The Letters of John Keats

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

Remember me to Reynolds and tell him to write--Ay, and when you sent Westward tell your Sister that I mentioned her in this--So now in the Name of Shakespeare Raphael and all our Saints I commend you to the care of heaven!

Your everlasting friend
John Keats--


16. To TAYLOR and HESSEY. Friday 16 May 1817.

Address: Messrs Taylor & Hessey ∣ Publishers ∣ Fleet Street--

Postmark: 17 MY 1817.

Margarate May 16--

My dear Sirs,

I am extremely indebted to you for your liberality in the Shape of manufactured rag value £20 and shall immediately proceed to destroy some of the Minor Heads of that spr〈i〉ng-headed Hydra1 the Dun--To conquer which the Knight need have no Sword, Shield Cuirass Cuisses Herbadgeon Spear Casque, Greves, Pauldrons Spurs Chevron or any other scaly commodity, but he need only take the Bank Note of Faith and Cash of Salvation,2 and set out against the Monster invoking the aid of no Archimago3 or Urganda4--and finger me the Paper light as the Sybils Leaves in Virgil whereat the Fiend skulks off with his tail between his Legs. Touch him with this enchanted Paper and he whips you his head away as fast as a Snail's Horn--but then the horrid Propensity he has to put it up again has discouraged many very valliant Knights--He is such a never ending still beginning sort of a Body--like my Landlady of the Bell--I should conjecture that the very

16. Having now started upon 'Endymion', Keats had, as Lord Houghton records, 'come to an arrangement with Messrs. Taylor and Hessey (who seem to have cordially appreciated his genius) respecting its publication'. In regard to the 'tangible proofs of their interest in his welfare' indicated in the following letters, the biographer observes that Keats's 'reliance on their generosity was, probably, only equal to his trust in his own abundant powers of repayment. The physical symptoms he alludes to had nothing dangerous about them and merely suggested some prudence in his mental labours. Nor had he then experienced the harsh repulse of ungenial criticism, but, although never unconscious of his own deficiencies, nor blind to the jealousies and spites of others, still believed himself to be accompanied on his path to fame by the sympathies and congratulations of all the fellowmen he cared for: and they were many'.--H.B.F.

____________________
1
Cf. 'I Henry IV', v. iv. 25.
2
Cf. Ephesians, vi. 16, 17, and end of Letter 20.
3
In 'The Faerie Queene', Books I, II.
4
In 'Amadis of Gaul'.

-33-

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