The Letters of John Keats

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

Thursday 23292 November〉.--I was a day too early for the Courier. He sets out now. I have been more calm to-day, though in a half dread of not continuing so. I said nothing of my health; I know nothing of it; you will hear Severn's account, from 2329 Haslam〉. I must leave off. You bring my thoughts too near to Fanny. God bless you!1


241. To CHARLES BROWN. Thursday 30 Nov. 1820.

Address and postmark not recorded.

Rome, 30 November 1820.

My dear Brown,

'Tis the most difficult thing in the world to me to write a letter. My stomach continues so bad, that I feel it worse

____________________
1
Lord Houghton adds here:--

'Little things, that at other times might have been well passed over, now struck his susceptible imagination with intense disgust. He could not bear to go to the opera, on account of the sentinels who stood constantly on the stage, and whom he at first took for parts of the scenic effect. "We will go at once to Rome," he said; "I know my end approaches, and the continual visible tyranny of this government prevents me from having any peace of mind. I could not lie quietly here. I will not leave even my bones in the midst of this despotism."'

In an undated holograph letter of Shelley's to Claire Clairmont (penes me) there is the following postscript:--

' Keats is very ill at Naples--I have written to him to ask him to come to Pisa, without however inviting him into our own house. We are not rich enough for that sort of thing. Poor fellow!'

The paper on which this postscript is written was originally destined to go to Keats, for it bears the cancelled words--

'My dear Keats, I learn this moment that you are at Naples and that . . .'

Severn told me of a letter 'of touching interest', received by Keats from Shelley in Italy--a letter which was stolen from Severn in later years and which I have never succeeded in tracing.

Lord Houghton says:--

'He had received at Naples a most kind letter from Mr Shelley, anxiously inquiring about his health, offering him advice as to the adaptation of diet to the climate, and concluding with an urgent invitation to Pisa, where he could ensure him every comfort and attention. But for one circumstance, it is unfortunate that this offer was not accepted, as it might have spared at least some annoyances to the sufferer, and much painful responsibility, extreme anxiety, and unrelieved distress to his friend.'--H.B.F.

241. Lord Houghton records that, on arriving at Rome, Keats delivered a letter of introduction to Dr. (afterwards Sir James) Clark. 'The circumstances of the young patient were such as to ensure compassion from any person of feeling, and perhaps sympathy and attention from superior minds. But the attention he received was that of all the skill and knowledge that science could confer, and the sympathy

-525-

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