The Letters of John Keats

By Maurice Buxton Forman; John Keats | Go to book overview
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199. To FANNY BRAWNE. 〈March1820〉 Address: Miss Brawne No postmark.

My dear Fanny,

I am much better this morning than I was a week ago: indeed I improve a little every day. I rely upon taking a walk with you upon the first of may: in the mean time undergoing a babylonish captivity I shall not be jew enough to hang up my harp upon a willow,1 but rather endeavour to clear up my arrears in versifying and with returning health begin upon something new: pursuant to which resolution it will be necessary to have my or rather Taylor's manuscript,2 which you, if you please, will send by my Messenger either to day or tomorrow. Is Mr D.3 with you today? You appear'd very much fatigued last night: you must look a little brighter this morning. I shall not suffer my little girl ever to be obscured like glass breath'd upon, but always bright as it is her nature to.4 Feeding upon sham victuals and sitting by the fire will completely annul me. I have no need of an enchanted wax figure to duplicate me for I am melting in my proper person before the fire.5 If you meet with any thing better (worse) than common in your Magazines let me see it. Good bye

my sweetest Girl

J. K--


200. To FANNY BRAWNE. 〈Marchr820?〉 Address: Miss Brawne No postmark.

My dearest Fanny, whe〈ne〉ver you know me to be alone, come, no matter what day. Why will you go out this weather? I shall not fatigue myself with writing too

____________________
1
Cf. Psalm cxxxvii. 1, 2.
2
Presumably the manuscript of 'Lamia, Isabella, &c.', then about to be sent to press.
3
I suppose Mr. Dilke.
4
If this is an allusion to Dr. Watts's line, 'For 'tis their nature too', was Keats guilty of the common misquotation, or did he underline it to mark the error?
5
Referring to the superstition that a person's death might be compassed by melting a waxen image of the person before a fire: Dante Gabriel Rossetti embodied it in his 'Sister Helen'.--H.B.F.

-479-

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