The Letters of John Keats

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

98. To GEORGE AND GEORGIANA KEATS. 〈Wednesday 16〉 Dec. 1818-Monday 4 Jan. 1819.

No address or postmark.

B

My dear Brother and Sister,

You will have been prepared, before this reaches you for the worst news you could have, nay if Haslam's letter arrives in proper time, I have a consolation in thinking the first shock will be past before you receive this. The last days of poor Tom were of the most distressing nature; but his last moments were not so painful, and his very last was without a pang. I will not enter into any parsonic comments on death--yet the common observations of the commonest people on death are as true as their proverbs. I have scarce a doubt of immortality of some nature of 〈for or〉 other--neither had Tom.1 My friends have been exceedingly kind to me every one of them--Brown detained me at his House. I suppose no one could have had their time made smoother than mine has been. During poor Tom's illness I was not able to write and since his death the task of beginning has been a hindrance to me. Within this last Week I have been every where--and I will tell you as nearly as possible how all go on. With Dilke and Brown I am quite thick--with Brown indeed I am going to domesticate--that is, we shall keep house together --I shall have the front parlour and he the back one--by which I shall avoid the noise of Bentley's Children--and be the better able to go on with my Studies--which 〈h〉ave been greatly interrupted lately, so that I have not the Shadow of an idea of a book in my head, and my pen seems to have grown too goutty for verse. How are you going on now? The going on of the world make〈s〉 me dizzy--There you are with Birkbeck--here I am with brown--sometimes I fancy an immense separation, and sometimes, as at present, a direct communication of Spirit with you. That will be one of the grandeurs of immortality--There will be no space and consequently the only commerce between spirits will be by their intelligence of each other--when they will completely understand each

____________________
1
Cf. Letter 223, p. 500. Cowden Clarke, in "'Recollections of Writers'" ( 1878), p. 157 says--'A passage in one of Keats's letters to me evidences that he had a "firm belief in the immortality of the soul", and, as he adds, "so had Tom", whose eyes he had just closed.'

-246-

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