The Letters of John Keats

By Maurice Buxton Forman; John Keats | Go to book overview

Souls of poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field, or mossy cavern,
Fairer than the Mermaid Tavern?

Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine Host's Canary wine?
Or are fruits of Paradise
Sweeter than those dainty pies
Of Venison. O generous food
Dress'd as though bold Robin Hood
Would with his Maid Marian
Sup, and bouze from horn and can.

I have heard that on a day
Mine host's sign-board flew away,
Nobody knew whither, till
An Astrologer's old quill
To a sheepskin gave the story;
Says he saw you in your glory
Underneath a new old sign
Sipping beverage divine,
And pledging with contented smack
The Mermaid in the Zodiac.

Souls of Poets dead and gone,
Are the winds a sweeter home,
Richer is uncellar'd cavern
Than the merry Mermaid Tavern?

I will call on you at 4 to-morrow and we will trudge together for it is not the thing to be a stranger in the Land of Harpsicols.1 I hope also to being you my 2d book.2 In the hope that these Scribblings will be some amusement for you this evening--I remain copying on the Hill

Yr sincere friend and Co-scribbler,
John Keats.


45. To BENJAMIN ROBERT HAYDON. Thursday 〈5 Feb. 1818〉.

No address or postmark.

Thursday Morning

My dear Haydon,

I was at Reynolds's when he received your Letter and am therefore up to Probabilities--The fact is Reynolds is

____________________
1
A corrupt form of Harpsichord. Perhaps an evening at the Novellos' was projected. Cf. Letter 10, p. 16.
2
Of 'Endymion'.

-99-

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