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Cannot refer to any standard law

It is a flaw

Of either earth or heaven?
In happiness, to see beyond our bourn,—
It forces us in summer skies to mourn,
It spoils the singing of the Nightingale.

Dear Reynolds! I have a mysterious tale,
And cannot speak it: the first page I read
Upon a Lampit rock of
green sea-weed
Among the breakers; 'twas a quiet eve,

The rocks were silent, the wide sea did wave
An untumultuous fringe of silver foam
Along the flat brown sand; I was at home
And should have been most happy,—but I saw
Too far into the sea, where every man
The greater on the less feeds evermore,―
But I saw too distinct into the core
Of an eternal fierce destruction,
And so from happiness I far was gone.
Still am I sick of it, and tho', to-day,

I've gather'd young spring-leaves, and flowers gay
Of periwinkle and wild strawberry,

Still do I that most fierce destruction see,

The Shark at savage prey,-the Hawk at pounce,— The gentle Robin, like a Pard or Ounce,

Ravening a Worm,-Away, ye horrid moods!

Moods of one's mind! You know I hate them well, You know I'd sooner be a clapping Bell

To some Kamtchatcan Missionary Church,

Than with these horrid moods be left i' the lurch.


25 March, 1818.


Being in the midst of your favourite Devon, I should not, by right, pen one word but it should contain a vast portion of wit, wisdom, and learning; for I have heard that Milton, ere he wrote his answer to Salmasius, came into these parts, and for one whole month, rolled himself for three whole hours a day, in a certain meadow hard by us, where the mark of his nose at equidistances is still shown. The exhibitor of the said meadow further saith, that, after these rollings, not a nettle sprang up in all the seven acres for seven years, and that from the said time a new sort of plant was made from the whitethorn, of a thornless nature, very much used by the bucks of the present day to rap their boots withal. This account made me very naturally suppose that the nettles and thorns etherealised by the scholar's rotatory motion, and garnered in his head, thence flew, after a process of fermentation, against the luckless Salmasius, and occasioned his well-known and unhappy end. What a happy thing it would be if we could settle our thoughts and make our minds up on any matter in five minutes, and remain content, that is, build a sort of mental cottage of feelings, quiet and pleasant-to have a sort of philosophical back-garden, and cheerful

holiday-keeping front one.

But, alas! this never can

be; for, as the material cottager knows there are such places as France and Italy, and the Andes, and burning mountains, so the spiritual cottager has knowledge of the terra semi-incognita of things unearthly, and cannot, for his life, keep in the check-rein—or I should stop here, quiet and comfortable in my theory of-nettles. You will see, however, I am obliged to run wild, being attracted by the lode-stone, concatenation. No sooner had I settled the knotty point of Salmasius, than the devil put this whim into my head in the likeness of one of Pythagoras's questioningsDid Milton do more good or harm in the world? He wrote, let me inform you (for I have it from a friend who had it of -) he wrote "Lycidas," "Comus," Paradise Lost," and other Poems, with much delectable prose; he was moreover an active friend to man all his life, and has been since his death. Very good. But, my dear fellow, I must let you know that, as there is ever the same quantity of matter constituting this habitable globe, as the ocean, notwithstanding the enormous changes and revolutions taking place in some or other of its demesnes, notwithstanding waterspouts, whirlpools, and mighty rivers emptying themselves into it, it still is made up of the same bulk, nor ever varies the number of its atoms; and, as a certain bulk of water was instituted

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at the creation, so, very likely, a intellect was spun forth into the brains of man to prey upon it. You will see my drift, without any unnecessary parenthesis. That which is contained in the Pacific could not be in the hollow of the Caspian; that which was in Milton's head could not find room in Charles the Second's. He, like a moon, attracted intellect to its flow-it has not ebbed yet, but has left the shore-pebbles all bare

-I mean all bucks, authors of Hengist, and Castlereaghs of the present day, who, without Milton's gormandising, might have been all wise men. Now for as much as I was very predisposed to a country I had heard you speak so highly of, I took particular notice of everything during my journey, and have bought some nice folio asses skins for memorandums. I have seen everything but the wind-and that they say, becomes visible by taking a dose of acorns, or sleeping one night in a hog-trough, with your tail to the sow-sow-west.

I went yesterday to Dawlish fair.

"Over the Hill and over the Dale,

And over the Bourne to Dawlish,

Where ginger-bread wives have a scanty sale,

And ginger-bread nuts are smallish," &c. &c.

Your sincere friend,


Mr. Reynolds seems to have objected to a Preface written for "Endymion," and Keats thus manfully and eloquently remonstrates :—


April 9th, 1818.


Since you all agree that the thing is bad, it must be so-though I am not aware that there is anything like Hunt in it, (and if there is, it is my natural way, and I have something in common with Hunt). Look over it again, and examine into the motives, the seeds, from which every one sentence sprang.

I have not the slightest feeling of humility towards the public, or to anything in existence but the Eternal Being, the Principle of Beauty, and the Memory of great Men. When I am writing for myself, for the mere sake of the moment's enjoyment, perhaps nature has its course with me; but a Preface is written to the public-a thing I cannot help looking upon as an enemy, and which I cannot address without feelings of hostility. If I write a Preface in a supple or subdued style, it will not be in character with me as a public speaker.

I would be subdued before my friends, and thank them for subduing me; but among multitudes of men

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