Imágenes de páginas


August 25, [1819.)


By this post I write to Rice, who will tell you why we have left Shanklin, and how we like this place. I have indeed scarcely anything else to say, leading so monotonous a life, unless I was to give you a history of sensations and day nightmares. You would not find me at all unhappy in it, as all my thoughts and feelings, which are of the selfish nature, home speculations, every day continue to make me more iron. I am convinced more and more, every day, that fine writing is, next to fine doing, the top thing in the world; the “Paradise Lost” becomes a greater wonder. The more I know what my diligence may in time probably effect, the more does my heart distend with pride and obstinacy. I feel it in my power to become a popular writer. I feel it in my power to refuse the poisonous suffrage of a public. My own being, which I know to be, becomes of more consequence to me than the crowds of shadows in the shape of men and women that inhabit a kingdom. The soul is a world of itself, and has enough to do in its own home. Those whom I know already, and who have grown as it were a part of myself, I could not do without; but for the rest of mankind, they are as much a dream to me as Milton's Hierarchies." I think if I had a free and healthy and lasting organisation of heart, and lungs as strong as an ox, so as to be able [to bear] unhurt the shock of extreme thought and sen. sation without weariness, I could pass my life

very nearly alone, though it should last eighty years. But I feel my body too weak to support me to this height; I am obliged continually to check myself, and be nothing

It would be vain for me to endeavour after a more reasonable manner of writing to you. I have nothing to speak of but myself, and what can I say but what I feel? If you should have any reason to regret this state of excitement in me, I will turn the tide of your feelings in the right channel, by mentioning that it is the only state for the best sort of poetrythat is all I care for, all I live for. Forgive me for not filling up the whole sheet; letters become so irksome to me, that the next time I leave London I shall petition them all to be spared to me. Το give me credit for constancy, and at the same time waive letter writing, will be the highest indulgence I can think of. Ever your affectionate friend,

John Keats.


Wednesday Evening.


Whatever I take to, for the time, I cannot leave off in a hurry; letter-writing is the go now; I have consumed a quire at least. You must give me credit, now, for a free letter, when it is in reality an interested one on two points, the one requestive, the other verging to the pros and cons. As I expect they will lead me to seeing and conferring with you for a short time, I shall not enter at all upon a letter I have lately received from George, of not the most comfortable intelligence, but proceed to these two points, which, if you can Hume out into sections and subsections, for my edification,


will oblige me. The first I shall begin upon ; the other will follow like a tail to a comet. I have written to Brown on the subject, and can but go over the same ground with you in a very short time, it not being more in length than the ordinary paces between the wickets. It concerns a resolution I have taken to endeavour to acquire something by temporary writing in periodical works. You must agree with me how unwise it is to keep feeding upon hopes, which depending so much on the state of temper and imagination, appear gloomy or bright, near or afar


off, just as it happens. Now an act has three parts—to act, to do, and to perform-I mean I should do something for my immediate welfare. Even if I am swept away like a spider from a drawing-room, I am determined to spin-homespun, anything for sale. Yea, I will traffic, anything but mortgage my brain to Blackwood. I am determined not to lie like a dead lump. You may say I want tact. That is easily acquired. You may be up to the slang of a cock-pit in three battles. It is fortunate I have not, before this, been tempted to venture on the

I should, a year or two ago, have spoken my mind on every subject with the utmost simplicity. I hope I have learned a little better, and am confident I shall be able to cheat as well as any literary Jew of the market, and shine up an article on anything, without much knowledge of the subject, aye, like an orange. I would willingly have recourse to other means. I cannot; I am fit for nothing but literature. Wait for the issue of this tragedy? No: there cannot be greater uncertainties, east, west, north, and south, than concerning dramatic composition. How many months must I wait! Had I not better begin to look about me now? If better events supersede this necessity, what harm will be done? I have no trust whatever on poetry. I don't wonder at it: the marvel is to me how people read

[blocks in formation]

so much of it. I think you will see the reasonableness of my plan. To forward it, I purpose living in cheap lodgings in town, that I may be in the reach of books and information, of which there is here a plentiful lack. If I can [find] any place tolerably comfortable, I will settle myself and fag till I can afford to buy pleasure, which, if [I] never can afford, I must go without. Talking of pleasure, this moment I was writing with one hand, and with the other holding to my mouth a nectarine. Good God, how fine! It went down soft, pulpy, slushy, oozyall its delicious embonpoint melted down my throat like a large beatified strawberry. Now I come to my request. Should you like me for a neighbour again? Come, plump it out, I won't blush. I should also be in the neighbourhood of Mrs. Wylie, which I should be glad of, though that of course does not influ

Therefore will you look about Rodney Street for a couple of rooms for me-rooms like the gallant's legs in Massinger's time, “ as good as the times allow, Sir!" I have written to-day to Reynolds, and to Woodhouse. Do you know him? He is a friend of Taylor's, at whom Brown has taken one of his funny odd dislikes.

I'm sure he's wrong, because Woodhouse likes my poetry—conclusive. I ask your opinion, and yet I must say to you, as to him (Brown), that if you have anything to say against

ence me.

« AnteriorContinuar »