The Letters of John Keats

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

thoughts, but to occupy them pleasantly; for, I assure you, I am as far from being unhappy as possible. Imaginary grievances have always been more my torment than real ones. You know this well. Real ones will never have any other effect upon me than to stimulate me to get out of or avoid them. This is easily accounted for. Our imaginary woes are conjured up by our passions, and are fostered by passionate feeling: our real ones come of themselves, and are opposed by an abstract exertion of mind. Real grievances are displacers of passion. The imaginary nail a man down for a sufferer, as on a cross; the real spur him up into an agent.1 I wish, at one view, you would see my heart towards you. 'Tis only from a high tone of feeling that I can put that word upon paper--out of poetry. I ought to have waited for your answer to my last2 before I wrote this. I felt, however, compelled to make a rejoinder to yours. I had written to Dilke3 on the subject of my last, I scarcely know whether I shall send my letter now. I think he would approve of my plan; it is so evident. Nay, I am convinced, out and out, that by prosing for a while in periodical works, I may maintain myself decently.

* * * * * *


156. To GEORGE AND GEORGIANA KEATS. Friday 17-Monday 27 Sept. 1819.

No address or postmark.

Winchester Septr Friday.

My dear George,

I was closely employed in reading and composition, in this place, whither I had come from Shanklin, for the

____________________

periodical publication. The short contributions to the "Champion" were rather acts of friendship than literary labours. But now Mr. Brown, knowing what his pecuniary circumstances were, and painfully conscious that the time spent in the creation of those works which were destined to be the delight and solace of thousands of his fellow- creatures, must be unprofitable to him in procuring the necessities of life, and, above all, estimating at its due value that spirit of independence which shrinks from materialising the obligations of friendship into daily bread, gave every encouragement to these designs, and only remonstrated against the project' of taking a solitary lodging in Westminster, 'on account of the pain he would himself suffer from the privation of Keats's society,' and 'from the belief that the scheme of life would not be successful'.

1
Cf. Letter 156, pp. 398-9, for imaginary and real ills, the latter a spur.
2
i.e. Letter 154.
3
Letter 153.

-397-

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