The Letters of John Keats

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

I have lately read your Endymion again & ever with a new sense of the treasures of poetry it contains, though treasures poured forth with indistinct profusion. This, people in general will not endure, & that is the cause of the comparatively few copies which have been sold. --I feel persuaded that you are capable of the greatest things, so you but will.

I always tell Ollier to send you copies of my books.-- "Prometheus Unbound" I imagine you will receive nearly at the same time with this letter. The Cenci I hope you have already seen received--it was studiously composed in a different style "Below the good how far! but far above the great" In poetry I have sought to avoid system & mannerism; I wish those who excel me in genius, had would pursue the same plan-- Whether you remain in England, or journey to Italy,--believe that you carry with you my anxious wishes for your health happiness 〈 success, wherever you are or whatever you undertake--& that I am

Yours sincerely

P. B. Shelley1


227. To PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY. Aug. 1820.

No address or postmark recorded.

Hampstead, August 1820.

My dear Shelley,

I am very much gratified that you, in a foreign country, and with a mind almost overoccupied, should write to me

227.As to the date and place inscribed at the head of this letter, some explanation must be offered. In the 'Shelley Memorials', 1859, p. 142, it is fully dated the 10th of August. Now Keats had not on the 10th of August returned to Hampstead; and according to his letter of the 14th to his sister he only received Shelley's invitation on the 13th. As the 14th was the first day he had sat down to write since his recent attack, that is the earliest date assignable to the reply; and this to Shelley was probably one of the several letters he had to write that day. As internal evidence, compare the phrase 'marches up to a battery' with the similar expression in Letter 228 to Taylor, which is postmarked 14 August; but it seems safer to leave the day blank for the present. Shelley's letter written at Pisa on the 27th of July should in the natural course, if posted at once, have reached Keats about a fortnight later, and would probably be answered promptly.--H.B.F.

____________________
1
On the 11th of November 1820 Shelley wrote to Leigh Hunt: 'Where is Keats now? I am anxiously expecting him in Italy, when I shall take care to bestow every possible attention on him. I consider his a most valuable life, and I am deeply interested in his safety. I intend to be the physician both of his body and his soul, to keep the one warm, and to teach the other Greek and Spanish. I am aware, indeed, in part, that I am nourishing a rival who will far surpass me; and this is an additional motive, and will be an added pleasure.'

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