The Letters of John Keats

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

138. To FANNY BRAWNE. Thursday 〈15 July 1819〉.

Address: Miss Brawne Wentworth Place Hampstead Middx.

Postmark not recorded.

Shanklin Thursday Evening

My love,

I have been in so irritable a state of health these two or three last days, that I did not think I should be able to write this week. Not that I was so ill, but so much so as only to be capable of an unhealthy teasing letter. To night I am greatly recovered only to feel the languor I have felt after you touched with ardency. You say you perhaps might have made me better: you would then have made me worse: now you could quite effect a cure: What fee my sweet Physician would I not give you to do so. Do not call it folly, when I tell you I took your letter last night to bed with me. In the morning I found your name on the sealing wax obliterated. I was startled at the bad omen till I recollected that it must have happened in my dreams, and they you know fall out by contraries. You must have found out by this time I am a little given to bode ill like the raven; it is my misfortune not my fault; it has proceeded from the general tenor of the circumstances of my life, and rendered every event suspicious. However I will no more trouble either you or myself with sad Prophecies; though so far I am pleased at it as it has given me opportunity to love your disinterestedness towards me. I can be a raven no more; you and pleasure take possession of me at the same moment. I am afraid you have been unwell. If through me illness have touched you (but it must be with a very gentle hand) I must be selfish enough to feel a little glad at it. Will you forgive me this? I have been reading lately an oriental tale of a very beautiful color1--It is of a city of melancholy men,

138. This letter appears to belong between those of the 8th and 25th of July 1819; and of the two Thursdays between those dates it seems likelier that the 15th would be the one than that the letter should have been written so near the 25th as on the 22nd. The original having been mislaid, I have not been able to take the evidence of the postmark. It will be noticed that at the close he speaks of a weekly exchange of letters with Miss Brawne; and by placing this letter at the 15th this programme is pretty nearly realized so far as Keats's letters from the Isle of Wight are concerned.--H.B.F.

____________________
1
The story in question is one of the many derivatives from the

-359-

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