3.1. [Southampton,] Tuesday Morn [April 15, 1817].

 
1
My dear Brothers—I am safe at Southampton—after having ridden three stages outside and the rest in for it began to be very cold. I did not know the Names of any of the Towns I passed through—all I can tell you is that sometimes I saw dusty Hedges—sometimes Ponds—then nothing—then a little Wood with trees look you like Launce’s Sister “as white as a Lily and as small as a Wand”—then came houses which died away into a few straggling Barns—then came hedge trees aforesaid again. As the Lamplight crept along the following things were discovered—“long heath broom furze”—Hurdles here and there half a Mile—Park palings when the Windows of a House were always discovered by reflection—One Nymph of Fountain—N.B. Stone—lopped Trees—Cow ruminating—ditto Donkey—Man and Woman going gingerly along—William seeing his Sisters over the Heath—John waiting with a Lanthorn for his Mistress—Barber’s Pole—Doctor’s Shop—However after having had my fill of these I popped my Head out just as it began to Dawn—N.B. this Tuesday Morn saw the Sun rise—of which I shall say nothing at present. I felt rather lonely this Morning at Breakfast so I went and unbox’d a Shakspeare—“There’s my Comfort.”[11] I went immediately after Breakfast to Southampton Water where I enquired for the Boat to the Isle of Wight as I intend seeing that place before I settle—it will go at 3, so shall I after having taken a Chop. I know nothing of this place but that it is long—tolerably broad—has bye streets—two or three Churches—a very respectable old Gate with two Lions to guard it. The Men and Women do not materially differ from those I have been in the Habit of seeing. I forgot to say that from dawn till half-past six I went through a most delightful Country—some open Down but for the most part thickly wooded. What surprised me most was an immense quantity of blooming Furze on each side the road cutting a most rural dash. The Southampton water when I saw it just now was no better than a low Water Water which did no more than answer my expectations—it will have mended its Manners by 3. From the Wharf are seen the shores on each side stretching to the Isle of Wight. You, Haydon, Reynolds, etc. have been pushing each other out of my Brain by turns. I have conned over every Head in Haydon’s Picture—you must warn them not to be afraid should my Ghost visit them on Wednesday—tell Haydon to Kiss his Hand at Betty over the Way for me yea and to spy at her for me. I hope one of you will be competent to take part in a Trio while I am away—you need only aggravate your voices a little and mind not to speak Cues and all—when you have said Rum-ti-ti—you must not be rum any more or else another will take up the ti-ti alone and then he might be taken God shield us for little better than a Titmouse. By the by talking of Titmouse Remember me particularly to all my Friends—give my Love to the Miss Reynoldses and to Fanny who I hope you will soon see. Write to me soon about them all—and you George particularly how you get on with Wilkinson’s plan. What could I have done without my Plaid? I don’t feel inclined to write any more at present for I feel rather muzzy—you must be content with this fac simile of the rough plan of Aunt Dinah’s Counterpane.
 
2
Your most affectionate Brother
3
John Keats.
 
4
Reynolds shall hear from me soon.
 

 

4. VIII.—TO JOHN HAMILTON REYNOLDS.

4.1. Carisbrooke, April 17th [1817].

 
1
My dear Reynolds—Ever since I wrote to my Brothers from Southampton I have been in a taking—and at this moment I am about to become settled—for I have unpacked my books, put them into a snug corner, pinned up Haydon, Mary Queen of Scots, and Milton with his daughters in a row. In the passage I found a head of Shakspeare which I had not before seen. It is most likely the same that George spoke so well of, for I like it extremely. Well—this head I have hung over my Books, just above the three in a row, having first discarded a French Ambassador—now this alone is a good morning’s work. Yesterday I went to Shanklin, which occasioned a great debate in my mind whether I should live there or at Carisbrooke. Shanklin is a most beautiful place—Sloping wood and meadow ground reach round the Chine, which is a cleft between the Cliffs of the depth of nearly 300 feet at least. This cleft is filled with trees and bushes in the narrow part, and as it widens becomes bare, if it were not for primroses on one side, which spread to the very verge of the Sea, and some fishermen’s huts on the other, perched midway in the Balustrades of beautiful green Hedges along their steps down to the sands. But the sea, Jack, the sea—the little waterfall—then the white cliff—then St. Catherine’s Hill—“the sheep in the meadows, the cows in the corn.” Then, why are you at Carisbrooke? say you. Because, in the first place, I should be at twice the Expense, and three times the inconvenience—next that from here I can see your continent—from a little hill close by the whole north Angle of the Isle of Wight, with the water between us. In the 3rd place, I see Carisbrooke Castle from my window, and have found several delightful wood-alleys, and copses, and quick freshes.[12] As for primroses—the Island ought to be called Primrose Island—that is, if the nation of Cowslips agree thereto, of which there are divers Clans just beginning to lift up their heads. Another reason of my fixing is, that I am more in reach of the places around me. I intend to walk over the Island east—West—North—South. I have not seen many specimens of Ruins—I don’t think however I shall ever see one to surpass Carisbrooke Castle. The trench is overgrown with the smoothest turf, and the Walls with ivy. The Keep within side is one Bower of ivy—a colony of Jackdaws have been there for many years. I dare say I have seen many a descendant of some old cawer who peeped through the Bars at Charles the first, when he was there in Confinement. On the road from Cowes to Newport I saw some extensive Barracks, which disgusted me extremely with the Government for placing such a Nest of Debauchery in so beautiful a place. I asked a man on the Coach about this—and he said that the people had been spoiled. In the room where I slept at Newport, I found this on the Window—“O Isle spoilt by the milatary!...”
 
2
The wind is in a sulky fit, and I feel that it would be no bad thing to be the favourite of some Fairy, who would give one the power of seeing how our Friends got on at a Distance. I should like, of all Loves, a sketch of you and Tom and George in ink which Haydon will do if you tell him how I want them. From want of regular rest I have been rather narvus—and the passage in Lear—“Do you not hear the sea?”—has haunted me intensely.
 
3
ON THE SEA
 
4
It keeps eternal whisperings around
5
Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
6
Gluts twice ten thousand Caverns, till the spell
7
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.
8
Often ’tis in such gentle temper found,
9
That scarcely will the very smallest shell
10
Be mov’d for days from where it sometime fell,
11
When last the winds of Heaven were unbound.
12
O ye! who have your eye-balls vex’d and tir’d,
13
Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;
14
O ye! whose Ears are dinn’d with uproar rude,
15
Or fed too much with cloying melody—
16
Sit ye near some old Cavern’s Mouth, and brood
17
Until ye start as if the sea Nymphs quired—[13]
 

4.2. April 18th.

 
1
Will you have the goodness to do this? Borrow a Botanical Dictionary—turn to the words Laurel and Prunus, show the explanations to your sisters and Mrs. Dilke and without more ado let them send me the Cups Basket and Books they trifled and put off and off while I was in town. Ask them what they can say for themselves—ask Mrs. Dilke wherefore she does so distress me—let me know how Jane has her health—the Weather is unfavourable for her. Tell George and Tom to write. I’ll tell you what—on the 23d was Shakspeare born. Now if I should receive a letter from you and another from my Brothers on that day ’twould be a parlous good thing. Whenever you write say a word or two on some Passage in Shakspeare that may have come rather new to you, which must be continually happening, notwithstanding that we read the same Play forty times—for instance, the following from the Tempest never struck me so forcibly as at present,
 
2
“Urchins
3
Shall, for the vast of night that they may work,
4
All exercise on thee—”
 
5
How can I help bringing to your mind the line—
 
6
In the dark backward and abysm of time—
 
7
I find I cannot exist without Poetry—without eternal Poetry—half the day will not do—the whole of it—I began with a little, but habit has made me a Leviathan. I had become all in a Tremble from not having written anything of late—the Sonnet overleaf did me good. I slept the better last night for it—this Morning, however, I am nearly as bad again. Just now I opened Spenser, and the first Lines I saw were these—
 
8
“The noble heart that harbours virtuous thought,
9
And is with child of glorious great intent,
10
Can never rest until it forth have brought
11
Th’ eternal brood of glory excellent—”
 
12
Let me know particularly about Haydon, ask him to write to me about Hunt, if it be only ten lines—I hope all is well—I shall forthwith begin my Endymion, which I hope I shall have got some way with by the time you come, when we will read our verses in a delightful place I have set my heart upon, near the Castle. Give my Love to your Sisters severally—to George and Tom. Remember me to Rice, Mr. and Mrs. Dilke and all we know.
 
13
Your sincere Friend
14
John Keats.
 
15
Direct J. Keats, Mrs. Cook’s, New Village, Carisbrooke.
 

 

5. IX.—TO LEIGH HUNT.

5.1. Margate, May 10, 1817.

 
1
My dear Hunt—The little gentleman that sometimes lurks in a gossip’s bowl, ought to have come in the very likeness of a roasted crab, and choaked me outright for not answering your letter ere this: however, you must not suppose that I was in town to receive it: no, it followed me to the Isle of Wight, and I got it just as I was going to pack up for Margate, for reasons which you anon shall hear. On arriving at this treeless affair, I wrote to my brother George to request C. C. C.[14] to do the thing you wot of respecting Rimini; and George tells me he has undertaken it with great pleasure; so I hope there has been an understanding between you for many proofs: C. C. C. is well acquainted with Bensley. Now why did you not send the key of your cupboard, which, I know, was full of papers? We would have locked them all in a trunk, together with those you told me to destroy, which indeed I did not do, for fear of demolishing receipts, there not being a more unpleasant thing in the world (saving a thousand and one others) than to pay a bill twice. Mind you, old Wood’s a “very varmint,” shrouded in covetousness:—and now I am upon a horrid subject—what a horrid one you were upon last Sunday, and well you handled it. The last Examiner[15] was a battering-ram against Christianity, blasphemy, Tertullian, Erasmus, Sir Philip Sidney; and then the dreadful Petzelians and their expiation by blood; and do Christians shudder at the same thing in a newspaper which they attribute to their God in its most aggravated form? What is to be the end of this? I must mention Hazlitt’s Southey.[16] O that he had left out the grey hairs; or that they had been in any other paper not concluding with such a thunderclap! That sentence about making a page of the feeling of a whole life, appears to me like a whale’s back in the sea of prose. I ought to have said a word on Shakspeare’s Christianity. There are two which I have not looked over with you, touching the thing: the one for, the other against: that in favour is in Measure for Measure, Act II. Scene ii.—
 
2
Isab. Alas, alas!
3
Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once;
4
And He that might the ’vantage best have took,
5
Found out the remedy.
 
6
That against is in Twelfth Night, Act III. Scene ii.—
 
7
Maria. For there is no Christian that means to be saved by believing rightly, can ever believe such impossible passages of grossness.
 
8
Before I come to the Nymphs,[17] I must get through all disagreeables. I went to the Isle of Wight, thought so much about poetry, so long together, that I could not get to sleep at night; and, moreover, I know not how it was, I could not get wholesome food. By this means, in a week or so, I became not over capable in my upper stories, and set off pell-mell for Margate, at least a hundred and fifty miles, because, forsooth, I fancied that I should like my old lodging here, and could contrive to do without trees. Another thing, I was too much in solitude, and consequently was obliged to be in continual burning of thought, as an only resource. However, Tom is with me at present, and we are very comfortable. We intend, though, to get among some trees. How have you got on among them? How are the Nymphs? I suppose they have led you a fine dance. Where are you now?—in Judea, Cappadocia, or the parts of Libya about Cyrene? Stranger from “Heaven, Hues, and Prototypes,” I wager you have given several new turns to the old saying, “Now the maid was fair and pleasant to look on,” as well as made a little variation in “Once upon a time.” Perhaps, too, you have rather varied, “Here endeth the first lesson.” Thus I hope you have made a horseshoe business of “unsuperfluous life,” “faint bowers,” and fibrous roots. I vow that I have been down in the mouth lately at this work. These last two days, however, I have felt more confident—I have asked myself so often why I should be a poet more than other men, seeing how great a thing it is,—how great things are to be gained by it, what a thing to be in the mouth of Fame,—that at last the idea has grown so monstrously beyond my seeming power of attainment, that the other day I nearly consented with myself to drop into a Phaethon. Yet ’tis a disgrace to fail, even in a huge attempt; and at this moment I drive the thought from me. I began my poem about a fortnight since, and have done some every day, except travelling ones. Perhaps I may have done a good deal for the time, but it appears such a pin’s point to me, that I will not copy any out. When I consider that so many of these pin-points go to form a bodkin-point (God send I end not my life with a bare bodkin, in its modern sense!), and that it requires a thousand bodkins to make a spear bright enough to throw any light to posterity, I see nothing but continual uphill journeying. Now is there anything more unpleasant (it may come among the thousand and one) than to be so journeying and to miss the goal at last? But I intend to whistle all these cogitations into the sea, where I hope they will breed storms violent enough to block up all exit from Russia. Does Shelley go on telling strange stories of the deaths of kings?[18] Tell him, there are strange stories of the deaths of poets. Some have died before they were conceived. “How do you make that out, Master Vellum?” Does Mrs. S. cut bread and butter as neatly as ever? Tell her to procure some fatal scissors, and cut the thread of life of all to-be-disappointed poets. Does Mrs. Hunt tear linen as straight as ever? Tell her to tear from the book of life all blank leaves. Remember me to them all; to Miss Kent and the little ones all.
 
9
Your sincere Friend
10
John Keats alias Junkets.
 
11
You shall hear where we move.
 

 

6. X.—TO BENJAMIN ROBERT HAYDON.

6.1. Margate, Saturday Eve [May 10, 1817].

 
1
My dear Haydon,
 
2
“Let Fame, that all pant after in their lives,
3
Live register’d upon our brazen tombs,
4
And so grace us in the disgrace of death:
5
When spite of cormorant devouring Time
6
The endeavour of this present breath may buy
7
That Honour which shall bate his Scythe’s keen edge
8
And make us heirs of all eternity.”[19]
 
9
To think that I have no right to couple myself with you in this speech would be death to me, so I have e’en written it, and I pray God that our “brazen tombs” be nigh neighbours. It cannot be long first; the “endeavour of this present breath” will soon be over, and yet it is as well to breathe freely during our sojourn—it is as well as if you have not been teased with that Money affair, that bill-pestilence. However, I must think that difficulties nerve the Spirit of a Man—they make our Prime Objects a Refuge as well as a Passion. The Trumpet of Fame is as a tower of Strength, the ambitious bloweth it and is safe. I suppose, by your telling me not to give way to forebodings, George has mentioned to you what I have lately said in my Letters to him—truth is I have been in such a state of Mind as to read over my Lines and hate them. I am one that “gathers Samphire, dreadful trade”—the Cliff of Poesy towers above me—yet when Tom who meets with some of Pope’s Homer in Plutarch’s Lives reads some of those to me they seem like Mice to mine. I read and write about eight hours a day. There is an old saying “well begun is half done”—’tis a bad one. I would use instead, “Not begun at all till half done;” so according to that I have not begun my Poem and consequently (à priori) can say nothing about it. Thank God! I do begin arduously where I leave off, notwithstanding occasional depressions; and I hope for the support of a High Power while I climb this little eminence, and especially in my Years of more momentous Labour. I remember your saying that you had notions of a good Genius presiding over you. I have of late had the same thought, for things which I do half at Random are afterwards confirmed by my judgment in a dozen features of Propriety. Is it too daring to fancy Shakspeare this Presider? When in the Isle of Wight I met with a Shakspeare in the Passage of the House at which I lodged—it comes nearer to my idea of him than any I have seen—I was but there a Week, yet the old woman made me take it with me though I went off in a hurry. Do you not think this is ominous of good? I am glad you say every man of great views is at times tormented as I am.
 

6.2. Sunday after [May 11].

 
1
This Morning I received a letter from George by which it appears that Money Troubles are to follow us up for some time to come—perhaps for always—these vexations are a great hindrance to one—they are not like Envy and detraction stimulants to further exertion as being immediately relative and reflected on at the same time with the prime object—but rather like a nettle leaf or two in your bed. So now I revoke my Promise of finishing my Poem by the Autumn which I should have done had I gone on as I have done—but I cannot write while my spirit is fevered in a contrary direction and I am now sure of having plenty of it this Summer. At this moment I am in no enviable Situation—I feel that I am not in a Mood to write any to-day; and it appears that the loss of it is the beginning of all sorts of irregularities. I am extremely glad that a time must come when everything will leave not a wrack behind. You tell me never to despair—I wish it was as easy for me to observe the saying—truth is I have a horrid Morbidity of Temperament which has shown itself at intervals—it is I have no doubt the greatest Enemy and stumbling-block I have to fear—I may even say that it is likely to be the cause of my disappointment. However every ill has its share of good—this very bane would at any time enable me to look with an obstinate eye on the Devil Himself—aye to be as proud of being the lowest of the human race as Alfred could be in being of the highest. I feel confident I should have been a rebel angel had the opportunity been mine. I am very sure that you do love me as your very Brother—I have seen it in your continual anxiety for me—and I assure you that your welfare and fame is and will be a chief pleasure to me all my Life. I know no one but you who can be fully sensible of the turmoil and anxiety, the sacrifice of all what is called comfort, the readiness to measure time by what is done and to die in six hours could plans be brought to conclusions—the looking upon the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Earth and its contents, as materials to form greater things—that is to say ethereal things—but here I am talking like a Madman,—greater things than our Creator himself made!!
 
2
I wrote to Hunt yesterday—scarcely know what I said in it. I could not talk about Poetry in the way I should have liked for I was not in humor with either his or mine. His self-delusions are very lamentable—they have enticed him into a Situation which I should be less eager after than that of a galley Slave—what you observe thereon is very true must be in time.
 
3
Perhaps it is a self-delusion to say so—but I think I could not be deceived in the manner that Hunt is—may I die to-morrow if I am to be. There is no greater Sin after the seven deadly than to flatter oneself into an idea of being a great Poet—or one of those beings who are privileged to wear out their Lives in the pursuit of Honor—how comfortable a feel it is to feel that such a Crime must bring its heavy Penalty? That if one be a Self-deluder accounts must be balanced? I am glad you are hard at Work—’t will now soon be done—I long to see Wordsworth’s as well as to have mine in:[20] but I would rather not show my face in Town till the end of the Year—if that will be time enough—if not I shall be disappointed if you do not write for me even when you think best. I never quite despair and I read Shakspeare—indeed I shall I think never read any other Book much. Now this might lead me into a long Confab but I desist. I am very near agreeing with Hazlitt that Shakspeare is enough for us. By the by what a tremendous Southean article his last was—I wish he had left out “grey hairs.” It was very gratifying to meet your remarks on the manuscript—I was reading Anthony and Cleopatra when I got the Paper and there are several Passages applicable to the events you commentate. You say that he arrived by degrees and not by any single struggle to the height of his ambition—and that his Life had been as common in particulars as other Men’s. Shakspeare makes Enobarb say—
 
4
Where’s Antony?
5
Eros. —He’s walking in the garden, and spurns
6
The rush that lies before him; cries, Fool, Lepidus!
 
7
In the same scene we find—
 
8
Let determined things
9
To destiny hold unbewailed their way.
 
10
Dolabella says of Anthony’s Messenger,
 
11
An argument that he is pluck’d when hither
12
He sends so poor a pinion of his wing.
 
13
Then again—
 
14
Eno. —I see Men’s Judgments are
15
A parcel of their fortunes; and things outward
16
Do draw the inward quality after them,
17
To suffer all alike.
 
18
The following applies well to Bertrand[21]—
 
19
Yet he that can endure
20
To follow with allegiance a fallen Lord,
21
Does conquer him that did his Master conquer,
22
And earns a place i’ the story.
 
23
But how differently does Buonaparte bear his fate from Anthony!
 
24
’Tis good, too, that the Duke of Wellington has a good Word or so in the Examiner. A Man ought to have the Fame he deserves—and I begin to think that detracting from him as well as from Wordsworth is the same thing. I wish he had a little more taste—and did not in that respect “deal in Lieutenantry.” You should have heard from me before this—but in the first place I did not like to do so before I had got a little way in the First Book, and in the next as G. told me you were going to write I delayed till I had heard from you. Give my Respects the next time you write to the North and also to John Hunt. Remember me to Reynolds and tell him to write. Ay, and when you send Westward tell your Sister that I mentioned her in this. So now in the name of Shakspeare, Raphael and all our Saints, I commend you to the care of heaven!
 
25
Your everlasting Friend
26
John Keats.
 

 

7. XI.—TO MESSRS. TAYLOR AND HESSEY.

7.1. Margate, May 16, 1817.

 
1
My dear Sirs—I am extremely indebted to you for your liberality in the shape of manufactured rag, value £20, and shall immediately proceed to destroy some of the minor heads of that hydra the dun; to conquer which the knight need have no Sword Shield Cuirass, Cuisses Herbadgeon Spear Casque Greaves Paldrons spurs Chevron or any other scaly commodity, but he need only take the Bank-note of Faith and Cash of Salvation, and set out against the monster, invoking the aid of no Archimago or Urganda, but finger me the paper, light as the Sibyl’s leaves in Virgil, whereat the fiend skulks off with his tail between his legs. Touch him with this enchanted paper, and he whips you his head away as fast as a snail’s horn—but then the horrid propensity he has to put it up again has discouraged many very valiant Knights. He is such a never-ending still-beginning sort of a body—like my landlady of the Bell. I should conjecture that the very spright that “the green sour ringlets makes Whereof the ewe not bites” had manufactured it of the dew fallen on said sour ringlets. I think I could make a nice little allegorical poem, called “The Dun,” where we would have the Castle of Carelessness, the drawbridge of credit, Sir Novelty Fashion’s expedition against the City of Tailors, etc. etc. I went day by day at my poem for a Month—at the end of which time the other day I found my Brain so over-wrought that I had neither rhyme nor reason in it—so was obliged to give up for a few days. I hope soon to be able to resume my work—I have endeavoured to do so once or twice; but to no purpose. Instead of Poetry, I have a swimming in my head and feel all the effects of a Mental debauch, lowness of Spirits, anxiety to go on without the power to do so, which does not at all tend to my ultimate progression. However to-morrow I will begin my next month. This evening I go to Canterbury, having got tired of Margate. I was not right in my head when I came—At Canterbury I hope the remembrance of Chaucer will set me forward like a Billiard Ball. I am glad to hear of Mr. T.’s health, and of the welfare of the “In-town-stayers.” And think Reynolds will like his Trip—I have some idea of seeing the Continent some time this summer. In repeating how sensible I am of your kindness, I remain
 
2
Yr obedt servt and friend
3
John Keats.
 
4
I shall be happy to hear any little intelligence in the literary or friendly way when you have time to scribble.
 

 

8. XII.—TO MESSRS. TAYLOR AND HESSEY.

8.1. [London] Tuesday Morn [July 8, 1817].

 
1
My dear Sirs—I must endeavour to lose my maidenhead with respect to money Matters as soon as possible—And I will too—So, here goes! A couple of Duns that I thought would be silent till the beginning, at least, of next month (when I am certain to be on my legs, for certain sure), have opened upon me with a cry most “untuneable”; never did you hear such un-“gallant chiding.” Now you must know, I am not desolate, but have, thank God, 25 good notes in my fob. But then, you know, I laid them by to write with and would stand at bay a fortnight ere they should grab me. In a month’s time I must pay, but it would relieve my mind if I owed you, instead of these Pelican duns.
 
2
I am afraid you will say I have “wound about with circumstance,” when I should have asked plainly—however as I said I am a little maidenish or so, and I feel my virginity come strong upon me, the while I request the loan of a £20 and a £10, which, if you would enclose to me, I would acknowledge and save myself a hot forehead. I am sure you are confident of my responsibility, and in the sense of squareness that is always in me.
 
3
Your obliged friend
4
John Keats.
 

 

9. XIII.—TO MARIANE AND JANE REYNOLDS.

9.1. [Oxford,[22] September 5, 1817].

 
1
My dear Friends—You are I am glad to hear comfortable at Hampton,[23] where I hope you will receive the Biscuits we ate the other night at Little Britain.[24] I hope you found them good. There you are among sands, stones, Pebbles, Beeches, Cliffs, Rocks, Deeps, Shallows, weeds, ships, Boats (at a distance), Carrots, Turnips, sun, moon, and stars and all those sort of things—here am I among Colleges, halls, Stalls, Plenty of Trees, thank God—Plenty of water, thank heaven—Plenty of Books, thank the Muses—Plenty of Snuff, thank Sir Walter Raleigh—Plenty of segars,—Ditto—Plenty of flat country, thank Tellus’s rolling-pin. I’m on the sofa—Buonaparte is on the snuff-box—But you are by the seaside—argal, you bathe—you walk—you say “how beautiful”—find out resemblances between waves and camels—rocks and dancing-masters—fireshovels and telescopes—Dolphins and Madonas—which word, by the way, I must acquaint you was derived from the Syriac, and came down in a way which neither of you I am sorry to say are at all capable of comprehending. But as a time may come when by your occasional converse with me you may arrive at “something like prophetic strain,” I will unbar the gates of my pride and let my condescension stalk forth like a ghost at the Circus.—The word Ma-don-a, my dear Ladies—or—the word Mad—Ona—so I say! I am not mad—Howsumever when that aged Tamer Kewthon sold a certain camel called Peter to the overseer of the Babel Sky-works, he thus spake, adjusting his cravat round the tip of his chin—“My dear Ten-story-up-in-air! this here Beast, though I say it as shouldn’t say’t, not only has the power of subsisting 40 days and 40 nights without fire and candle but he can sing.—Here I have in my Pocket a Certificate from Signor Nicolini of the King’s Theatre; a Certificate to this effect——” I have had dinner since I left that effect upon you, and feel too heavy in mentibus to display all the Profundity of the Polygon—so you had better each of you take a glass of cherry Brandy and drink to the health of Archimedes, who was of so benign a disposition that he never would leave Syracuse in his life—So kept himself out of all Knight-Errantry.—This I know to be a fact; for it is written in the 45th book of Winkine’s treatise on garden-rollers, that he trod on a fishwoman’s toe in Liverpool, and never begged her pardon. Now the long and short is this—that is by comparison—for a long day may be a short year—A long Pole may be a very stupid fellow as a man. But let us refresh ourself from this depth of thinking, and turn to some innocent jocularity—the Bow cannot always be bent—nor the gun always loaded, if you ever let it off—and the life of man is like a great Mountain—his breath is like a Shrewsbury cake—he comes into the world like a shoeblack, and goes out of it like a cobbler—he eats like a chimney-sweeper, drinks like a gingerbread baker—and breathes like Achilles—so it being that we are such sublunary creatures, let us endeavour to correct all our bad spelling—all our most delightful abominations, and let us wish health to Marian and Jane, whoever they be and wherever.
 
2
Yours truly
3
John Keats.
 

 

10. XIV—TO FANNY KEATS.

10.1. Oxford, September 10 [1817].

 
1
My dear Fanny—Let us now begin a regular question and answer—a little pro and con; letting it interfere as a pleasant method of my coming at your favorite little wants and enjoyments, that I may meet them in a way befitting a brother.
 
2
We have been so little together since you have been able to reflect on things that I know not whether you prefer the History of King Pepin to Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress—or Cinderella and her glass slipper to Moore’s Almanack. However in a few Letters I hope I shall be able to come at that and adapt my scribblings to your Pleasure. You must tell me about all you read if it be only six Pages in a Week and this transmitted to me every now and then will procure you full sheets of Writing from me pretty frequently.—This I feel as a necessity for we ought to become intimately acquainted, in order that I may not only, as you grow up love you as my only Sister, but confide in you as my dearest friend. When I saw you last I told you of my intention of going to Oxford and ’tis now a Week since I disembark’d from his Whipship’s Coach the Defiance in this place. I am living in Magdalen Hall on a visit to a young Man with whom I have not been long acquainted, but whom I like very much—we lead very industrious lives—he in general Studies and I in proceeding at a pretty good rate with a Poem which I hope you will see early in the next year.—Perhaps you might like to know what I am writing about. I will tell you. Many Years ago there was a young handsome Shepherd who fed his flocks on a Mountain’s Side called Latmus—he was a very contemplative sort of a Person and lived solitary among the trees and Plains little thinking that such a beautiful Creature as the Moon was growing mad in Love with him.—However so it was; and when he was asleep on the Grass she used to come down from heaven and admire him excessively for a long time; and at last could not refrain from carrying him away in her arms to the top of that high Mountain Latmus while he was a dreaming—but I daresay you have read this and all the other beautiful Tales which have come down from the ancient times of that beautiful Greece. If you have not let me know and I will tell you more at large of others quite as delightful. This Oxford I have no doubt is the finest City in the world—it is full of old Gothic buildings—Spires—towers—Quadrangles—Cloisters—Groves, etc., and is surrounded with more clear streams than ever I saw together. I take a Walk by the Side of one of them every Evening and, thank God, we have not had a drop of rain these many days. I had a long and interesting Letter from George, cross lines by a short one from Tom yesterday dated Paris. They both send their loves to you. Like most Englishmen they feel a mighty preference for everything English—the French Meadows, the trees, the People, the Towns, the Churches, the Books, the everything—although they may be in themselves good: yet when put in comparison with our green Island they all vanish like Swallows in October. They have seen Cathedrals, Manuscripts, Fountains, Pictures, Tragedy, Comedy,—with other things you may by chance meet with in this Country such as Washerwomen, Lamplighters, Turnpikemen, Fishkettles, Dancing Masters, Kettle drums, Sentry Boxes, Rocking Horses, etc.—and, now they have taken them over a set of boxing-gloves.
 
3
I have written to George and requested him, as you wish I should, to write to you. I have been writing very hard lately, even till an utter incapacity came on, and I feel it now about my head: so you must not mind a little out-of-the-way sayings—though by the bye were my brain as clear as a bell I think I should have a little propensity thereto. I shall stop here till I have finished the 3d Book of my Story; which I hope will be accomplish’d in at most three Weeks from to-day—about which time you shall see me. How do you like Miss Taylor’s essays in Rhyme—I just look’d into the Book and it appeared to me suitable to you—especially since I remember your liking for those pleasant little things the Original Poems—the essays are the more mature production of the same hand. While I was speaking about France it occurred to me to speak a few Words on their Language—it is perhaps the poorest one ever spoken since the jabbering in the Tower of Babel, and when you come to know that the real use and greatness of a Tongue is to be referred to its Literature—you will be astonished to find how very inferior it is to our native Speech.—I wish the Italian would supersede French in every school throughout the Country, for that is full of real Poetry and Romance of a kind more fitted for the Pleasure of Ladies than perhaps our own.—It seems that the only end to be gained in acquiring French is the immense accomplishment of speaking it—it is none at all—a most lamentable mistake indeed. Italian indeed would sound most musically from Lips which had began to pronounce it as early as French is crammed down our Mouths, as if we were young Jackdaws at the mercy of an overfeeding Schoolboy. Now Fanny you must write soon—and write all you think about, never mind what—only let me have a good deal of your writing—You need not do it all at once—be two or three or four days about it, and let it be a diary of your little Life. You will preserve all my Letters and I will secure yours—and thus in the course of time we shall each of us have a good Bundle—which, hereafter, when things may have strangely altered and God knows what happened, we may read over together and look with pleasure on times past—that now are to come. Give my Respects to the Ladies—and so my dear Fanny I am ever
 
4
Your most affectionate Brother
5
John.
 
6
If you direct—Post Office, Oxford—your Letter will be brought to me.
 

 

11. XV.—TO JANE REYNOLDS.

11.1. Oxford, Sunday Evg. [September 14, 1817].

 
1
My dear Jane—You are such a literal translator, that I shall some day amuse myself with looking over some foreign sentences, and imagining how you would render them into English. This is an age for typical Curiosities; and I would advise you, as a good speculation, to study Hebrew, and astonish the world with a figurative version in our native tongue. The Mountains skipping like rams, and the little hills like lambs, you will leave as far behind as the hare did the tortoise. It must be so or you would never have thought that I really meant you would like to pro and con about those Honeycombs—no, I had no such idea, or, if I had, ’twould be only to tease you a little for love. So now let me put down in black and white briefly my sentiments thereon.—Imprimis—I sincerely believe that Imogen is the finest creature, and that I should have been disappointed at hearing you prefer Juliet—Item—Yet I feel such a yearning towards Juliet that I would rather follow her into Pandemonium than Imogen into Paradise—heartily wishing myself a Romeo to be worthy of her, and to hear the Devils quote the old proverb, “Birds of a feather flock together”—Amen.—
 
2
Now let us turn to the Seashore. Believe me, my dear Jane, it is a great happiness to see that you are in this finest part of the year winning a little enjoyment from the hard world. In truth, the great Elements we know of, are no mean comforters: the open sky sits upon our senses like a sapphire crown—the Air is our robe of state—the Earth is our throne, and the Sea a mighty minstrel playing before it—able, like David’s harp, to make such a one as you forget almost the tempest cares of life. I have found in the ocean’s music,—varying (tho self-same) more than the passion of Timotheus, an enjoyment not to be put into words; and, “though inland far I be,” I now hear the voice most audibly while pleasing myself in the idea of your sensations.
 
3
—— is getting well apace, and if you have a few trees, and a little harvesting about you, I’ll snap my fingers in Lucifer’s eye. I hope you bathe too—if you do not, I earnestly recommend it. Bathe thrice a week, and let us have no more sitting up next winter. Which is the best of Shakspeare’s plays? I mean in what mood and with what accompaniment do you like the sea best? It is very fine in the morning, when the sun,
 
4
“Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
5
Turns into yellow gold his salt sea streams,”
 
6
and superb when
 
7
“The sun from meridian height
8
Illumines the depth of the sea,
9
And the fishes, beginning to sweat,
10
Cry d—— it! how hot we shall be,”
 
11
and gorgeous, when the fair planet hastens
 
12
“To his home
13
Within the Western foam.”
 
14
But don’t you think there is something extremely fine after sunset, when there are a few white clouds about and a few stars blinking—when the waters are ebbing, and the horizon a mystery? This state of things has been so fulfilling to me that I am anxious to hear whether it is a favourite with you. So when you and Marianne club your letter to me put in a word or two about it. Tell Dilke that it would be perhaps as well if he left a Pheasant or Partridge alive here and there to keep up a supply of game for next season—tell him to rein in if Possible all the Nimrod of his disposition, he being a mighty hunter before the Lord—of the Manor. Tell him to shoot fair, and not to have at the Poor devils in a furrow—when they are flying, he may fire, and nobody will be the wiser.
 
15
Give my sincerest respects to Mrs. Dilke, saying that I have not forgiven myself for not having got her the little box of medicine I promised, and that, had I remained at Hampstead I would have made precious havoc with her house and furniture—drawn a great harrow over her garden—poisoned Boxer—eaten her clothes-pegs—fried her cabbages—fricaseed (how is it spelt?) her radishes—ragout’d her Onions—belaboured her beat-root—outstripped her scarlet-runners—parlez-vous’d with her french-beans—devoured her mignon or mignionette—metamorphosed her bell-handles—splintered her looking-glasses—bullocked at her cups and saucers—agonised her decanters—put old Phillips to pickle in the brine-tub—disorganised her piano—dislocated her candlesticks—emptied her wine-bins in a fit of despair—turned out her maid to grass—and astonished Brown; whose letter to her on these events I would rather see than the original Copy of the Book of Genesis. Should you see Mr. W. D.[25] remember me to him, and to little Robinson Crusoe, and to Mr. Snook. Poor Bailey, scarcely ever well, has gone to bed, pleased that I am writing to you. To your brother John (whom henceforth I shall consider as mine) and to you, my dear friends, Marianne and Jane, I shall ever feel grateful for having made known to me so real a fellow as Bailey. He delights me in the selfish and (please God) the disinterested part of my disposition. If the old Poets have any pleasure in looking down at the enjoyers of their works, their eyes must bend with a double satisfaction upon him. I sit as at a feast when he is over them, and pray that if, after my death, any of my labours should be worth saving, they may have so “honest a chronicler” as Bailey. Out of this, his enthusiasm in his own pursuit and for all good things is of an exalted kind—worthy a more healthful frame and an untorn spirit. He must have happy years to come—“he shall not die by God.”
 
16
A letter from John the other day was a chief happiness to me. I made a little mistake when, just now, I talked of being far inland. How can that be when Endymion and I are at the bottom of the sea? whence I hope to bring him in safety before you leave the seaside; and, if I can so contrive it, you shall be greeted by him upon the sea-sands, and he shall tell you all his adventures, which having finished, he shall thus proceed—“My dear Ladies, favourites of my gentle mistress, however my friend Keats may have teased and vexed you, believe me he loves you not the less—for instance, I am deep in his favour, and yet he has been hauling me through the earth and sea with unrelenting perseverance. I know for all this that he is mighty fond of me, by his contriving me all sorts of pleasures. Nor is this the least, fair ladies, this one of meeting you on the desert shore, and greeting you in his name. He sends you moreover this little scroll—” My dear Girls, I send you, per favour of Endymion, the assurance of my esteem for you, and my utmost wishes for your health and pleasure, being ever,
 
17
Your affectionate Brother
18
John Keats.
 

 

12. XVI.—TO JOHN HAMILTON REYNOLDS.

12.1. Oxford, Sunday Morn [September 21, 1817].

 
1
My dear Reynolds—So you are determined to be my mortal foe—draw a Sword at me, and I will forgive—Put a Bullet in my Brain, and I will shake it out as a dew-drop from the Lion’s Mane—put me on a Gridiron, and I will fry with great complacency—but—oh, horror! to come upon me in the shape of a Dun! Send me bills! as I say to my Tailor, send me Bills and I’ll never employ you more. However, needs must, when the devil drives: and for fear of “before and behind Mr. Honeycomb” I’ll proceed. I have not time to elucidate the forms and shapes of the grass and trees; for, rot it! I forgot to bring my mathematical case with me, which unfortunately contained my triangular Prism so that the hues of the grass cannot be dissected for you—
 
2
For these last five or six days, we have had regularly a Boat on the Isis, and explored all the streams about, which are more in number than your eye-lashes. We sometimes skim into a Bed of rushes, and there become naturalised river-folks,—there is one particularly nice nest, which we have christened “Reynolds’s Cove,” in which we have read Wordsworth and talked as may be. I think I see you and Hunt meeting in the Pit.—What a very pleasant fellow he is, if he would give up the sovereignty of a Room pro bono. What Evenings we might pass with him, could we have him from Mrs. H. Failings I am always rather rejoiced to find in a man than sorry for; they bring us to a Level. He has them, but then his makes-up are very good. He agrees with the Northern Poet in this, “He is not one of those who much delight to season their fireside with personal talk”—I must confess however having a little itch that way, and at this present moment I have a few neighbourly remarks to make. The world, and especially our England, has, within the last thirty years, been vexed and teased by a set of Devils, whom I detest so much that I almost hunger after an Acherontic promotion to a Torturer, purposely for their accommodation. These devils are a set of women, who having taken a snack or Luncheon of Literary scraps, set themselves up for towers of Babel in languages, Sapphos in Poetry, Euclids in Geometry, and everything in nothing. Among such the name of Montague has been pre-eminent. The thing has made a very uncomfortable impression on me. I had longed for some real feminine Modesty in these things, and was therefore gladdened in the extreme on opening the other day, one of Bailey’s Books—a book of poetry written by one beautiful Mrs. Philips, a friend of Jeremy Taylor’s, and called “The Matchless Orinda—” You must have heard of her, and most likely read her Poetry—I wish you have not, that I may have the pleasure of treating you with a few stanzas—I do it at a venture—You will not regret reading them once more. The following, to her friend Mrs. M. A. at parting, you will judge of.
 
3
1
 
4
I have examin’d and do find,
5
Of all that favour me
6
There’s none I grieve to leave behind
7
But only, only thee.
8
To part with thee I needs must die,
9
Could parting sep’rate thee and I.
 
10
2
 
11
But neither Chance nor Complement
12
Did element our Love;
13
’Twas sacred sympathy was lent
14
Us from the Quire above.
15
That Friendship Fortune did create,
16
Still fears a wound from Time or Fate.
 
17
3
 
18
Our chang’d and mingled Souls are grown
19
To such acquaintance now,
20
That if each would resume their own,
21
Alas! we know not how.
22
We have each other so engrost,
23
That each is in the Union lost.
 
24
4
 
25
And thus we can no Absence know,
26
Nor shall we be confin’d;
27
Our active Souls will daily go
28
To learn each others mind.
29
Nay, should we never meet to Sense,
30
Our Souls would hold Intelligence.
 
31
5
 
32
Inspired with a Flame Divine
33
I scorn to court a stay;
34
For from that noble Soul of thine
35
I ne’re can be away.
36
But I shall weep when thou dost grieve;
37
Nor can I die whil’st thou dost live.
 
38
6
 
39
By my own temper I shall guess
40
At thy felicity,
41
And only like my happiness
42
Because it pleaseth thee.
43
Our hearts at any time will tell
44
If thou, or I, be sick, or well.
 
45
7
 
46
All Honour sure I must pretend,
47
All that is good or great;
48
She that would be Rosania’s Friend,
49
Must be at least compleat.[A]
50
If I have any bravery,
51
’Tis cause I have so much of thee.
 
52
8
 
53
Thy Leiger Soul in me shall lie,
54
And all thy thoughts reveal;
55
Then back again with mine shall flie,
56
And thence to me shall steal.
57
Thus still to one another tend;
58
Such is the sacred name of Friend.
 
59
9
 
60
Thus our twin-Souls in one shall grow,
61
And teach the World new Love,
62
Redeem the Age and Sex, and show
63
A Flame Fate dares not move:
64
And courting Death to be our friend,
65
Our Lives together too shall end.
 
66
10
 
67
A Dew shall dwell upon our Tomb
68
Of such a quality,
69
That fighting Armies, thither come,
70
Shall reconciled be.
71
We’ll ask no Epitaph, but say
72
Orinda and Rosania.
 
73
In other of her poems there is a most delicate fancy of the Fletcher kind—which we will con over together. So Haydon is in Town. I had a letter from him yesterday. We will contrive as the winter comes on—but that is neither here nor there. Have you heard from Rice? Has Martin met with the Cumberland Beggar, or been wondering at the old Leech-gatherer? Has he a turn for fossils? that is, is he capable of sinking up to his Middle in a Morass? How is Hazlitt? We were reading his Table[26] last night. I know he thinks him self not estimated by ten people in the world—I wish he knew he is. I am getting on famous with my third Book—have written 800 lines thereof, and hope to finish it next Week. Bailey likes what I have done very much. Believe me, my dear Reynolds, one of my chief layings-up is the pleasure I shall have in showing it to you, I may now say, in a few days. I have heard twice from my Brothers, they are going on very well, and send their Remembrances to you. We expected to have had notices from little-Hampton this morning—we must wait till Tuesday. I am glad of their Days with the Dilkes. You are, I know, very much teased in that precious London, and want all the rest possible; so I shall be contented with as brief a scrawl—a Word or two, till there comes a pat hour.
 
74
Send us a few of your stanzas to read in “Reynolds’s Cove.” Give my Love and respects to your Mother, and remember me kindly to all at home.
 
75
Yours faithfully
76
John Keats.
 
77
I have left the doublings for Bailey, who is going to say that he will write to you to-morrow.
 

 

13. XVII.—TO BENJAMIN ROBERT HAYDON.

13.1. Oxford, September 28 [1817].

 
1
My dear Haydon—I read your letter to the young Man, whose Name is Cripps. He seemed more than ever anxious to avail himself of your offer. I think I told you we asked him to ascertain his Means. He does not possess the Philosopher’s stone—nor Fortunatus’s purse, nor Gyges’s ring—but at Bailey’s suggestion, whom I assure you is a very capital fellow, we have stummed up a kind of contrivance whereby he will be enabled to do himself the benefits you will lay in his Path. I have a great Idea that he will be a tolerable neat brush. ’Tis perhaps the finest thing that will befal him this many a year: for he is just of an age to get grounded in bad habits from which you will pluck him. He brought a copy of Mary Queen of Scots: it appears to me that he has copied the bad style of the painting, as well as coloured the eyeballs yellow like the original. He has also the fault that you pointed out to me in Hazlitt on the constringing and diffusing of substance. However I really believe that he will take fire at the sight of your Picture—and set about things. If he can get ready in time to return to town with me, which will be in a few days—I will bring him to you. You will be glad to hear that within these last three weeks I have written 1000 lines—which are the third Book of my Poem. My Ideas with respect to it I assure you are very low—and I would write the subject thoroughly again—but I am tired of it and think the time would be better spent in writing a new Romance which I have in my eye for next summer—Rome was not built in a Day—and all the good I expect from my employment this summer is the fruit of Experience which I hope to gather in my next Poem. Bailey’s kindest wishes, and my vow of being
 
2
Yours eternally
3
John Keats.
 

 

14. XVIII.—TO BENJAMIN BAILEY.

14.1. Hampstead, Wednesday [October 8, 1817].

 
1
My dear Bailey—After a tolerable journey, I went from Coach to Coach as far as Hampstead where I found my Brothers—the next Morning finding myself tolerably well I went to Lamb’s Conduit Street and delivered your parcel. Jane and Marianne were greatly improved. Marianne especially, she has no unhealthy plumpness in the face, but she comes me healthy and angular to the chin—I did not see John—I was extremely sorry to hear that poor Rice, after having had capital health during his tour, was very ill. I daresay you have heard from him. From No. 19 I went to Hunt’s and Haydon’s who live now neighbours.—Shelley was there—I know nothing about anything in this part of the world—every Body seems at Loggerheads. There’s Hunt infatuated—there’s Haydon’s picture in statu quo—There’s Hunt walks up and down his painting room criticising every head most unmercifully. There’s Horace Smith tired of Hunt. “The web of our life is of mingled yarn.”[27] Haydon having removed entirely from Marlborough Street, Cripps must direct his letter to Lisson Grove, North Paddington. Yesterday Morning while I was at Brown’s, in came Reynolds, he was pretty bobbish, we had a pleasant day—he would walk home at night that cursed cold distance. Mrs. Bentley’s children are making a horrid row[28]—whereby I regret I cannot be transported to your Room to write to you. I am quite disgusted with literary men and will never know another except Wordsworth—no not even Byron. Here is an instance of the friendship of such. Haydon and Hunt have known each other many years—now they live, pour ainsi dire, jealous neighbours—Haydon says to me, Keats, don’t show your lines to Hunt on any Account, or he will have done half for you—so it appears Hunt wishes it to be thought. When he met Reynolds in the Theatre, John told him that I was getting on to the completion of 4000 lines—Ah! says Hunt, had it not been for me they would have been 7000! If he will say this to Reynolds, what would he to other people? Haydon received a Letter a little while back on this subject from some Lady—which contains a caution to me, through him, on the subject—now is not all this a most paltry thing to think about? You may see the whole of the case by the following Extract from a Letter I wrote to George in the Spring—“As to what you say about my being a Poet, I can return no Answer but by saying that the high Idea I have of poetical fame makes me think I see it towering too high above me. At any rate, I have no right to talk until Endymion is finished—it will be a test, a trial of my Powers of Imagination, and chiefly of my invention, which is a rare thing indeed—by which I must make 4000 lines of one bare circumstance, and fill them with poetry: and when I consider that this is a great task, and that when done it will take me but a dozen paces towards the temple of fame—it makes me say—God forbid that I should be without such a task! I have heard Hunt say, and I may be asked—why endeavour after a long Poem? To which I should answer, Do not the Lovers of Poetry like to have a little Region to wander in, where they may pick and choose, and in which the images are so numerous that many are forgotten and found new in a second Reading: which may be food for a Week’s stroll in the Summer? Do not they like this better than what they can read through before Mrs. Williams comes down stairs? a Morning work at most.
 
2
“Besides, a long poem is a test of invention, which I take to be the Polar star of Poetry, as Fancy is the Sails—and Imagination the rudder. Did our great Poets ever write short Pieces? I mean in the shape of Tales—this same invention seems indeed of late years to have been forgotten as a Poetical excellence—But enough of this, I put on no Laurels till I shall have finished Endymion, and I hope Apollo is not angered at my having made a Mockery at him at Hunt’s”——
 
3
You see, Bailey, how independent my Writing has been. Hunt’s dissuasion was of no avail—I refused to visit Shelley that I might have my own unfettered scope;—and after all, I shall have the Reputation of Hunt’s élève. His corrections and amputations will by the knowing ones be traced in the Poem. This is, to be sure, the vexation of a day, nor would I say so many words about it to any but those whom I know to have my welfare and reputation at heart. Haydon promised to give directions for those Casts, and you may expect to see them soon, with as many Letters—You will soon hear the dinning of Bells—never mind! you and Gleig[29] will defy the foul fiend—But do not sacrifice your health to Books: do take it kindly and not so voraciously. I am certain if you are your own Physician, your Stomach will resume its proper strength and then what great benefits will follow.—My sister wrote a Letter to me, which I think must be at the post-office—Ax Will to see. My Brother’s kindest remembrances to you—we are going to dine at Brown’s where I have some hopes of meeting Reynolds. The little Mercury I have taken has corrected the poison and improved my health—though I feel from my employment that I shall never be again secure in Robustness. Would that you were as well as
 
4
Your Sincere friend and brother
5
John Keats.
 

 

15. XIX.—TO BENJAMIN BAILEY.

15.1. [Hampstead: about November 1, 1817.]

 
1
My dear Bailey—So you have got a Curacy—good, but I suppose you will be obliged to stop among your Oxford favourites during Term time. Never mind. When do you preach your first sermon?—tell me, for I shall propose to the two R.’s[30] to hear it,—so don’t look into any of the old corner oaken pews, for fear of being put out by us. Poor Johnny Moultrie can’t be there. He is ill, I expect—but that’s neither here nor there. All I can say, I wish him as well through it as I am like to be. For this fortnight I have been confined at Hampstead. Saturday evening was my first day in town, when I went to Rice’s—as we intend to do every Saturday till we know not when. We hit upon an old gent we had known some few years ago, and had a veiry pleasante daye. In this world there is no quiet,—nothing but teasing and snubbing and vexation. My brother Tom looked very unwell yesterday, and I am for shipping him off to Lisbon. Perhaps I ship there with him. I have not seen Mrs. Reynolds since I left you, wherefore my conscience smites me. I think of seeing her to-morrow; have you any message? I hope Gleig came soon after I left. I don’t suppose I’ve written as many lines as you have read volumes, or at least chapters, since I saw you. However, I am in a fair way now to come to a conclusion in at least three weeks, when I assure you I shall be glad to dismount for a month or two; although I’ll keep as tight a rein as possible till then, nor suffer myself to sleep. I will copy for you the opening of the Fourth Book, in which you will see from the manner I had not an opportunity of mentioning any poets, for fear of spoiling the effect of the passage by particularising them.
 
2
Thus far had I written when I received your last, which made me at the sight of the direction caper for despair; but for one thing I am glad that I have been neglectful, and that is, therefrom I have received a proof of your utmost kindness, which at this present I feel very much, and I wish I had a heart always open to such sensations; but there is no altering a man’s nature, and mine must be radically wrong, for it will lie dormant a whole month. This leads me to suppose that there are no men thoroughly wicked, so as never to be self-spiritualised into a kind of sublime misery; but, alas! ’tis but for an hour. He is the only Man “who has kept watch on man’s mortality,” who has philanthropy enough to overcome the disposition to an indolent enjoyment of intellect, who is brave enough to volunteer for uncomfortable hours. You remember in Hazlitt’s essay on commonplace people he says, “they read the Edinburgh and Quarterly, and think as they do.” Now, with respect to Wordsworth’s “Gipsy,” I think he is right, and yet I think Hazlitt is right, and yet I think Wordsworth is rightest. If Wordsworth had not been idle, he had not been without his task; nor had the “Gipsies”—they in the visible world had been as picturesque an object as he in the invisible. The smoke of their fire, their attitudes, their voices, were all in harmony with the evenings. It is a bold thing to say—and I would not say it in print—but it seems to me that if Wordsworth had thought a little deeper at that moment, he would not have written the poem at all. I should judge it to have been written in one of the most comfortable moods of his life—it is a kind of sketchy intellectual landscape, not a search after truth, nor is it fair to attack him on such a subject; for it is with the critic as with the poet; had Hazlitt thought a little deeper, and been in a good temper, he would never have spied out imaginary faults there. The Sunday before last I asked Haydon to dine with me, when I thought of settling all matters with him in regard to Cripps, and let you know about it. Now, although I engaged him a fortnight before, he sent illness as an excuse. He never will come. I have not been well enough to stand the chance of a wet night, and so have not seen him, nor been able to expurgatorise more masks for you; but I will not speak—your speakers are never doers. Then Reynolds,—every time I see him and mention you, he puts his hand to his head and looks like a son of Niobe’s; but he’ll write soon.
 
3
Rome, you know, was not built in a day. I shall be able, by a little perseverance, to read your letters off-hand. I am afraid your health will suffer from over study before your examination. I think you might regulate the thing according to your own pleasure,—and I would too. They were talking of your being up at Christmas. Will it be before you have passed? There is nothing, my dear Bailey, I should rejoice at more than to see you comfortable with a little Peona wife; an affectionate wife, I have a sort of confidence, would do you a great happiness. May that be one of the many blessings I wish you. Let me be but the one-tenth of one to you, and I shall think it great. My brother George’s kindest wishes to you. My dear Bailey, I am,
 
4
Your affectionate friend
5
John Keats.
 
6
I should not like to be pages in your way; when in a tolerable hungry mood you have no mercy. Your teeth are the Rock Tarpeian down which you capsize epic poems like mad. I would not for forty shillings be Coleridge’s Lays in your way. I hope you will soon get through this abominable writing in the schools, and be able to keep the terms with more comfort in the hope of retiring to a comfortable and quiet home out of the way of all Hopkinses and black beetles. When you are settled, I will come and take a peep at your church, your house; try whether I shall have grown too lusty for my chair by the fireside, and take a peep at my earliest bower. A question is the best beacon towards a little speculation. Then ask me after my health and spirits. This question ratifies in my mind what I have said above. Health and spirits can only belong unalloyed to the selfish man—the man who thinks much of his fellows can never be in spirits. You must forgive, although I have only written three hundred lines; they would have been five, but I have been obliged to go to town. Yesterday I called at Lamb’s. St. Jane looked very flush when I first looked in, but was much better before I left.
 

 

16. XX.—TO BENJAMIN BAILEY.

16.1. [Fragment from an outside sheet: postmark London, November 5, 1817.]

 
1
... I will speak of something else, or my spleen will get higher and higher—and I am a bearer of the two-edged sword.—I hope you will receive an answer from Haydon soon—if not, Pride! Pride! Pride! I have received no more subscription—but shall soon have a full health, Liberty and leisure to give a good part of my time to him. I will certainly be in time for him. We have promised him one year: let that have elapsed, then do as we think proper. If I did not know how impossible it is, I should say—“do not at this time of disappointments, disturb yourself about others.”
 
2
There has been a flaming attack upon Hunt in the Endinburgh Magazine. I never read anything so virulent—accusing him of the greatest Crimes, depreciating his Wife, his Poetry, his Habits, his Company, his Conversation. These Philippics are to come out in numbers—called “the Cockney School of Poetry.” There has been but one number published—that on Hunt—to which they have prefixed a motto from one Cornelius Webb Poetaster—who unfortunately was of our party occasionally at Hampstead and took it into his head to write the following,—something about “we’ll talk on Wordsworth, Byron, a theme we never tire on;” and so forth till he comes to Hunt and Keats. In the Motto they have put Hunt and Keats in large letters—I have no doubt that the second number was intended for me: but have hopes of its non-appearance, from the following Advertisement in last Sunday’s Examiner:—“To Z.—The Writer of the Article signed Z., in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine for October 1817 is invited to send his address to the printer of the Examiner, in order that Justice may be Executed on the proper person.” I don’t mind the thing much—but if he should go to such lengths with me as he has done with Hunt, I must infallibly call him to an Account if he be a human being, and appears in Squares and Theatres, where we might possibly meet—I don’t relish his abuse....
 

 

17. XXI.—TO CHARLES WENTWORTH DILKE.

17.1. [Hampstead, November 1817.]

 
1
My dear Dilke—Mrs. Dilke or Mr. Wm. Dilke, whoever of you shall receive this present, have the kindness to send pr. bearer Sibylline Leaves, and your petitioner shall ever pray as in duty bound.
 
2
Given under my hand this Wednesday morning of Novr. 1817.
 
3
John Keats.
 
4
Vivant Rex et Regina—amen.
 

 

18. XXII.—TO BENJAMIN BAILEY.

18.1. [Burford Bridge, November 22, 1817.]

 
1
My dear Bailey—I will get over the first part of this (unsaid[31]) Letter as soon as possible, for it relates to the affairs of poor Cripps.—To a Man of your nature such a Letter as Haydon’s must have been extremely cutting—What occasions the greater part of the World’s Quarrels?—simply this—two Minds meet, and do not understand each other time enough to prevent any shock or surprise at the conduct of either party—As soon as I had known Haydon three days, I had got enough of his Character not to have been surprised at such a Letter as he has hurt you with. Nor, when I knew it, was it a principle with me to drop his acquaintance; although with you it would have been an imperious feeling. I wish you knew all that I think about Genius and the Heart—and yet I think that you are thoroughly acquainted with my innermost breast in that respect, or you could not have known me even thus long, and still hold me worthy to be your dear Friend. In passing, however, I must say one thing that has pressed upon me lately, and increased my Humility and capability of submission—and that is this truth—Men of Genius are great as certain ethereal Chemicals operating on the Mass of neutral intellect—but they have not any individuality, any determined Character—I would call the top and head of those who have a proper self Men of Power.
 
2
But I am running my head into a subject which I am certain I could not do justice to under five Years’ study, and 3 vols. octavo—and, moreover, I long to be talking about the Imagination—so my dear Bailey, do not think of this unpleasant affair, if possible do not—I defy any harm to come of it—I defy. I shall write to Cripps this week, and request him to tell me all his goings-on from time to time by Letter wherever I may be. It will go on well—so don’t because you have suddenly discovered a Coldness in Haydon suffer yourself to be teased—Do not my dear fellow—O! I wish I was as certain of the end of all your troubles as that of your momentary start about the authenticity of the Imagination. I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of the Heart’s affections, and the truth of Imagination. What the Imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth—whether it existed before or not,—for I have the same idea of all our passions as of Love: they are all, in their sublime, creative of essential Beauty. In a Word, you may know my favourite speculation by my first Book, and the little Song I sent in my last, which is a representation from the fancy of the probable mode of operating in these Matters. The Imagination may be compared to Adam’s dream,—he awoke and found it truth:[32]—I am more zealous in this affair, because I have never yet been able to perceive how anything can be known for truth by consecutive reasoning—and yet it must be. Can it be that even the greatest Philosopher ever arrived at his Goal without putting aside numerous objections? However it may be, O for a life of Sensations rather than of Thoughts! It is “a Vision in the form of Youth,” a shadow of reality to come—And this consideration has further convinced me,—for it has come as auxiliary to another favourite speculation of mine,—that we shall enjoy ourselves hereafter by having what we called happiness on Earth repeated in a finer tone—And yet such a fate can only befall those who delight in Sensation, rather than hunger as you do after Truth. Adam’s dream will do here, and seems to be a Conviction that Imagination and its empyreal reflection, is the same as human life and its spiritual repetition. But, as I was saying, the Simple imaginative Mind may have its rewards in the repetition of its own silent Working coming continually on the Spirit with a fine Suddenness—to compare great things with small, have you never by being surprised with an old Melody, in a delicious place by a delicious voice, felt over again your very speculations and surmises at the time it first operated on your soul?—do you not remember forming to yourself the Singer’s face—more beautiful than it was possible, and yet with the elevation of the Moment you did not think so? Even then you were mounted on the Wings of Imagination, so high that the prototype must be hereafter—that delicious face you will see. What a time! I am continually running away from the subject. Sure this cannot be exactly the Case with a complex mind—one that is imaginative, and at the same time careful of its fruits,—who would exist partly on Sensation, partly on thought—to whom it is necessary that years should bring the philosophic Mind? Such a one I consider yours, and therefore it is necessary to your eternal happiness that you not only drink this old Wine of Heaven, which I shall call the redigestion of our most ethereal Musings upon Earth, but also increase in knowledge and know all things. I am glad to hear that you are in a fair way for Easter. You will soon get through your unpleasant reading, and then!—but the world is full of troubles, and I have not much reason to think myself pestered with many.
 
3
I think Jane or Marianne has a better opinion of me than I deserve: for, really and truly, I do not think my Brother’s illness connected with mine—you know more of the real Cause than they do; nor have I any chance of being rack’d as you have been. You perhaps at one time thought there was such a thing as worldly happiness to be arrived at, at certain periods of time marked out,—you have of necessity from your disposition been thus led away—I scarcely remember counting upon any Happiness—I look not for it if it be not in the present hour,—nothing startles me beyond the moment. The Setting Sun will always set me to rights, or if a Sparrow come before my Window, I take part in its existence and pick about the gravel. The first thing that strikes me on hearing a Misfortune having befallen another is this—“Well, it cannot be helped: he will have the pleasure of trying the resources of his Spirit”—and I beg now, my dear Bailey, that hereafter should you observe anything cold in me not to put it to the account of heartlessness, but abstraction—for I assure you I sometimes feel not the influence of a passion or affection during a whole Week—and so long this sometimes continues, I begin to suspect myself, and the genuineness of my feelings at other times—thinking them a few barren Tragedy Tears.
 
4
My brother Tom is much improved—he is going to Devonshire—whither I shall follow him. At present, I am just arrived at Dorking—to change the Scene—change the Air, and give me a spur to wind up my Poem, of which there are wanting 500 lines. I should have been here a day sooner, but the Reynoldses persuaded me to stop in Town to meet your friend Christie. There were Rice and Martin—we talked about Ghosts. I will have some Talk with Taylor and let you know,—when please God I come down at Christmas. I will find that Examiner if possible. My best regards to Gleig, my Brothers’ to you and Mrs. Bentley.
 
5
Your affectionate Friend
6
John Keats.
 
7
I want to say much more to you—a few hints will set me going. Direct Burford Bridge near Dorking.
 

 

19. XXIII.—TO JOHN HAMILTON REYNOLDS.

19.1. [Burford Bridge,] November 22, 1817.

 
1
My dear Reynolds—There are two things which tease me here—one of them Cripps, and the other that I cannot go with Tom into Devonshire. However, I hope to do my duty to myself in a week or so; and then I’ll try what I can do for my neighbour—now, is not this virtuous? On returning to Town I’ll damm all Idleness—indeed, in superabundance of employment, I must not be content to run here and there on little two-penny errands, but turn Rakehell, i.e. go a masking, or Bailey will think me just as great a Promise Keeper as he thinks you; for myself I do not, and do not remember above one complaint against you for matter o’ that. Bailey writes so abominable a hand, to give his Letter a fair reading requires a little time: so I had not seen, when I saw you last, his invitation to Oxford at Christmas. I’ll go with you. You know how poorly Rice was. I do not think it was all corporeal,—bodily pain was not used to keep him silent. I’ll tell you what; he was hurt at what your Sisters said about his joking with your Mother, he was, soothly to sain. It will all blow over. God knows, my dear Reynolds, I should not talk any sorrow to you—you must have enough vexations—so I won’t any more. If I ever start a rueful subject in a letter to you—blow me! Why don’t you?—now I am going to ask you a very silly Question neither you nor anybody else could answer, under a folio, or at least a Pamphlet—you shall judge—why don’t you, as I do, look unconcerned at what may be called more particularly Heart-vexations? They never surprise me—lord! a man should have the fine point of his soul taken off to become fit for this world.
 
2
I like this place very much. There is Hill and Dale and a little River. I went up Box hill this Evening after the Moon—“you a’ seen the Moon”—came down, and wrote some lines. Whenever I am separated from you, and not engaged in a continued Poem, every letter shall bring you a lyric—but I am too anxious for you to enjoy the whole to send you a particle. One of the three books I have with me is Shakspeare’s Poems: I never found so many beauties in the sonnets—they seem to be full of fine things said unintentionally—in the intensity of working out conceits. Is this to be borne? Hark ye!
 
3
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
4
Which erst from heat did canopy the head,
5
And Summer’s green all girded up in sheaves,
6
Borne on the bier with white and bristly head.
 
7
He has left nothing to say about nothing or anything: for look at snails—you know what he says about Snails—you know when he talks about “cockled Snails”—well, in one of these sonnets, he says—the chap slips into—no! I lie! this is in the Venus and Adonis: the simile brought it to my Mind.
 
8
As the snail, whose tender horns being hit,
9
Shrinks back into his shelly cave with pain,
10
And there all smothered up in shade doth sit,
11
Long after fearing to put forth again;
12
So at his bloody view her eyes are fled,
13
Into the deep dark Cabins of her head.
 
14
He overwhelms a genuine Lover of poesy with all manner of abuse, talking about—
 
15
“a poet’s rage
16
And stretched metre of an antique song.”
 
17
Which, by the bye, will be a capital motto for my poem, won’t it? He speaks too of “Time’s antique pen”—and “April’s first-born flowers”—and “Death’s eternal cold.”—By the Whim-King! I’ll give you a stanza, because it is not material in connection, and when I wrote it I wanted you—to give your vote, pro or con.—
 
18
Crystalline Brother of the belt of Heaven,
19
Aquarius! to whom King Jove hath given
20
Two liquid pulse-streams, ’stead of feather’d wings—
21
Two fan-like fountains—thine illuminings
22
For Dian play:
23
Dissolve the frozen purity of air;
24
Let thy white shoulders, silvery and bare,
25
Show cold through wat’ry pinions: make more bright
26
The Star-Queen’s Crescent on her marriage night:
27
Haste, haste away!
 
28
... I see there is an advertisement in the Chronicle to Poets—he is so over-loaded with poems on the “late Princess.” I suppose you do not lack—send me a few—lend me thy hand to laugh a little—send me a little pullet-sperm, a few finch-eggs—and remember me to each of our card-playing Club. When you die you will all be turned into Dice, and be put in pawn with the devil: for cards, they crumple up like anything....
 
29
I rest Your affectionate friend
30
John Keats.
 
31
Give my love to both houses—hinc atque illinc.
 

 

20. XXIV.—TO GEORGE AND THOMAS KEATS.

20.1. Hampstead, December 22, 1817.

 
1
My dear Brothers—I must crave your pardon for not having written ere this.... I saw Kean return to the public in Richard III., and finely he did it, and, at the request of Reynolds, I went to criticise his Duke in Richd.—the critique is in to-day’s Champion, which I send you with the Examiner, in which you will find very proper lamentation on the obsoletion of Christmas Gambols and pastimes: but it was mixed up with so much egotism of that drivelling nature that pleasure is entirely lost. Hone the publisher’s trial, you must find very amusing, and as Englishmen very encouraging: his Not Guilty is a thing, which not to have been, would have dulled still more Liberty’s Emblazoning—Lord Ellenborough has been paid in his own coin—Wooler and Hone have done us an essential service. I have had two very pleasant evenings with Dilke yesterday and to-day, and am at this moment just come from him, and feel in the humour to go on with this, begun in the morning, and from which he came to fetch me. I spent Friday evening with Wells[33] and went next morning to see Death on the Pale horse. It is a wonderful picture, when West’s age is considered; but there is nothing to be intense upon, no women one feels mad to kiss, no face swelling into reality. The excellence of every art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeables evaporate from their being in close relationship with Beauty and Truth—Examine King Lear, and you will find this exemplified throughout; but in this picture we have unpleasantness without any momentous depth of speculation excited, in which to bury its repulsiveness—The picture is larger than Christ rejected.
 
2
I dined with Haydon the Sunday after you left, and had a very pleasant day, I dined too (for I have been out too much lately) with Horace Smith and met his two Brothers with Hill and Kingston and one Du Bois, they only served to convince me how superior humour is to wit, in respect to enjoyment—These men say things which make one start, without making one feel, they are all alike; their manners are alike; they all know fashionables; they have all a mannerism in their very eating and drinking, in their mere handling a Decanter. They talked of Kean and his low company—would I were with that company instead of yours said I to myself! I know such like acquaintance will never do for me and yet I am going to Reynolds, on Wednesday. Brown and Dilke walked with me and back from the Christmas pantomime. I had not a dispute, but a disquisition, with Dilke upon various subjects; several things dove-tailed in my mind, and at once it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakspeare possessed so enormously—I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery,[34] from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. This pursued through volumes would perhaps take us no further than this, that with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration.
 
3
Shelley’s poem[35] is out and there are words about its being objected to, as much as Queen Mab was. Poor Shelley I think he has his Quota of good qualities, in sooth la! Write soon to your most sincere friend and affectionate Brother
 
4
John.
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◈ Letters Of John Keats To His Family And Friends (존 키츠의 편지) ◈

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