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it I shall be as obstinate and heady as a Radical. By the “Examiners” coming in your handwriting you must be in town. They have put me into spirits. Notwithstanding my aristocratic temper, I cannot help being very much pleased with the present public proceedings. I hope sincerely I shall be able to put a mite of help to the liberal side of the question before I die. If you should have left town again (for your holidays cannot be up yet), let me know when this is forwarded to you. A most extraordinary mischance has befallen two letters I wrote Brown-one from London, whither I was obliged to go on business for George; the other from this place since my return. I can't make it out. I am excessively sorry for it. I shall hear from Brown and from you almost together, for I have sent him a letter to-day.

Ever your sincere friend,

JOHN KEATS,

WINCHESTER,

Sept. 5 [1819].

MY DEAR TAYLOR,

This morning I received yours of the 2nd, and with it a letter from Hessey, inclosing a bank post bill of £30, an ample sum I assure you—more I had no thought of. You should not have delayed so

long in Fleet Street; leading an inactive life as you did was breathing poison : you will find the country air do more for you than you expect. But it must be proper country air. You must choose a spot. What sort of a place is Retford ? You should have a dry, gravelly, barren, elevated country, open to the currents of air, and such a place is generally furnished with the finest springs. The neighbourhood of a. rich, inclosed, fulsome, manured, arable land, especially in a valley, and almost as bad on a flat, would be almost as bad as the smoke of Fleet Street. Such a place as this was Shanklin, only open to the south-east, and surrounded by hills in every other direction. From this south-east came the damps from the sea, which, having no egress, the air would for days together take on an unhealthy idiosyncrasy altogether enervating and weakening as a city smoke. I felt it very much. Since I have been here in Winchester I have been improving in health : it is not so confined, and there is, on one side of the city, a dry chalky down, where the air is worth sixpence a pint. So if you do not get better at Retford, do not impute it to your own weakness until you have well considered the nature of the air and soilespecially as Autumn is encroaching for the Autumn fog over a rich land is like the steam from cabbage water. What makes the great difference between valesmen, flatlandmen, and mountaineers ? The cultivation of the earth in a great measure. Our health, temperament, and disposition, are taken more (notwithstanding the contradiction of the history of Cain and Abel) from the air we breathe, than is generally imagined. See the difference between a peasant and a butcher. I am convinced a great cause of it is the difference of the air they breathe : the one takes his mingled with the fume of slaughter, the other from the dank exhalement from the glebe ; the teeming damp that comes up from the ploughfurrow is of more effect in taming the fierceness of a strong man than his labour. Let him be mowing furze upon a mountain, and at the day's end his thoughts will run upon a pick-axe if he ever had handled one ;-—let him leave the plough, and he will think quietly of his supper. Agriculture is the tamer of men—the steam from the earth is like drinking their mother's milk-it enervates their nature. This appears a great cause of the imbecility of the Chinese: and if this sort of atmosphere is a mitigation to the energies of a strong man, how much more must it injure a weak one, unoccupied, unexercised. For what is the cause of so many men maintaining a good state in cities, but occupation ? An idle man, a man who is not sensitively alive to self-interest, in a city, cannot continue long in good health. This is easily explained. If you were to walk leisurely through an unwholesome path in the fens, with a little horror of them, you would be sure to have your ague. But let Macbeth cross the same path, with the dagger in the air leading him on, and he would never have an ague or anything like it. You should give these things a serious consideration. Notts, I believe, is a flat country. You should be on the slope of one of the dry barren hills in Somersetshire. I am convinced there is as harmful air to be breathed in the country as in town.

I am greatly obliged to you for your letter. Perhaps, if you had had strength and spirits enough, you would have felt offended by my offering a note of hand, or, rather, expressed it. However, I am sure you will give me credit for not in anywise mistrusting you ; or imagining that you would take advantage of any power I might give you over me. No, it proceeded from my serious resolve not to be a gratuitous borrower, from a great desire to be correct in money matters, to have in my desk the chronicles of them to refer to, and know my worldly non-estate : besides, in case of my death, such documents would be but just, if merely as memorials of the friendly turns I had done to me.

Had I known of your illness I should not have written in such fiery phrase in my first letter. I

hope that shortly you will be able to bear six times as much.

Brown likes the tragedy very much, but he is not a fit judge of it, as I have only acted as midwife to his plot, and of course he will be fond of his child. I do not think I can make you any extracts without spoiling the effect of the whole when you come to read it. I hope you will then not think

my

labour mispent. Since I finished it I have finished “ Lamia,” and am now occupied in revising “St. Agnes' Eve," and studying Italian. Ariosto I find as diffuse, in parts, as Spenser. I understand completely the difference between them. I will cross the letter with some lines from “ Lamia."

Brown's kindest remembrances to you, and I am ever your most sincere friend,

JOHN KEATS.

I shall be alone here for three weeks, expecting account of

your

health.

WINCHESTER,

22nd Sept. 1819.

MY DEAR REYNOLDS,

I was very glad to hear from Woodhouse that you

would meet in the country. I hope you will pass some pleasant time together; which I wish to

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