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I think that the poetical portion of these volumes, will confirm the opinions you hazarded at the time, when such views were hazardous even to a critical reputation so well-founded as your own and I believe that you will find in the clear transcript of the poet's mind, conveyed in these familiar letters, more than a vindication of all the interest you took in a character, whose moral purity and nobleness is as significant as its intellectual excellence.
It has no doubt frequently amused you to have outlived literary reputations, whose sound and glitter you foresaw would not stand the tests of time and altered circumstance; but it is a far deeper source of satisfaction to have received the ratification by public opinion of judgments, once doubted or derided, and thus to have anticipated the tardy justice which a great work of art frequently obtains, when the hand of the artist is cold, and the heart, that palpitated under neglect, is still for ever.
This composition, or rather compilation, has been indeed a labour of love, and I rejoice to prefix to it a
name not dearer to public esteem than to private friendship, not less worthy of gratitude and of affection than of high professional honours and wide intellectual fame.
I remain, dear Lord Jeffrey,
Yours with respect and regard,
Aug. 1st, 1848.
R. MONCKTON MILNES.
Ir is now fifteen years ago that I met, at the villa of my distinguished friend Mr. Landor, on the beautiful hill-side of Fiesole, Mr. Charles Brown, a retired Russia-merchant, with whose name I was already familiar as the generous protector and devoted friend of the Poet Keats. Mr. Severn the artist, whom I had known at Rome, had already satisfied much of my curiosity respecting a man, whom the gods had favoured with great genius and early death, but had added to one gift the consciousness of public dis-\ regard, and to the other the trial of severe physical suffering. With the works of Keats I had always felt a strong poetical sympathy, accompanied by a ceaseless wonder at their wealth of diction and of imagery, which was increased by the consciousness that all that he had produced was rather a promise
than an accomplishment; he had ever seemed to me to have done more at school in poetry, than almost any other man who had made it the object of a mature life. This adolescent character had given me an especial interest in the moral history of this Marcellus of the empire of English song, and when my imagination measured what he might have become by what he was, it stood astounded at the result.
Therefore the circumstances of his life and writings appeared to me of a high literary interest, and I looked on whatever unpublished productions of his that fell in my way with feelings perhaps not in all cases warranted by their intrinsic merits. Few of these remains had escaped the affectionate care of Mr. Brown, and he told me that he only deferred their publication till his return to England. This took place two or three years afterwards, and the preliminary arrangements for giving them to the world were actually in progress, when the accident of attending a meeting on the subject of the colonisation of New Zealand altered all Mr. Brown's plans, and determined him to transfer his fortunes and the closing years of his life to the antipodes. Before he left this country he confided to my care all his collections