The Letters of John Keats

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

237. To ---------- 〈September 1820.〉

The passport arrived before we started I dont think I shall be long ill. God bless you--farewell.

John Keats


238. To CHARLES BROWN. Saturday 3 Sept. 1820.

Address: Mr Charles Brown ∣ Wentworth Place ∣ Hampstead ∣ Middx.

No postmark.

Saturday Septr 281
Maria Crowther
off Yarmouth isle of wight.

My dear Brown,

The time has not yet come for a pleasant Letter from me. I have delayed writing to you from time to time because I felt how impossible it was to enliven you with one heartening hope of my recovery; this morning in bed the matter struck me in a different manner; I thought I would write 'while I was in some liking'2 or I might become too ill to write at all, and then if the desire to have written should become strong it would be a great affliction to me. I have many more Letters to write and I bless my stars that I have begun, for time seems to press, --this may be my best opportunity. We are in a calm and I am easy enough this morning. If my spirits seem too low you may in some degree impute it to our having been at sea a fortnight without making any way. I was very disappointed at not meeting you at bedhamption, and am very provoked at the thought of you being at Chiches-

____________________
237. The scrap of paper with these few words written upon it bears no date, address, or other indication as to what point of his journey Keats had reached when he wrote it, or for whom it was destined, but it seems probable that it was for Taylor or Haslam and was written just before leaving Gravesend. Keats, who had gone to Taylor's from Hampstead, went on board the 130-ton brig 'Maria Crowther', Captain Thomas Walsh, in the London Docks on Sunday the 17th of September and the ship sailed at 7 a.m. She anchored off Gravesend, as was customary for outward bound ships, which were there visited by the Customs clearing officer and where all dues were collected and the river pilot landed. The second lady passenger, Miss Cotterell, having come aboard, the brig left finally on the 18th. During the night of the 17th-18th a smack from Dundee with Charles Brown on board had been anchored within speaking distance of the 'Maria Crowther'.
1
The 28th was a Thursday.
2
Cf. 'I Henry IV', IIII. iii. 6.

-519-

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