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These, these will give the world another heart,
Removed to 76 Cheapside
My dear Sir,
TO BENJAMIN ROBERT HAYDON.
Thursday afternoon, 20 November 1816. [Imperfect Postmark, No. 21]
Your letter has filled me with a proud pleasure, and shall be kept by me as a stimulus to exertion-I begin to fix my eye upon one horizon. My feelings entirely fall in with yours in regard to the Ellipsis, and I glory in it. The Idea of your sending it to Wordsworth put me out of breath-you know with what Reverence I would send my Well-wishes to him.
IV. Lord Houghton says-"It should here be remembered that Wordsworth was not then what he is now, that he was confounded with much that was thought ridiculous and unmanly in the new school, and that it was something for so young a student to have torn away the veil of prejudice then hanging over that nowhonoured name, and to have proclaimed his reverence in such earnest words, while so many men of letters could only scorn or jeer." It was perhaps between this date and that of the next letter that the following excellent sonnet by Reynolds was written. I give it and the letter accompanying it, from the manuscript preserved in Haydon's journal, as a link in the chain of recollections whereby we may follow more or less closely the relations of Keats with a brilliant circle of friends:
My dear Haydon,
Lamb's Condt. Street
Friday morning 10 o'Clock
As you are now getting "golden opinions from all sorts of men," it was not fitting that One who is sincerely your Friend should be found wanting. Last night when you left me-I went to my bed-And the Sonnet on the other side absolutely started into my mind. I send it you, because I really feel your Genius, and because I know that things of this kind are the dearest rewards of Genius. It is not equal to anything you have yet had, in power, I know ;-but it is sincere, and that is a recommendation. Will you, at my desire, send a copy to Mr. Keats, and say to him, how much I was pleased with his. Yours affectionately J. H. Reynolds
SONNET TO HAYDON
Haydon!-Thou'rt born to Immortality!—
To CHARLES COWDEN CLARKE.
My dear Charles,
[Postmark, Lombard Street, 17 December 1816.]
You may now look at Minerva's Ægis with impunity, seeing that my awful Visage did not turn you into a John Doree. You have accordingly a legitimate title to a CopyI will use my interest to procure it for you. I'll tell you whatI met Reynolds at Haydon's a few mornings since he promised to be with me this Evening and Yesterday I had the same promise from Severn and I must put you in Mind that on last All hallowmas' day you gave me your word that you would spend this Evening with me--so no putting off. I have done little to Endymion1 lately-I hope to finish it in one more attack-I believe you I went to Richards's—it was so whoreson a Night that I stopped there all the next day. His Remembrances to you. (Ext. from the common place Book of my Mind-Mem.-Wednesday-Hampstead-call in Warner Street -a Sketch of Mr. Hunt.)-I will ever consider you my sincere and affectionate friend-you will not doubt that I am your's. God bless you
I watch whole Nations o'er thy works sublime
Whose giant genius braves the hate of Time!
Art thou majestical;-Thy fancies bring
Melts from thy pencil like the breath of Spring.
J. H. Reynolds In Haydon's writing, underneath the sonnet, is the note, "Wild enthusiasm— B. R. Haydon, 1842."
V. This letter, addressed similarly to No. II, probably refers to one of Severn's portraits of Keats.
1 The reference is to the short poem originally so called, but ultimately published in 1817 without a title. It begins with the words "I stood tip-toe upon a little hill," and will be found at pages 7 to 13 of the first volume of the Poems in this edition. I presume Richards is the printer of the 1817 volume,-C. Richards of 18 Warwick Street, Golden Square.
To JOHN HAMILTON REYNOLDS.
My dear Reynolds
Sunday Evening [March 1817.]
Your kindness1 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.
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.
There is a report that a young Lady2 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.
yours most sincerely
To JOHN HAMILTON REYNOLDS.
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.
1 Reynolds praised him in a sonnet.
2I have not found any positive trace of this report; but it may possibly have had reference to a young lady in the theatrical profession, who had been driven thereto by the untimely death of her father. Miss Macauley, an actress who had made some reputation on the London stage by the end of 1818, was also an authoress-had published 'Macauley's Literary Amusements' while in Macready's Company at Newcastle. Reports such as Keats alludes to were current about her in the next year, as witness the following contradiction from 'The Literary Inquisitor' for December 1818:-"The forthcoming Romance, at Drury Lane Theatre, is not from the pen of Mr. Soane, nor from that of Miss Macauley, but from Mr. Stephen Kemble's."
VII. Lord Houghton says Keats "found himself on his first entrance into manhood...with many friends interested in his fortunes, and with the faith in the future which generally accompanies the highest genius. Mr. Haydon seems to have been to him a wise and prudent counsellor, and to have encouraged him to brace his powers by undistracted study, while he advised him to leave London for awhile, and take more care of his health. The following note, written in March, shows that Keats did as he was recommended." The date of Haydon's letter to Keats on the Elgin Marbles Sonnets (Volume II, page 562) appears from the manuscript in his journal to be the 3rd of March 1817. The passage omitted from the end of the first paragraph, as given in the 'Correspondence,' is "You filled me
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.1 I must . . . myself. . . 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. Your sincere friend
with fury for an hour, and with admiration for ever"; and in a postscript he says "I shall expect you and Clarke and Reynolds tonight." The second paragraph seems to have been an afterthought, for it runs thus in the manuscript
My dear Keats, I have really opened my letter to tell you how deeply I feel the high enthusiastic praise with which you have spoken of me in the first Sonnet-be assured you shall never repent it-the time shall come if God spare my lifewhen you will remember it with delight— Once more God bless you
The following highly remarkable letter, of which also an extract is given in the 'Correspondence, appears, like the foregoing, to have been written before Keats carried out the intention of going into the Country, for a leaf fastened into Haydon's journal with it, apparently its cover, bears the address "John Keats, 76 Cheapside". I say "apparently" because the one leaf was evidently once attached to the other, and the outer one bears on the inside the words "I confide these feelings to your honor". The occasion is the recent issue of the 'Poems' of 1817 :My dear Keats,
Consider this letter a sacred secret.-Often have I sat by my fire after a day's effort, as the dusk approached, and a gauzey veil seemed dimming all thingsand mused on what I had done, and with a burning glow on what I would do till filled with fury I have seen the faces of the mighty dead crowd into my room, and I have sunk down and prayed the great Spirit that I might be worthy to accompany these immortal beings in their immortal glories, and then I have seen each smile as it passed over me, and each shake his hand in awful encouragement. My dear Keats, the Friends who surrounded me were sensible to what talent I had,—but no one reflected my enthusiasm with that burning ripeness of soul, my heart yearned for sympathy, believe me from my soul, in you I have found one,-you add fire, when I am exhausted, and excite fury afresh-I offer my heart and intellect and experience-at first I feared your ardor might lead you to disregard the accumulated wisdom of ages in moral points-but the feelings put forth lately have delighted my soul-always consider principle of more value than genius- and you are safebecause on the score of genius, you can never be vehement enough. I have read your "Sleep and Poetry"-it is a flash of lightning that will rouse men from their occupations, and keep them trembling for the crash of thunder that will follow. God bless you! let our hearts be buried on each other.
B. R. Haydon.
1"No, my good Lord, banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish Poines: but for sweete Jacke Falstaffe, kinde Jacke Falstaffe, valiant Jacke Falstaffe, and therefore more valiant, being as hee is olde Jack Falstaffe, banish not him thy Harryes companie, banish not him thy Harryes companie; banish plumpe Jacke, and banish all the world." (The First Part of King Henry the Fourth, Act II, Scene iv.) 2 The original letter is torn: hence these verbal omissions.
To GEORGE AND THOMAS KEATS.
My dear Brothers,
Tuesday Morn-[15 April 1817] [Postmark, 16 April 1817.]
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 Hedgessometimes Ponds-then nothing-then a little Wood with trees look you like Launce's Sister "as white as a Lilly 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's1 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" 2-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 by 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
VIII This letter, which is doubtless the one referred to in the first line of the next, is preserved in Haydon's journal, and is addressed to "Mr G. Keats, No. 1 Well Walk, Hampstead, Middx." The trees which recalled Shakespeare (Launce's Sister, 'Two Gentlemen of Verona) to Keats's mind, as almost everything appears to have done at this time, were doubtless the same kind of silver birch that he afterwards noticed on Hampstead Heath, where they may still be seen in abundance. 1 In the holograph 'Lanthorn' is misspelt 'Lanthen', and 'Doctor's' is misspelt 'Docter's'.
2 See 'The Tempest,' Act II, Scene ii :—
Stephano. I shall no more to sea, to sea, here shall I dye ashore.
Funerall well, here's my comfort. [Drinks.
Sings. The Master, the Swabber, the Boate-swaine & I;