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Edited with 
an Introduction and Notes 







To M. B. F. 

THE following abbreviations are used in the intro- 
duction and notes: 

Colvin. Sidney Colvin, John Keats, His Life and 
Poetry, His Friends, Critics, and After- 
Fame. Third Edition. London, 1920. 

Letters. The Letters of John Keats. Edited by 
Maurice Buxton Forman. Second Edition. 
London, 1935. 

Lowell. Amy Lowell, John Keats. Two volumes. 
Boston, 1925. 

Milnes. Lord Houghton (Richard Monckton 
Milnes), The Life and Letters of John Keats. 
Everyman Edition. London, n.d. 

Sharp. William Sharp, The Life and Letters of 
Joseph Severn. London, 1892. 


of John Keats has remained 
unpublished for nearly a century. It is the Life of 
John Keats, the first biography of the poet, written 
by Charles Brown. Diligent scholars in the Keats 
field have unearthed letters, fragments of poems, 
source material, anecdotes, and relics of the most 
minute nature. Numerous biographers have given 
the best of their creative geniuses to an exposition 
and interpretation of his life and poetry. Critics 
have delved into the suggestion behind each allu- 
sion, figure, and doubtful passage. Anything that 
was or is John Keats has been made accessible by 
publication. Yet, paradoxically, the story of his 
life as written by the man who lived with him 
during the creation of his greatest poetry has con- 
tinued to remain in manuscript. Later writers may 
have usurped Charles Brown's place as biographer 
through their greater scholarship and literary 
talent, but no biography can approach in freshness 
and intimacy the account by that friend who 
shared his home, his income, and his life with 
John Keats. 

Details concerning the meeting of Keats and 
Brown are lacking; it occurred, according to 
Brown, * in the latter part ' of the summer of 1817, 1 
when the three Keats brothers, John, George, and 

1 See p. 48, below. 

Tom, were living in Well Walk, Hampstead. John 
saw much of his friends Brown and Dilke, whose 
double house ( Wentworth Place, the present Keats 
Memorial House) he could reach by a ten-minute 
walk along the heath. The intimacy of Keats and 
Brown was strengthened during the following sum- 
mer; they went to Liverpool with George Keats 
and his bride, who were emigrating to America, and 
then, for forty-three days, they walked in Scotland, 
Ireland, and the Hebrides. They tramped together 
through pouring rain, dried out together in the next 
sunshine, ate and complained of the same coarse 
oat-cakes, thrilled at each sudden view of a moun- 
tain-surrounded lake, and, in short, enjoyed every 
aspect of a congenial comradeship which needed no 
further influence to ripen into deep friendship. A 
few months after this memorable trip, when Keats 
lost his beloved brother Tom and found himself 
virtually alone in the world, it was inevitable that 
he should turn to Charles Brown; he moved to 
Brown's house almost immediately and lived there 
for most of his remaining months in London. 

This domestic arrangement was a particularly 
happy one for Keats. While he worked, he had un- 
interrupted hours of quiet in Brown's well-ordered 
household, and when he had leisure for relaxation 
during this period of his greatest productivity, he 
found his host's companionship most congenial. 
It was under Brown's roof that the great odes, 'The 
Eve of St. Agnes 7 and 'La BeUe Dame sans Merci', 
were composed; here, in fact, he wrote the lines 


which he modestly believed would place him among 
the English poets after his death. 

But this happy period was short-lived ; the win- 
ter of 1819-20 brought distressing problems for 
Keats. Financial troubles loomed on the horizon, 
for his poetry brought no profit and his inheritance 
was hopelessly involved in litigation. Brown sug- 
gested money-making schemes and flattered the 
discouraged poet into a little hope. Then came 
Keats's first haemorrhage and the desperate an- 
guish of his love for Fanny Brawne. For weeks 
Brown was the nurse who took care of him night 
and day. When Keats had no more money, Brown 
advanced the sums necessary to meet his current 
expenses. During the previous September Keats 
wrote to Brown, c I had got into a habit of mind of 
looking towards you as a help in all difficulties ' ;* 
and this daily dependence continued until May 
1820, when Brown left once more for the north. 
Nor was Keats unappreciative of the high character 
of Brown's help ; he wrote to his friend during his 
voyage to Italy, 6 1 should think of-you in my last 
moments 5 . 2 

The bare outline of this intimate friendship 
makes even more curious the neglect by the press 
of Brown's biography. Moreover, the writing of 
this memoir, extending as it did over a number of 
years, is a story in itself, a history of the disintegra- 
tion of the Keats circle after the poet's death. For 
ever loyal to Keats, his friends fell into quarrels 

1 Letters, p. 396. 8 Ibid., p. 521. 


with each other, and the Life of Keats was the chief 
cause of the dissension. 

When Keats died in Rome in February 1821 
he left a circle of ardent friends, who mourned not 
only his death but the fact that England had re- 
fused to accept him as a great poet. Keats was 
so little known and so slightly esteemed at this 
time that his death passed almost unnoticed. To 
establish his reputation became the ambition of 
his friends. Every fragment of his work must be 
collected and published, and, moreover, the vitality 
of his dynamic personality must be saved from 
oblivion, for to his friends both the man and his 
poetry deserved recognition. 

John Taylor took the lead in a movement to 
issue a biography of Keats immediately after his 
death. As the poet's publisher, he had won Keats's 
warm friendship with sound advice, generous ad- 
vances of money, and steady defences of his poetry 
against critical attacks. Taylor thus knew inti- 
mately the details of the poet's life and work. On 
March 28, 1821, less than a month after news of 
Keats's death reached London, Taylor wrote to his 
brother James : 

'Perhaps you have not heard of the death of poor 
Keats. He died 3 days before his defender Scott. 1 This 

1 John Scott (1783-1821), the editor of The London Magazine, sharply 
attacked the series of articles on 'The Cockney School of poetry ', appear- 
ing in BlackwoocTs Magazine under the signature *Z'. Keats had been 
cruelly ridiculed by this anonymous author. John Gibson Lockhart, a 
leading contributor to Blacfaoooffs, was the chief object of Scott's 
attack; Lockhart's friend J. H. Christie challenged Scott to a duel, 
which was fought at Chalk Farm, near London, on February 16, 1821. 
Scott died on February 27 as the result of the wound he received. 

ought to be another Blow to the Hearts of these Black- 
wood's Men. I believe I shall try to write his life it is 
the wish of his friends and was Keats's wish also in that 
case I shall have Occasion to speak of the Treatment he 
has met with from the Race of Critics and Lampooners.' 1 

According to his granddaughter, Taylor wrote 
a short account of Keats, which was advertised in 
the press as soon to appear, but he later abandoned 
the project, for he * thought it would give pain to 
people then living '. Although Taylor's manuscript 
was preserved for years among his papers, by 1925 
it had 'been lost sight of 5 . 2 

John Hamilton Reynolds, as intimate a friend 
of Keats as Brown himself, assisted Taylor's en- 
deavours and collected biographical material from 
a number of Keats's friends. When Taylor gave up 
his plan, Reynolds decided to write the biography 
of his friend, but for twenty years he procrasti- 
nated. George Keats, in hearty sympathy with the 
project, desired to help Reynolds in every way. 
George's residence in America was the chief factor 
preventing his undertaking the biography himself; 
he clearly realized that his intimate knowledge of 
his brother's life and the long letters which John 
had written him should be utilized, and he wished 
Reynolds to take full advantage of his information 
and documents. Many of the letters which George 
Keats sent from America during the twenties and 

1 Unpublished letter, in the Keats Museum, Hampstead. A sentence 
from this letter is given in Edmund Blunden's Keats's Publisher (1936), 
p, 90. 

a Olive M. Taylor, 'John Taylor, Author and Publisher', The London 
Mercury, xii (July 1925), 260. 


thirties to Charles Wentworth Dilke refer to Rey- 
nolds as Keats's biographer. 1 

Even in 1846, when Richard Monckton Milnes 
was preparing his Life, Letters, and Literary Re- 
mains of John Keats, Reynolds clung to his long- 
deferred intention of writing his own recollections 
of his friend, and at first he refused to co-operate. 
When he realized how admirably Milnes was con- 
ducting the labour, however, he withdrew his ob- 
jections, placed all his papers and information at 
Milnes's service, and felt c the weight of an undone 
work' lifted from him. 2 

Of course both Taylor and Reynolds consulted 
Brown concerning their proposed memoirs. His 
assistance would have been invaluable, for he had 
copies of Keats's unpublished poems and had re- 
ceived from Joseph Severn, who had attended Keats 
so faithfully during his insufferable last months, the 
papers of the poet in Rome. 3 Brown was willing 
to assist in these early plans, provided he might be 
allowed c a sight of his [Taylor's] memoir before it 
went to press' and the right 'to approve or con- 
demn in particular passages 5 . 4 

Charles Cowden Clarke, the friend of Keats's 
schooldays, acted independently in this matter. 

1 The letters, largely unpublished, are in the Amy Lowell Collection 
at the Harvard College Library. 

2 See two letters from Reynolds to Edward Moxon, November 27 and 
December 15, 1846, and one to Milnes, December 22, 1846. John 
Hamilton Reynolds, Poetry and Prose (ed. G. L. Marsh, 1928), pp. 

8 Letter from Severn to Brown, 'before the end of July', 1821. 
Sharp, pp. 106 and 109. 
4 Letter from Brown to Severn, August 14, 1821. Sharp, p. 109. 


While Taylor was still preparing his memoir, 
Clarke appealed to Brown for assistance in writing 
the biography. Collaboration between Clarke and 
Brown would have been fortunate, for Clarke's 
first-hand knowledge of Keats's early years, when 
his poetic aspirations were born, would have ad- 
mirably supplemented Brown's close observation 
of the fruition of these aspirations. Unfortunately, 
Brown felt * conditionally bound' to Taylor and 
unable to co-operate with Clarke. 1 

However, at the very outset Brown had been 
shocked by Taylor's haste to write the biography. 
Brown wrote to Severn late in August 1821 : 

c Immediately on receipt of your letter announcing 
poor Keats's death, almost in the same newspapers where 
there was a notice of his death, even before Mrs. Brawne's 
family and myself had got our mourning, in those very 
newspapers was advertised " speedily will be published, 
a biographical memoir of the late John Keats, &c.," 2 and 
I, among others, was applied to by Reynolds to collect 
with all haste, papers, letters, and so on, in order to assist 
Mr. Taylor. This indecent bustle over (as it were) the 
newly covered grave of my dear friend shocked me 
excessively. I told Mr. Taylor it looked as if his friends 
had been collecting information about his life in expecta- 
tion of his death. This, indeed, was the fact. I believe 
I spoke warmly, and probably gave offence. However, 
as I was jealous of my own feelings upon such a subject, 
I took the precaution to sound those of Hunt, Dilke, and 
Richards, who were all equally hurt with myself at such 

1 Sharp, p. 110. 

a Mr. Edmund Blunden was unable *to trace this announcement to 
a date earlier than June 4, 1821, in the Morning Chronicle' (Keats* s 
Publisher, p. 98 n.)- 


an indecorous haste. I then came to this conclusion, that 
Messrs. Taylor and Reynolds, who could show such a 
want of feeling at such a moment, ought not to be con- 
fided in by me unreservedly, and since I came to that 
conclusion, I have had cause to believe myself correct. 
I will not consent to be a party in a bookseller's job. 
Perhaps it may turn out otherwise, but in justice to the 
memory of Keats, I dare not run a risk. Mr. Taylor ex- 
pected to be trusted implicitly, and takes dudgeon. Now, 
on such a point I know of none whom I could trust 
implicitly. He says no one understood Keats's character 
so well as himself; if so, I who knew him tolerably well, 
and others of his friends, greatly mistook him, judging 
from what has dropped from Mr. Taylor for he is one 
from whom things drop he cannot utter them boldly 
and honestly, at least he never did to me, and I have 
heard Keats say the same of him. What I have written, 
I have written, and I leave you to judge if you think me 
right or wrong. I rejoice you sent me the papers, and 
under the circumstances, I think you will rejoice like- 
wise. He is welcome, according to my promise, to any 
information I can afford, provided he, according to his 
promise, allows me a voice on the occasion. In my 
opinion, Taylor would rather decline the information. 
If you differ from me in my claim of having a voice, still 
I have Dilke, Richards, and Hunt on my side. Hunt 
has some poems, &c., of Keats, and offers them unre- 
servedly to me, stipulating, however, that Taylor must 
not be possessed of them without the memoirs passing 
under my eye. Why should it be denied to me ? Any sort 
of hesitation will make the business suspicious.' 1 

Thus the Keats circle was shattered -by mutual 
distrust. Brown, Severn, Richards, and Hunt felt 
that Taylor was not qualified to write the memoir ; 

1 Sharp, pp. 1Z1-12. 


Taylor, Reynolds, Woodhouse, and George Keats 
opposed Brown's authorship, although Woodhouse 
later endorsed it. Dilke seemed to fluctuate for a 
time between the parties, but ultimately he cast 
his lot against Brown. 1 Within six months of his 
death, Keats's friends present a picture we should 
gladly efface from the records : the unhappy spec- 
tacle of heirs fighting over an estate in this case, 
the manuscripts of the poems and letters and the 
right to make them public. The amazing quality 
of the performance is that Keats's friends put so 
high a value on papers which the literary world 
had deemed of no value. It was as though they 
were fighting for the best seats in an empty, dark 

The result of this discord among Keats's friends 
was the silence of the next seven years. The com- 
petitive race to collect had succeeded in scattering 
the material so widely that not one of the group 
could put together a volume of any completeness. 
Leigh Hunt was the first in print. In 1828 he pub- 
lished Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries, 
which included his recollections of Keats. Hunt 
scarcely intended this to be the life of Keats, yet 
it brought down the criticism of the group upon his 
head. Brown was annoyed : * Leigh Hunt's account 

1 George Keats's letters to Dilke, in the Harvard College Library, 
show that they both disliked and distrusted Brown, and Dilke violently 
denied Brown's '-generous protection' of Keats in a manuscript note in 
his copy of Milnes's Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of John Keats, 
now in the J. Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. Dilke's note is 
written on p. ix of the preface. The version of the note in Letters (p. U) 
contains minor variants and suppresses Dilke's adjective* crack-brained' 
describing 'Milnes's distinguished friend of Fiesole', i.e, Landor. 


of him is worse than disappointing ; I cannot bear it ; 
it seems as if Hunt was so impressed by his illness 
that he had utterly forgotten him in health, 5 he 
wrote to Fanny Brawne on December 17, 1829 ; 1 
and the same day he wrote Dilke: C I hate Hunt's 
account of him, though every sentence, I verily 
believe, was intended to his honour and fame ; but 
what does that matter when he manages to make 
him a whining, puling boy ?' 2 

During these seven years Charles Brown had 
not considered himself as a possible biographer of 
his friend. Perhaps his conviction that Keats's 
brother George had mistreated the poet was in 
part responsible for his silence. Certainly his ani- 
mosity towards George cut him off from essential 
material, and he firmly believed that Keats was 
not sufficiently valued to warrant either a bio- 
graphy or a monument in England, which Severn 
repeatedly suggested. 3 Furthermore, Brown's grief 
was an ever-present phantom which kept him 
silent; his recollections of Keats were too vivid. 
After the poet went to Italy, he wrote: 'He is 
present to me everywhere and at all times he now 
seems sitting by my side and looking hard in my 
face ' ; 4 and when Severn sent him the Keats papers, 
he replied: 'the sight of them will renew many 
painful thoughts.' 5 He fled the responsibility for 

1 Letters, p. Ixi. 

a Fragmentary unpublished letter, Brewer Bequest, Keats Museum. 

8 Letter from Brown to Severn, February 7, 1823. Sharp, pp. 134-5. 

* Letter from Brown to Severn, 'some three weeks later' than 
December 21, 1820. Sharp, p. 75. 

* Letter from Brown to Severn, August 14, 1821. Sharp, p. 109. 


the very human reason that he could not face the 
sorrow it would bring him. 

As early as September 1821, Severn had written 
Brown that he was 'the only one to write Keats's 
Memoir at least to describe his character'. 1 Simi- 
lar remarks from other friends finally convinced 
him of this duty, and at last, late in 1829, Brown 
set about the task seriously. The immediate incen- 
tive was a letter from Galignani in Paris asking 
for a Keats's autograph. c I have answered them ', 
wrote Brown, 'in a manner to make them wish for 

my pen, and Keats's MSS 1 am resolved, seeing 

that Keats is better valued, to write his life.' 2 To 
Leigh Hunt he wrote : 

'You must know I am employing myself in writing 
Keats's Memoirs, at greater length than your's, and 
Severn will ingrave his portrait from the miniature I 
have. . . . What I stand in need of is an account of Keats 
when a school boy; and if I knew C. C. Clarke's address, 
I would write to him for information on that point. . . . 
I really think you are bound to induce him to send one, 
giving all he can of his boyish disposition, and of any 
thing else while at school ; in one word, I want to make out 
as far as I can, the development of his mind. Both he 
and Tom have talked a little to me on this subject. . . . 
Can Clarke tell me in what parish Keats was born ? for 

1 Sharp, p. 110. 

3 Fragmentary unpublished letter from Brown to Dilke, December 17, 
1829, Brewer Bequest, Keats Museum. Brown supplied Galignani with 
Keats's signature (Letters, p. Ixi), which was reproduced with an engrav- 
ing of Severn's sketch of Keats, taken from Hunt's Lord Byron and Some 
of his Contemporaries, on the frontispiece of The Poetical Works of Cole- 
ndge, Shelley, and Keats (Paris, 1829). Galignani's memoir of Keats is 
obviously based on Hunt's account in Lord Byron ; all of the biographical 
facts are found in this source, and they are presented in approximately 
the same order and sometimes almost verbatim. 


I think you have given a wrong birth day, though you 
have his authority.' 1 

Brown also wrote to Severn, who at once pro- 
mised him all the information in his possession, 
together with the engraving of the miniature to 
which Brown referred in the letter to Hunt. 

To Dilke Brown gave the following reasons for 
writing the biography, in a letter dated January 20, 

c My motive for writing Keats' life is that he may not 
continue to be represented as he was not; possibly I 
ought to add another motive, that of revenge against 
Gifford and Lockhart, aye, and Jeffrey.' 2 

Some weeks later Brown further explained his de- 
sire to present Keats as he actually was, and to 
correct an error of Hunt's concerning his back- 
ground. 3 

Brown also wrote to Fanny Brawne, to whom 
Keats had been engaged : * I am resolved to write 
his life, persuaded that no one, except yourself, 
knew him better.' 4 He asked her permission to use 
letters and poems in which she figured importantly. 
This letter brought disastrous consequences upon 
Fanny Brawne. One sentence of her reply provided 
the first sharp-edged weapon with which the critics 
could attack her. Lifted from its context it became 
a guillotine with which she was executed publicly 

1 Unpublished letter, June l, 1830, British Museum. Hunt stated 
that Keats was born on October 29, 1796 (Lord Byron and Some of his 
Contemporaries, second edition, i. 409). Brown was also in ignorance 
of the date of Keats's birth, repeating Hunt's error. See p. 40, below. 

3 Unpublished letter, Brewer Bequest, Keats Museum. 

8 See p. 95, below. * Letters, p. ba. 


year after year, for she was quoted as saying that 
6 the kindest act would be to let him rest for ever 
in the obscurity to which circumstances have con- 
demned him'. 1 A rough draft of the curiously 
enigmatic reply, dated December 29, 1829, which 
Fanny Brawne made to Brown's request has re- 
cently come to light; her first reaction was un- 
favourable, but with some reluctance she gave her 
consent in the following words : 
6 ... had I been his wife I should have felt my present 
reluctance would have been so much stronger that I 
think I must have made it my request that you would 
, relinquish your intention. The only thing that saves me 
. now is that so very few can know I am in any way impli- 
cated and that of those few I may hope the greater 
Jnumber may never see the book in Question. Do then 
jentirely as you please and be assured that I comply with 
\your wishes rather because they are yours than with 
the expectation of any good that can be done. I fear 
the kindest act would be to let him rest for ever in the 
obscurity to which unhappy circumstances have con- 
demned him. Will the writings that remain of his rescue 
'him from it? You can tell better than I, and are more 
'impartial on the subject for my wish has long been that 
* his name, his very name could be forgotten by every one 
-but myself, that I have often wished most intensely. 2 
. To your publishing his poems addressed to me I do not see 
1 Lowell, ii. 425. Miss Lowell's reference to this quotation is confused, 
for she says first that it was a 'remark to Dilke ten years after Keats's 
/death' (i.e. in 1831) and then that * Fanny Brawne was not referring to 
"*Keats's poetry when she wrote this, she was thinking of, and replying to 
a request made to her by Brown in 1829.* 

3 At this point Fanny Brawne wrote the following statement, which 

is legible, although she crossed it out, evidently feehng that she had not 

f expressed what she meant : *I was more generous ten years ago, I should 

v not now endure the odium of being connected with one who was working 

up his way against poverty and evry sort of abuse.' 


there can be any objection after the subject has been once 
alluded to, if you think them worthy of him. I entirely 
agree with you that if his life is to be published no part 
ought to be kept back for all you can show is his charac- 
ter, his life was too short and too unfortunate for any 
thing else. I have no doubt that his talents would have 
been great, not the less for their being developed rather 
late which I believe they [were], all I fear is whether he 
has left enough to make people believe that. If I could 
think so I should consider it right to make that sacrifice 
to his reputation that I now do to your kind motives. 
Not that even the establishment of his fame would give 
me the pleasure it ought.' 1 

Thus Brown gained Fanny Brawne's unenthu- 
siastic permission to use the material he wished, 
little realizing that her reply would deeply pre- 
judice succeeding generations against Keats's 

The writing of the memoir immediately involved 
Brown in a quarrel with Dilke. As early as 1824 
there had been an exchange of correspondence 
between these friends in regard to George Keats's 
discharge of brotherly duties to John. Dilke cham- 
pioned George. But in Brown there was no toler- 
ance for any criticism of John not even for a 
remark which reflected upon his ability to handle 
accounts. Thus, in 1830, when Brown, preparatory 
to writing his memoir, opened up his packet of 
Keats's letters and found evidence which he 
thought undeniable proof of George's unpaid debts 
to the poet, he took up the issue once more. Im- 
passioned arguments and refutations flew back and 

1 Letters, p. bciiu 


forth between Brown and Dilke, generating anger 
and permanent bad feeling. Brown implied that 
Dilke's attack was directed against Keats himself 
and rushed to defend his dead friend with caustic 
words, writing as follows : 

'Respecting Keats himself, you must excuse me when 
I say that I think you never rightly understood any 
thing of him but his poetry. How could you say that, 
after his illness, he sunk something from his high feelings 
of generosity ? Why, from the moment he was taken ill, 
he had not the means of proving his feelings of generosity 
to the amount of a penny. 51 

This quarrel gives a pathetic picture of loyalty gone 
astray. It was the final rift which broke for ever 
the friendship between Brown and Dilke, a friend- 
ship which had endured since childhood. 

In the midst of heated arguments about George, 
Dilke insinuated that Brown was attempting to 
capitalize upon his friendship with the poet, 
in prematurely anticipating profits from the 
memoir. Brown hastened to write Severn, early 
in 1830: 

e Dilke urges me, as a proof to the world of my friend- 
ship for Keats, and as the only proof that I am not book- 
making, to declare, from the first, that I will not accept 
of one penny of the profits which may arise from the 
Memoirs. I never thought of profit, rather of loss, as I 
expected to pay a large sum for the engravings.' 2 

He then asked Severn for suggestions concerning 
the use of the profits, should any materialize. 

1 Fragmentary unpublished letter, remarked February 9, 1830, 
Brewer Bequest, Keats Museum. a Sharp, p. 161. 


Severn's customary enthusiasm ran away with him 
when he wrote as follows to Brown on April 15, 

'You ask me what shall be done with the profits of our 
work to poor Keats's memory. Now I have thought a 
good deal of it, and am going to propose that we erect a 
monument to his memory here in Rome to the full extent 
of the money arising from the sale of the work. ... I 
have a subject in my mind for the Basso Rilievo, which 
I think I once mentioned to you before. It is Keats 
sitting with his half-strung lyre the three Fates arrest 
him one catches his arm another cuts the thread 
and the third pronounces his end.' 1 

The energetic diligence with which Brown set out 
to write the memoirs in 1829 and 1830 seems to 
have been short-lived. The quarrel with Dilke un- 
doubtedly increased the obstacles in his path. His 
friends grew impatient. In 1832 Woodhouse ex- 
acted a promise from Brown to write the life of 
Keats during that winter, 2 and Severn was equally 
pressing, repeating time after time, in his letters to 
Brown of the early thirties, the question c What are 
you doing about Keats's Life ? ' In 1834 he wrote 
Brown: 'The time has come, and I FEAK THE TIME 
MAY PASS/ 3 He then threatened Brown with writ- 
ing the memoirs himself. For two years more 
Brown continued to procrastinate, but at last, on 
November 26, 1836, he reported to Severn that he 
was resolved to carry through the task, writing thus 
from Plymouth : 

* The memory of Keats has been one of my greatest 
1 Sharp, p. 162. * Ibid., p. 170. 8 Ibid., p. 164. 


pleasures, but lately it has been mixed with pain, for 
I have been occupied in writing my life of him, and, 
consequently, been turning over letters and papers, some 
full of hope, others of despair, and my mind has been 
compelled to trace one misfortune to another, all con- 
nected with him. I knew this task was my duty, and, 
from the beginning I had from time to time made, I found 
it a painful one. Therefore to compel me to my duty, I 
boldly put down my name at our Institution for a lecture, 
on 27th December, on "The Life and Poems of John 
Keats." Now that it is advertised, the card printed, the 
members looking forward to it, there is no retreating: 
it must be done.' 1 

This lecture, delivered almost sixteen years after 
Keats's death, was the first full-length biography of 
the poet. At six in the evening, December 27, 1836, 
the members took their places in the lecture hall of 
the Plymouth Athenaeum. It was a solemn gather- 
ing because the Athenaeum was dedicated to the 
purpose of regulating the heart under the discipline 
of religion, so that every accession of knowledge 
would be an accession of happiness. 2 No random 
audience awaited the address, for only those gentle- 
men c who undertook to lecture 5 were eligible for 
membership. 3 The published list of members con- 
tains only unfamiliar names, except those of Brown 
and Colonel Hamilton Smith, whom Brown and 
Severn knew in Italy, but the Honorary List in- 
cluded Benjamin Robert Haydon, the artist, who 
had been an intimate friend of Keats and a former 

1 Ibid., pp. 178-9. 

2 Plymouth, Institution Transactions (London, 1830), p. 18. 

8 Plymouth Institution, Annual Reports and Transactions (Plymouth, 
1865), i. 8. 


resident of Plymouth ; however, he was not present 
on this noteworthy occasion. 1 

Brown gives us a glimpse of the evening in a letter 
to Leigh Hunt of June 1837 : 

C I have the "Life" which was read at our own Ply- 
mouth Institution in December last It had a remark- 
able reception at our Institution ; but, I have been told, 
less on his account as a poet than on account of its 
interest as a piece of biography, read by the friend of a 
young poet no matter who it was. It also exalted me 
as his friend, a compliment which I had endeavoured 
to avoid, but possibly the endeavour had directly the 
opposite effect of what I intended. Among other parsons 
Coleridge's son 2 was there, and he was the only person 
(as well as parson) present who had read his poems, he 
was enthusiastic in their praise. There were two parsons, 
one a regular and the other a dissenter, who angered me 
a little, but it was of no importance ; I paid one in his 
own coin, and will pay the other by degrees ; you can 
well imagine that an exposure of the Tory critics on 
Keats must necessarily make many a person spiteful/ 3 

Evidently the political discussion superseded the 
poetical. It is curious that the reception of this 
first Life of Keats should have been almost identical 
with that accorded Endymion. Charles Brown did 
not have sufficient detachment to see that he was 
himself responsible ; he had raised the very ghosts 
he wished to lay. 
Brown's deep disappointment at this outcome is 

1 Haydon's Autobiography and Memoirs contains no information of 
a departure from London in December 1836. 

3 The Rev. Derwent Coleridge (1800-63), second son of Samuel Taylor 
Coleridge, Master of Helston School, Cornwall, 182&-41. 

3 Unpublished letter, in the British Museum. 


apparent in his comments to Severn and Hunt. 
Before presenting the Life to the Plymouth Insti- 
tution, he had written cheerfully to Severn, on 
November 26, 1836 : 

'Probably I shall afterwards print it in a Magazine, 
there to rest as a voucher for his admirers ; possibly I may 
print it in a small volume by itself; in either shape you 
must have it.' 1 

But, after the lecture, in his letter to Hunt of 
June 1837, he wrote: 

c As I conceived it my duty to write it [the Life of 
Keats], I have pleasure in its existence ; but my intention 
of publishing it is not so eager as it was. 1st I must not 
give his unpublished works, nor can I refer to them 
effectively till they shall be published ; this, however, is 
not much. 2d By the experience I had at our Institution; 
and by what I read in the works of the day, I fear that 
his fame is not yet high enough. 3rd I had rather a cool 
reply on the subject from Saunders and Otley. And 4th 
I would almost rather it were published after my death 
than it should disturb my tranquillity, from attacks, 
whether against him from his revilers, or against me 
for I know not what.' 2 

Brown's allusion to the fact that he 'must not 
give his [Keats's] unpublished works' refers to a 
new turn of events in the quarrel with Dilke and 
George Keats. Writing to Severn on August 23, 
1838, he said: 

6 1 enter heart and hand into all your good purposes 

about Keats. You do me injustice in thinking I am 

remiss or lukewarm. His memoir has been long ready, 

and I am anxious it should be published. Here are the 

1 Sharp, p. 179. 2 Unpublished letter, in the British Museum. 


difficulties in publishing the whole of his poems. Moxon 
told me that Taylor, like a dog in a manger, will neither 
give a second edition, nor allow another to give one. 
But now, I believe, his copyright is out. George Keats 
threatened anyone with an injunction who should pub- 
lish the posthumous poems; this indeed stopped me in 
the intended publication of the Memoir. 91 
As early as 1835 it was known to Brown that George 
Keats had authorized Dilke to enjoin the publica- 
tion of any of his deceased brother's works. Brown 
consulted Richard Monckton Milnes, a Keats en- 
thusiast, as to the legality of such an injunction. 
Although Milnes at first questioned George's power, 
upon investigation he found that George was act- 
ing within his rights. 2 Brown proceeded with his 
memoir ; but to Brown, as to most succeeding bio- 
graphers, the memoir seemed incomplete without 
the poems. 

For five years following the lecture, the com- 
pleted Life of Keats., in manuscript form, continued 
to present a problem to Brown : ' I cannot bear the 
thought of its being printed and received as of little 
interest except among a few ', he wrote to Severn 
on October 26, 1837, 3 He considered, nevertheless, 
several plans, such as printing a limited edition of his 
biography and c not selling one' copy, or donating 
the unpublished Life and his Keats manuscripts to 
the British Museum, where they would be available 
to those who desired them. In 1840 he once more 
considered publication ; he offered the memoir to 
the Morning Chronicle,, to be published a column 

1 Sharp, pp. 18&-7. a Ibid., p. 17"T. s Ibid,, p. 184. 


at a time. But the London proprietors claimed 
that it would be a losing speculation, since few 
readers were interested in poetry or in poets 5 lives. 1 
Again Brown was compelled to realize that the 
demand for Keats 5 s Life after his death was as 
limited as the interest in Keats's poems during his 

With 1841 came a new era for Brown and the 
memoir. In the spring of that year George Keats, 
waiving his legal rights, agreed to the publication 
of a fi Memoir , and Literary Remains '. 2 The editor 
of the Morning Chronicle reconsidered his decision 
and offered to publish Brown's work. 3 But these 
sudden shifts, ironically enough, came too late for 
the author, who was on the eve of quitting England. 
Allured by the glowing promises of the Plymouth 
Company of New Zealand, Brown decided to emi- 
grate to that remote colony. His son was sailing in 
March, and Brown booked his own passage on the 
following ship. 4 

Brown had no intention of taking away from 
England the Keats papers and manuscripts which 
had been entrusted to his care. He was therefore 
obliged to find the right person to carry out his 
plans for placing Keats in the forefront of English 
poets, and after lengthy deliberation he selected 
Richard Monckton Milnes. Brown considered each 

1 Unpublished letter, Brown to Milnes, October 25, 1840, Collection 
of Lord Crewe. 
3 Sharp, p. 191. 

3 Unpublished letter, Brown to Milnes, March 14, 1841, Collection of 
Lord Crewe. 

4 Plymouth and Devonport Weekly Journal, March 25, 1841. 


of Keats's friends in turn for this office. He thought 
seriously of sponsoring John Hamilton Reynolds 5 s 
long-deferred biography; and he considered Leigh 
Hunt, who had already dealt briefly with Keats in 
Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries. He 
dismissed Benjamin Bailey because of his residence 
in Ceylon, where he had become the Archdeacon 
of Colombo, and rejected as unqualified Edward 
Holmes, Joseph Severn, and Richard Woodhouse. 1 
Brown's animosity for Dilke removed him as the 
possible author, as well as George Keats and John 
Taylor. In the end Brown chose a man who had 
never known Keats. He gave the reasons for his 
choice in a few words written to Severn on March 
21, 1841; 'Mr. Milnes is a poet himself, 5 he said, 
6 an admirer of Keats and, in my mind, better able 
to sit in judgment on a selection for publication 
than any other man I know.' 2 

Brown's knowledge of Milnes's qualification was 
in no way superficial, for a friendship of some seven 
or eight years had existed between these men. 
Brown had been introduced to Milnes at Fiesole, 
probably in 1833, by his friend Walter Savage 
Landor. 3 Milnes had been a member of the distin- 
guished circle at Trinity College, Cambridge, which 
included Alfred Tennyson and Arthur Hallam; 
apart from Keats's friends, this group of under- 

1 Sharp, pp. 194r-5. * Ibid., p. 194. 

3 The dedication of Milnes's Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of 
John Keats is dated August 1, 1848. The first sentence of the preface is 
as follows: 'It is now fifteen years ago that I met, at the villa of my 
distinguished friend Mr. Landor, on the beautiful hill-side of Fiesole, 
Mr. Charles Brown.' 


graduates in the late 1820's was one of the first 
to recognize his great genius. Milnes's enthusiasm 
for Keats made his chance meeting with Brown 
a momentous occasion. Brown responded readily 
to the young man who held Keats in such high 
esteem, and a friendship developed which streng- 
thened with the years. Brown had turned to 
Milnes for legal advice when he first heard of 
George Keats's injunction against the publication 
of Keats's poems, and Milnes had been among those 
who encouraged Brown to finish his memoir and 
to publish this life of the poet. Consequently, on 
March 14, 1841, Brown wrote to Milnes that he 
wished ' to confide in a true lover of Keats ' and to 
entrust the publication of the Life and Poems 
to him, c Such confidence I am ready to impose in 
you,' he wrote, 'if you will undertake the task 
the responsibility the gratification or whatever 
you may be induced to call it. ... Should you 
consent to accept of the trust, I will send you the 
Deeds. 31 

Milnes must have accepted the suggestion at 
once, since four days later Brown wrote that he 
was sending the Life and the manuscripts of the 
poems. In the midst of his preparations for de- 
parture, Brown seems to have revised the memoir ; 
his letters to Milnes show the mental difficulties he 
encountered in preparing his data for the new bio- 
grapher. On March 19 he wrote: 

e Yesterday and today I have been occupied on this 
1 Unpublished letter, Collection of Lord Crewe. 


subject, and became fevered and nervous. I feel myself 
quite unable to fix my attention on these papers, whether 
in my handwriting or in his, any longer.' 1 

He soon wrote again in a similar vein, saying: 

*As soon as I begin to be occupied with his [Keats's] 
poems, or with the Life I have written, it forcibly seems 
to me, against all reason (that is out of the question) that 
he is sitting by my side, his eyes seriously wandering 
from me to the papers by turns, and watching my doings. 
Call it nervousness if you will; but with this nervous 
impression I am unable to do justice to his fame. Could 
he speak I would abide by his decision. 32 

These statements are disarming. Any criticism of 
the biographer who knew Keats so intimately must 
be tempered by sympathy for the friend whose 
affection remained at such high pitch twenty years 
after the poet's death. 

In spite of this mitigation, Charles Brown's Life 
is a disappointment. Its weakness results from the 
fact that Brown wrote not so much a biography of 
Keats as an invective aimed at those whom he con- 
sidered responsible for his friend's untimely end, 
namely, at the critics and George Keats. He at- 
tacked the critics openly, but denounced George 
Keats only by implication as one of those who 
failed Keats in the last period of his life. To make 
these enemies suffer the more, Brown strongly felt 
that Keats's long, painful illness * should not be 
concealed, should not be less dwelt upon'. 3 

Time seemed to crystallize rather than soften 

1 Unpublished letter, Collection of Lord Crewe. a Ibid. 

8 Ibid., March 19, 1841. 


Brown's bitterness. In entrusting his Life to Milnes, 
he chiefly requested him to 'allow my facts 
and opinions to stand'. 1 His two obsessions were 
still George Keats and the critics. He had spared 
George Keats in his memoir, but he could not re- 
frain from pouring out his contempt to Milnes. He 
repeated several times George's words to Keats 
upon leaving for America in 1820, after his brief 
return to England: 'You, John, have so many 
friends, they will be sure to take care of you 5 , 
together with Keats's comment: "That was not, 
Brown, fair was it?' 2 He also emphasized to 
Milnes the cruelty of ' brute public opinion ' which, 
insidiously working itself into Keats's mind, be- 
came the poet's final estimate of himself as he chose 
his epitaph, 'Here lies one whose name was writ 
in water.' Brown's indignation at the reviewers 
who prompted this opinion knew no bounds ; he 
was firm with Milnes, saying: C I would have no 
words changed that would change their purport.' 3 
It was the intensity of this single emotion which, 
monopolizing Charles Brown's mind, drove out the 
wealth of anecdotes and incidents which he must 
have known about Keats. 

And yet, in this late consideration of Brown's 
memoir, we find no more important point than his 
insistence upon the disastrous effects of unfair criti- 
cism on Keats. Recent biographers have dismissed 
the theory, widely popularized because it is the 
key-note of Adonais, that Keats was killed by the 

i Ibid., April 9, 1841. 3 Ibid. * Ibid., March 29, 1841. 


critics, and have pointed to his own words to show 
that he was untouched by the cruel pettiness of 
his attackers* 'My own domestic criticism \ he 
wrote to Hessey on October 9, 1818, 'has given me 
pain without comparison beyond what Blackwood 
or the Quarterly could possibly inflict, and also 
when I feel I am right, no external praise can give 
me such a glow as my own solitary reperception & 
ratification of what is fine. 51 

This statement was undoubtedly true in the 
autumn of 1818, but the evidence of Brown -and 
nine other friends of Keats shows that the poet 
regarded his attackers very differently a his ad- 
versities increased. Although the eighty critical 
notices of Keats's works 'were preponderantly 
friendly and encouraging rather than inimical', 2 
the bitterest attacks were published in two of the 
most influential periodicals, and the scoffing re- 
marks of Blackwood and The Quarterly greatly cur- 
tailed the sales of Keats's books, just at the time 
when his inherited income disappeared. During his 
illness of 1820, he undoubtedly brooded on this 
injustice, which robbed him of revenue and forced 
him to postpone all thoughts of marriage. The 
mental anguish of this period reacted most un- 
favourably on his physical condition and retarded 
even the temporary recovery from his first tuber- 
cular attack. 

It was tuberculosis, of course, which killed 

* Letters, p. 222. 

2 G. L. Marsh and N. I. mite, 'Keats and the Periodicals of His 
Tune*, Modern Philology, xxxii (August 1934), 51. 


Keats. In any case he probably would have died 
from it, as did his mother, brothers, and four nieces 
and nephews, 1 for the debilitating treatment of 
the disease was exactly counter to modern medical 
practice. But his mental condition, irritated al- 
most beyond endurance, must have hastened the 
progress of his illness. The critical attacks were 
the starting-point for his melancholia ; they there- 
fore must be regarded, as Brown said, as important 
contributory causes of his death. 

Brown's opinion was shared by Fanny Brawne, 
George Keats, Bailey, Reynolds, Haydon, Dilke, 
Hunt, Taylor, and Woodhouse in short, by 
all of Keats's intimate friends who expressed 
an opinion on the subject except Clarke and 

To his fiancee Keats probably opened his heart 
during his illness. Fanny Brawne's testimony on 
the subject is repeated in the letter of her acquain- 
tance, Gerald Griffin, to his sister Lucy, of June 21, 
1825; he wrote: 

c Keats you must know was in love, and the lady whom 
he was to have married had he survived Gifford's (the 
butcher) review, attended him to the last. She is a beau- 
tiful young creature, but now wasted away to a skeleton, 
and will follow him shortly I believe. She and his sister 
say they have oft found him on suddenly entering the 
room, with that review in his hand, reading as if he would 
devour it completely absorbed absent and drinking it 
in like mortal poison. The instant he observed anybody 

1 'Of George Keats's children, two became victims [of tuberculosis], 
and two grandchildren also developed it.' Lowell, i. 514. 


near him however, he would throw it by, and begin to 
talk of some indifferent matter/ 1 

Fanny Brawne's own statement of this opinion is 
found in her letter to Fanny Keats of February 1, 
1821, written on learning from Severn of Keats's 
desperate plight in Rome a month before his death : 

'Good God! is it to be borne that he [Keats], formed 
for every thing good, and, I think I dare say it, for every 
thing great, is to give up his hopes of life and happiness, 
so young too, and to be murdered, for that is the case, 
by the mere malignity of the world, joined to want of 
feeling in those who ought above all to have felt for him. 92 

In his letters to Dilke, George Keats (whom 
Fanny Brawne, like Brown, included in her de- 
nunciation) frequently referred to the tragic effect 
of the critical attacks on his brother. On April 10, 
1824, he wrote: 

'Blackwood's magazine has fallen into my hands, I 
could have walked 100 miles to have dirked him a 
rAmericaine, for his cruelly associating John in the 
Cockney school, and other blackguardisms, [whijch 
paltry ridicule will have wounded deeper than the 
severest] criticism particularly as he regarded what is 
termed the Cockney of the coterie with so much disgust. 
He either knew John well and touched him in the ten- 
derest place purposely, or knew nothing of him and sup- 
posed he went all lengths with the set in their festering 
opinions and cockney affectations.' 3 

1 Life of Gerald Griffin Esq. ty his Brother, [Daniel Griffin], London, 
1843, p. 190. Edmund Blunden first commented on this passage in 
'Keats Letters, 1931 ; Marginalia', Studies in English Literature, voL xi, 
no. 4 (October 1931), Tokyo. It is quoted in Letters, p. Ix. 

3 Letters of Fanny Brawne to fanny Keats (ed. F, Edgcumbe, 1936), 
p. 15, * Unpublished letter, in the Harvard College Library. 


He repeated the charge on April 20, 1825, 
writing : 

'After all Blackwood and the Quarterly associated 
with our family desease Consumption were ministers of 
death sufficiently venomous, cruel and deadly to have 
consigned one of less sensibility to a premature grave, 
I have consumed many many hours in devising means 
to punish these literary gladiators, but am always brought 
to the vexing conclusion that they are invulnerable to 
one of my prowess.' 1 

Again, on May 7, 1830, George wrote to Dilke: 

C I do not see how a life of John can be written without 
noticing the effect that severe reviews and abominable 
personal reflections had upon his sensitive mind, it ought 
to be done temperately not for the purpose of cutting at 
those worthies and exciting their spleen, but as circum- 
stances that surrounded and operated upon the mind 
and body of the Poet.' 2 

Bailey and Reynolds, like Fanny Brawne, felt 
that Blackwood' s gibes were almost murderous. On 
learning of Keats's death, Bailey wrote to Taylor, 
on March 26, 1821 : 

c Reynolds told me, when I was last in London, that 
poor Keats attributed his approaching end to the poison- 
ous pen of Lockhart. If it be so, here is one more victim 
of that "insatiable ardor*" of the envenomed arrows of 
awfully [illegible word] and unjust criticism. 53 

On March 29, 1821, Haydon wrote: 

'He [Keats] began life full of hopes, fiery impetuous 

1 From the holograph, in the Harvard College Library. Most of the 
letter was given by Milnes (p. 195), with certain inaccuracies. 

2 Unpublished letter, in the Harvard College Library. 

8 Unpublished letter, in the Woodhouse Commonplace Book, Morgan 


and ungovernable, expecting the world to fall at once 
beneath his powers. Poor fellow! his genius had no 
sooner begun to bud than hatred and malice spat their 
poison on its leaves, and sensitive and young it shrivelled 
beneath their effusions.' 1 

He added, with undoubted exaggeration, that 
Keats 'flew to dissipation as a relief, but his 
opinion on the effect of the unfair reviews sub- 
stantially agrees with what other friends wrote. 

Dilke also felt that the critical attacks hastened 
Keats ? s death, but, unlike Brown, he chose to dis- 
regard them, for he believed (erroneously, as it 
developed) that a formal defence of Keats would 
call forth more vilification. He wrote as follows to 
Severn, in a letter dated ' Sunday Evening. 1841 * : 

* To be sure, Brown promised further to vindicate John 
from the attacks in the "Quarterly" and "Blackwood" 
then [thus?} to drag his memory through the mire that 
had poisoned his living existence. As if the fact that an 
edition of his works were called for a quarter of a century 
after he had been laid in his grave, was not vindication 
enough. As if the monument to his fame would be more 
genial in its influences if built up with the stones that 
had been hurled at his living head. 52 

Hunt reprimanded Byron for his couplet from 
Don Juan on Keats : 

Strange that the mind, that very fiery particle, 
Should let itself be snuffed out by an article. 

Byron refused to give up his rhyme, although Hunt 
'told him he was mistaken in attributing Mr. 

1 The Autobiography and Memoirs of Benjamin Robert Hay don, edited 
from his journals by Tom Taylor, [1926], i. 301. 
3 Sharp, pp. 199-200. 


Keats's death to the critics, though they had per- 
haps hastened, and certainly embittered it *. 1 Hunt 
described Keats's 6 constitutional tendency to con- 
sumption \ which was greatly aggravated when 
'the rascally critics came up, and roused an indig- 
nation in him, both against them and himself, 
which he could ill afford to endure 5 . Hunt's dis- 
cussion of the 4 Cockney School' essays contains 
further information on Keats's disastrous indigna- 
tion. Hunt was at first inclined to treat the anony- 
mous attacks with dignified silence, but later, he 
said, he was forced to notice them. 

'Circumstances then induced me to make a more 
peremptory call: it was not answered; and the two 
parties retreated, they to their meanness, and I into 
my contempt. I have since regretted, on Mr. Keats's 
account, that I did not take a more active part. The 
scorn which the public and they would feel for one 
another, before long, was evident enough; but, in the 
meantime, an injury, in every point of view, was done 
to a young and sensitive nature, to which I ought to have 
been more alive. The truth was, I never thought about 
it; nor, I believe, did he, with a view to my taking any 
farther notice. I was in the habit, though a public man, 
of living in a world of abstractions of my own, and I re- 
garded him as a nature still more abstracted, and sure 
of unsought renown. Though a politician, (such as I 
was,) I had scarcely a political work in my library. 
Spensers and Arabian Tales filled up the shelves, as they 
do now; and Spenser himself was not a remoter spirit in 
my eyes, from all the commonplaces of life, than my new 
friend. Our whole talk was made up of idealisms. In the 

1 Leigh Hunt, Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries, second 
edition, London, 1828, i. 4S&-9. 


streets we were in the thick of the old woods. I little 
suspected at that time, as I did afterwards, that the 
hunters had struck him; that a delicate organization, 
which already anticipated a premature death, made him 
feel his ambition thwarted by these fellows ; and that the 
very impatience of being impatient was resented by him, 
and preyed on his mind. Had he said but a word to me 
on the subject, I would have kept no measures with 
them.' 1 

According to George Keats, his brother would 
not have welcomed Hunt's active and public cham- 
pionship. After he had read Lord Byron and Some 
of His Contemporaries, George wrote to Dilke, on 
May 12, 1828: 

e Hunt's sketch is not altogether a failure but I should 
be extremely sorry that poor John's name should go 
down to posterity associated with the littleness of L. H., 
an association of which he was so impatient in his life- 
time. He speaks of him patronizingly, that he would 
have defended him against the Reviewers if he had 
known his nervous irritation at this abuse of him ; and 
says that on that point only he was reserved to him ; the 
fact was he more dreaded Hunt's defence than their 
abuse you know all this as well as I do. 32 

Taylor's opinion on the question has already 
been quoted. 3 He believed that the blow which 
'Blackwood's Men' dealt Keats was as deadly as 
the shot fired at John Scott in the duel which grew 
from the c Cockney School' articles. 

The final evidence on the deep effect of these 
attacks is in Keats's own words, as recorded by 

1 Leigh Hunt, op. cit., 1 426-6. 

2 Unpublished letter, in the Harvard College Library. 

3 See p. 5, above. 


Woodhouse in his manuscript 'Notes by Keats 5 : 
6 If I die you must ruin Lockhart.' 1 

Shelley never knew Keats well, and his testi- 
mony on the subject, incorporated in Adonais and 
its preface, is not the same important first-hand 
evidence as the opinions which have been quoted 
from nine of Keats's intimate friends. Four of 
these opinions were written no later than six weeks 
after Keats died ; except for Dilke's, which dates 
from 1841, all of the rest were written within ten 
years of his death. Because they are the contem- 
porary testimony of Keats's closest friends, they 
must be accepted at their face value, for against 
them can be placed only two bits of evidence, 
written forty years after Keats's death by men 
whose memories were frequently inaccurate. 

Clarke, who saw little of Keats after 1818, 2 dis- 
cussed the unfair attacks as follows : 

c To say that these disgusting misrepresentations did 
not affect the consciousness and self-respect of Keats 
would be to underrate the sensitiveness of his nature. 
He felt the insult, but more the injustice of the treatment 
he had received; he told me so, as we lay awake one 
night, when I slept in his brother's bed. They had in- 
jured him in the most wanton manner; but if they, or 
my Lord Byron, ever for one moment supposed that he 
was crushed or even cowed in spirit by the treatment he 
had received, never were they more deluded. " Snuffed 

1 Woodhouse Commonplace Book, Morgan Library. Colvin (p. 521), 
publishing this statement without indicating its source, said that Keats 
addressed it to Reynolds. 

3 Keats's last reference to Clarke is found in his letter to George and 
Georgiana Keats of February 14, 1819, when he wrote: *I have not seen 
. . . C. C. C. for God knows when.' (Letters, p. 298.) 



out by an article/' indeed! He had infinitely more 
magnanimity, in its fullest sense, than that very spoiled, 
self-willed, and mean-souled man, and I have authority 
for the last term. 51 

Clarke's contradiction of the popular theory 
lacks the definiteness of Severn's statement : 

*In Italy he [Keats] always shrank from speaking 
in direct terms of the actual things which were killing 
him. Certainly the "Blackwood" attack was one of the 
least of his miseries, for he never even mentioned it 
to me.' 2 

We see, therefore, that Brown's opinion, clearly 
indicated in his letters to Milnes and throughout 
his memoir, is the authenticated opinion of most 
of Keats's friends rather than the unsubstantiated 
belief of recent biographers. Brown felt the injus- 
tice and the disaster of the attacks so deeply that 
he returned to the subject time after time, empha- 
sizing the point even to the exclusion of personal 

An indication of the anecdotes Brown might 
have written is found in his comment to Milnes 
concerning Keats's unfinished poem 'The Cap and 

1 'Recollections of Keats. By an Old School-Fellow', The Atlantic 
Monthly, vii (January 1861), 96. Clarke paraphrased these remarks in 
his Recollections of Writers (1878), p. 147. 

2 Joseph Severn, *On the Vicissitudes of Keats's Fame', The Atlantic 
Monthly, xi (April 1863), 1 402. Reprinted in Sharp, p. 66. Fanny 
Brawne's statement, made in 1821 (see p. 28), contradicts Severn's of 
1868. Further question of Severn's accuracy arises in the fact that he 
authorized the inscription on Keats's tombstone: *This grave contains 
all that was mortal of a young English poet who, on his death bed, in 
the bitterness of his heart, at the malicious power of his enemies, desired 
these words to be engraven on his tomb stone "Here lies one whose 
name was writ in water." February 24th, 1821.' 


Bells', for which the poet planned to use the pseu- 
donym Lucy Vaughan Lloyd : 

6 " Lucy Vaughan Lloyd " was written chiefly for amuse- 
ment ; it appeared to be a relaxation ; and it was begun 
without framing laws in his mind for the supernatural. 
When I noticed certain startling contradictions, his 
answer used to be "Never mind, Brown; all those 
matters will be properly harmonized, before we divide 
it into Cantos. 59 J1 

Brown gave one other slight glimpse of Keats in 
telling Milnes of his independent spirits : 

'His absolute disgust, his horror at what he used to 
call "shabby and glutinous cares" was joined to a firm 
spirit of independence. My earnest offers pained him, 
because he feared for me. When I have put it in this way 
"I am certain, Keats, that it would prove a capital 
speculation for me, if you will agree to let me go in your 
boat ; I risk nothing, for we shall be sure to have a pros- 
perous voyage," he would look serious, and pleased; but, 
when it came to the point, he would more seriously refuse 
to let me enter his boat with "No, that must not be; 
you were very well before you knew me ; and so you must 
remain you are not a bookseller!" 52 

These fragments are sketchy, yet sufficient to touch 
off our desire for still more. Had Charles Brown 
been less a champion, he would have been more a 

Leaving these few tantalizing impressions, to- 
gether with his final requests of Milnes, Charles 
Brown sailed away to New Zealand, where his own 
untimely death occurred in June 1842. Richard 

1 Unpublished letter, Brown to Milnes, March 29, 1841, Collection of 
Lord Crewe. * Ibid, 


Monckton Milnes, later Lord Houghton, became 
sole heir not only to the Keats manuscripts and to 
the Brown memoir, but to the responsibility of in- 
troducing John Keats to the literary world. George 
Keats died a few months after Brown. The pass- 
ing of these two men gave Milnes the freedom to 
rise above petty quarrels and personal animosities, 
and to lift the detailed facts of a man's life into a 
poet's biography. The result is the first published 
biography of Keats, the Life, Letters, and Literary 
Remains, edited by Milnes in 1848. 

Milnes used the Brown memoir freely in writing 
his life of Keats ; with discrimination and a sense 
for dramatic narrative he disentangled the real 
John Keats from Brown's impassioned diatribe on 
the critics. Brown's manuscript remained with the 
other Keatsiana (referred to by Sir Sidney Colvin 
and Miss Amy Lowell as the Houghton Papers), 
where it has always been available to students and 
admirers of Keats. It came into the possession of 
the Marquis of Crewe, by whose kind permission 
we are enabled to publish it. 

We take pleasure also in acknowledging the 
kindness and assistance of Miss Ida Corbett, Lord 
Crewe's secretary; of Mr. M. Buxton Forman, the 
editor of Keats's letters ; of Mr. Edmund Blunden 
and Mr. Fred Edgcumbe; of the officers of the 
Harvard College Library, the J. Pierpont Morgan 
Library, the British Museum, and the Keats 
Museum; and of the authors to whom separate 
acknowledgements are made in the notes. 


Lord Crewe, like his father. Lord Houghton, has 
always been most generous in placing his collec- 
tion at the service of scholars. The information in 
Brown's memoir has thus been widely known for 
many years. Mr. H. Buxton Forman and Sir 
Sidney Colvin (to mention only the two leading 
English biographers of Keats) both had access to 
the memoir. No new information on Keats, there- 
fore, will be disclosed in this first publication of 
Brown's Life of John Keats. 

Nevertheless, the memoir, as a document in 
itself, is of the first importance. It gives the only 
complete picture of Keats written by an intimate 
friend and greatly surpasses the reminiscences of 
the poet written by Hunt, Clarke, and Severn, 
none of whom was closely in touch with Keats 
during his greatest period. Hunt and Clarke were 
friends of his youth, and Severn was the magnifi- 
cently loyal friend of his decline ; Brown, however, 
was one of Keats's most intimate friends in the few 
years of his prime. The fact that it is the first 
biography of the poet increases the interest in 
Brown's memoir, but its greatest importance to 
Keats scholars and enthusiasts lies in its cogent 
revelation of the author's character and his rela- 
tionship with his friend. Finally, its unique quality 
is derived from its value as a human experience ; 
it throws us back into the personal jealousies and 
the petty animosities of the poet's friends and 
critics so that we live in the early nineteenth 
century. To quarrel with Keats's 'revilers', even 


to hate for a few moments with Charles Brown, 
creates a proximity to Keats which no later bio- 
grapher has recaptured. To quote Brown himself, 
c When a silent man once begins to speak, he is 
sometimes apt to make up for lost time 5 . 1 

1 Charles Armitage Brown, Shakespeare* s Autobiographical Poems, 
London, 1838, p. v. 



'He is made one with Nature : there is heard 
His voice in all her music ; from the moan 
Of thunder to the song of night's sweet bird ; 
He is a presence to be felt and known 
In darkness and in light, from herb and stone, 
Spreading itself where'er that Power may move 
Which has withdrawn his being to its own ; 
Which wields the world with never wearied love, 
Sustains it from beneath, and kindles it above. 

He is a portion of the loveliness 

Which once he made more lovely : he doth bear 

His part, while the one Spirit's plastic stress 

Sweeps through the dull dense world, compelling there 

All new successions to the forms they wear.* 

Shelley's 'Adonais', St- 42 & 43. 

JLHESE lines are from 'Adonais*, an elegy by 
Shelley on the death of Keats. When 'Adonais* 
was sent to me from Italy, I recognized, in these 
lines, my own every day, involuntary inevitable 
reflections on the loss of my friend. I honoured 
the genius that could embody them in language so 
soothing and poetical; and I eagerly desired, when 
on my road to Italy, to hold Shelley's hand in 
inine, for I had never met him, but he too, a few 


days before my arrival in the very city where he 
had resided for years, was lost. 1 

Often have I been urged to write a biography 
of Keats, and almost as often have I urged a pro- 
mise of every information in my power to others. 
Earnestly wishing it done, I have myself recoiled 
from the office ; for it is painful. He was dearly be- 
loved, and honoured as a superior being by me. Now 
that twenty years 2 have passed since I lost him, his 
memory is still my chief happiness ; because I think 
of him in the feeling of Shelley's lines. But, when 
I must, while writing his life, recal, during our 
intimate and unreserved friendship, his disappoint- 
ment, his sorrows, and his death, each crowded 
with images and circumstances, which force them- 
selves on my mind, the pain well nigh overcomes 
my duty. 3 For it is a duty ; and, since it seems to 
devolve on me, I will perform it. His fame is part 
of my life. Indignation at his enemies, with con- 
tempt for their listeners, has been another cause 
of my having deferred this task ; but now, it is true, 
the best and the greater part of his literary country- 
men have learnt to feel delight in his poetry. 4 

John Keats was born in Moorfields on 29th Octo- 
ber 1796*. 5 His father was a native of Devonshire, 

* I cannot be certain of this date. While I was in Italy, and since 
my return, friends have in vain endeavoured to discover the registry 
of his baptism. One of his schoolfellows 6 informs me that he thinks 
Keats must have been born a year earlier. The year of his birth I calcu- 
late from what he himself casually said of his age ; but ,1 suspect that 
his birthday, from his dislike to having it kept, is not correctly given, 
though said to have been given by himself to a lady, 7 who asked him 
the question, with an avowed purpose of keeping it. 


and married a daughter of the proprietor of an inn. 8 
At the age of eight or nine years Keats lost his 
father; and, while he was yet a boy, his mother 
also died. 9 He was the eldest of three sons and a 
daughter. 10 Property in the funds to the amount 
of about 10,000 was bequeathed among them; 
2,000 to each of the brothers, and the remainder 
to the sister. 11 

He was educated at the Rev d 12 M p Clarke's school 
at Enfield, and afterwards apprenticed to M r Ham- 
mond, a surgeon, in Church Street, Edmonton. 13 
Owing to his early removal from the school, he felt 
a deficiency in the latin language ; and therefore, 
during his apprenticeship, made and carefully 
wrote out a literal prose translation of the whole of 
VirgiPs ^Eneid. At that time also he studied his 
own language with all the critical nicety in his 
power, and made himself, for his age, learned in 
history. After the usual term of years with M r 
Hammond, he became a student at Guy's Hospital ; 
where he was indefaticable in his application to 
anatomy, medicine, and natural history. 

Though born to be a poet, he was ignorant of his 
birthright until he had completed his eighteenth 
year. Before this period his leisure hours, which 
were scanty few, had not been occupied in reading 
works of imagination ; neither had he attempted, 
nor thought of writing a single line. 14 In one whose 
passions were vivid, whose imagination was un- 
bounded, and who, not many months after, was 
entirely absorbed in poetry, it is strange that no 


indication of his powers should have appeared at 
the first burst of youth. Other and opposite studies, 
pursued with an eager temperament, may partly, 
but, perhaps, not wholly account for it. From his 
earliest boyhood he had an acute sense of beauty, 
whether in a flower, a tree, the sky, or the animal 
world ; how was it that his sense of beauty did not 
naturally seek in his mind for images by which he 
could best express his feelings ? It was the 'Faery 
Queen' that awakened his genius. 15 In Spenser's 
fairy land he was enchanted, breathed in a new 
world, and became another being ; till, enamoured 
of the stanza, he attempted to imitate it, and suc- 
ceeded. This account of the sudden developement 
of his poetic powers I first received from his 
brothers, and afterwards from himself. This his 
first earliest attempt, the ' Imitation of Spenser ', 
is published in his first volume of Poems, and is 
peculiarly interesting to those who are acquainted 
with its history. 16 

c Now morning from her orient chamber came, 
And her first footsteps touch'd a verdant hill ; &c. ' 

If any youth, after repeated trials of his strength, 
were to produce verses worthy to compete with 
these, who would not hold forth his hand to him, 
and whose heart would not throb with fear at what 
he might endure ? 

From this moment he began, deeply and fer- 
vently, to read and ponder over our poets. Chaucer, 
Spenser, and Shakespeare were his household gods. 
When his soul arose into poetry, it was imbued 

with our earliest authors. He at once relinquished 
He did not immediately relinquish his profession ; 
for this decisive step was not taken till about two 
years afterwards, some time before May 1817, 
when he wrote from Canterbury to one of his 
brothers, 'I have forgotten all surgery.' 17 He 
has assured me the muse had no influence over 
him in his determination, he being compelled, 
by conscientious motives alone, to quit the pro- 
fession, upon discovering that he was unfit to 
perform a surgical operation. He ascribed his ina- 
bility to an overwrought apprehension of every 
possible chance of doing evil in the wrong direction 
of the instrument. * My last operation ', he told me, 
c was the opening of a man's temporal artery. I did 
it with the utmost nicety ; but, reflecting on what 
passed through my mind at the time, my dexterity 
seemed a miracle, and I never took up the lancet 
again.' 18 

Some of his poems were shown, by a friend, 19 to 
M* Leigh Hunt, at that time editor of the 'Exami- 
ner ', who was instantly aware of their great merit, 
and their promise of excellence from the young 
poet. 20 This, together with praise from many others, 
induced him to prepare for the press a small volume, 
which appeared in the spring of 1817 j 21 and, while 
it was publishing, he had written the first book of 

In the latter part of that year's summer I first 
saw him. It was on the Hampstead road that 
we were introduced to each other; the minutest 


circumstances attending our first meeting are strong 
in my memory, but they must be uninteresting to 
others all except myself. Still, as in that interview of 
a minute I inwardly desired his acquaintanceship, if 
not his friendship, I will take this occasion of de- 
scribing his personal appearance. He was small in 
stature, well proportioned, compact in form, and, 
though thin, rather muscular ; one of the many 
who prove that manliness is distinct from height 
and bulk. There is no magic equal to that of an 
ingenuous countenance, and I never beheld any 
human being's so ingenuous as his. His full fine 
eyes were lustrously intellectual, and beaming 
(at that time!) with hope and joy. It has been 
remarked that the most faulty feature was his 
mouth j 22 and, at intervals, it was so. But, when- 
ever he spoke, or was, in any way, excited, the 
expression of the lips was so varied and delicate, 
that they might be called handsome. 

He had taken lodgings for himself and his 
brothers at Hampstead, and I was his neighbour. 
I succeeded in making him come often to my house 
by never asking him to come of tener ; and I let him 
feel himself at perfect liberty there, chiefly by 
avoiding to assure him of the fact. We quickly 
became intimate. 

Every one who met him sought for his society, 
and he was surrounded by a little circle of hearty 
friends. While 'Endymion 5 was in progress, as 
some degree of solitude was necessary, he made 
excursions to Box Hill, Hastings, the Isle of Wight, 


Oxford, and lastly Teignmouth, 23 whither he went 
to attend on his youngest brother, whose ill state 
of health required a mild air, and whence the last 
book of 'Endymion' was forwarded for the press. 
At times he relieved himself from continued appli- 
cation to this work by writing sonnets and other 
short poems, most of which have been printed; 
but among them is one, c Lines on seeing a lock 
of Milton's hair ', which is yet unknown, and ought 
not to be so. 24 

Immediately on the appearance of his first 
volume 'Blackwood's Magazine' commenced a 
series of attacks upon him, month after month. 25 
These attacks doubtless originated and were 
carried on in unprincipled party spirit. 26 The inex- 
perienced Keats, without a thought of the conse- 
quence, in a political point of view, had addressed 
his volume to his friend -M 8 - Leigh Hunt in a dedica- 
tory sonnet ; and, still less to be forgiven, he had 
written another sonnet on the day -M*- Leigh Hunt 
left prison, where he had been confined for two years, 
in expiation of what had been construed into a dis- 
loyal libel. 27 There was no indication of criticism 
in 'Blackwood's Magazine 3 on Keats's works; 
there was nothing but abuse and ridicule to prevent 
their sale. An author's person, however objection- 
able, cannot have any thing to do with a question 
on his literary merits. These hirelings, however, 
pretended to think otherwise ; and, in order to hold 
him up to public ridicule, they dealt unreservedly 
in falsehood. They represented him as affected, 


effeminate, and -alse- sauntering about without a 
neckcloth, in imitation of the portrait of Spenser ; 28 
every word of which was as far from the truth as 
their jokes on ' pimply-faced Hazlitt ', 29 one whom 
I never saw with a pimple on his face. Hazlitt 
himself remarked to me, 'Of what use would 
it be were I publicly to convict them of untruth 
in this description of me? of none whatever. 
They would then persuade their readers, far more 
to blame than themselves, that in their misrepre- 
sentation consisted the very marrow, the excellence 
of the jest; nay, that the jest would be nothing 
if it were true/ 30 The power of these writers, with 
their unremitting ridicule was great, for they had 
talent. M r Lockhart, the son in law of Sir Walter 
Scott, was generally known as the editor of c Black- 
wood's Magazine' at that time. 31 At a later period 
indeed he denied he was the editor ; but he refused 
to deny that he ever had been the editor. 

As quickly as possible after the publication of 
6 Endymion 9 an article appeared on it in the * Quar- 
terly Review'. In this there was nothing but rage 
and malice, too undisguised, I thought at the time, 
to prove injurious, and utterly unrecommended by 
talent of any kind. 32 Still the high reputation of 
the work, in which it stood, carried it, in spite of 
its demerits, safe into the public's ear. The public 
could not suspect that M r Gifford 33 would com- 
promise the character of the * Quarterly ' by an un- 
tenable decided condemnation. How few are at 
the trouble of forming their own judgment on a 


book! in this exists the power of a reviewer. 
Shelley, in his preface to 'Adonais', asks, As to 
'Endymion, was it a poem, whatever might be its 
'defects, to be treated contemptuously by those 
' who had celebrated, with various degrees of com- 
'placency and panegyric, Paris., and Woman, and 
c a Syrian Tale, and M rs Lafanu and M r Barrett, 
c and M r Howard Payne, and a long list of the illus- 
6 trious obscure ? ' 34 This question from Shelley may 
be unanswerable ; yet still the c Quarterly Review 5 
is read with confidence by a large portion of the 
public, those who cannot or will not exert their 
faculties or their courage to form an opinion of 
their own. 

As an antidote to this poison we naturally looked 
forward to the 'Edinburg Review'. M r Jeffrey, 35 
however, remained and continued to remain silent ; 
as if quietly watching whether the victim was 
crushed, or could possibly survive. At length, too 
late for a good purpose, not till August 1820, after 
the publication of a third volume, 36 when Keats 
had received his death-blow, 37 there appeared in 
the 'Edinburg Review 3 a criticism on his poems, 
from which criticism I select the following passages. 
'Any one who would represent the whole poem* 
(Endymiori) 6 as despicable, must either have no 
' notion of poetry, or no regard to truth. 5 'He 
6 who does not find -ia-ik a great deal in it to admire 
'and to give delight, cannot in his heart see much 
'beauty in the two exquisite dramas to which 
*we have already alluded/ (Fletcher's Faithful 


Shepherdess, an.d.Een3onsorf$SadShepherd), 'or find 
' any great pleasure in some of the finest creations 
' of Milton and Shakespeare '. * We are very much 
'inclined indeed to add, that we do not know any 
' book which we would sooner employ as a test to 
'ascertain whether any one had in him a native 
'relish for poetry, and a genuine sensibility to its 
'intrinsic charm.' 38 

M r Jeffrey, in apology for not having, during the 
two previous years, noticed a young poet, whom he 
at last so highly eulogized, chose to make use of 
this assertion; 'We had never happened to see 
either of these volumes till very lately/ 39 Re- 
viewers are accustomed to say any thing at their 
will and pleasure ; yet, unless we doubt the gentle- 
man's assertion, we are compelled to accuse the 
critic, (which would be irreparable disgrace), of 
having neglected his self assumed duty as a careful 
examiner into the literature of the day. 

In the sumirx . of 1818 Keats offered to be my 
companion in a walking visit to the English lakes 
and the highlands of Scotland. 40 We first went by 
coach to Liverpool, 41 as his brother George was 
about to embark from that port for America, and 
thence to Lancaster, from which town we com- 
menced our walk, 42 each with a knapsack on his 
back. I cannot forget the joy, the rapture of my 
friend when he suddenly, and for the first time, be- 
came sensible to the full effect of mountain scenery. 
It was just before our descent to the village of Bow- 
ness, at a turn of the road, when the lake of Winder- 


mere at once came into view. 43 In the evening 
he repeated to me his beautiful and pathetic poem 
of ' Isabella ', which he had just written, before he 
left Teignmouth. All was enchantment to us both. 

He had been introduced to Wordsworth in Lon- 
don, and, to show respect to that great poet, he 
called on him at Rydale j 44 but it was at the time 
of a general election, and therefore Wordsworth 
was away from his quiet home, at Lowther Hall. 45 
Tho young poet looked thoughtful at this exposure 
of hiG elder. 

After having made something like the usual 
to[ur] 46 through Westmoreland and Cumberland, 
we journied by coach from Carlisle to Dumfries, 
where we stood before the grave of Burns. 47 Then, as 
we walked, through by Solway Firth, through that 
delightful part of Kirkudbrightshire, the scene of 
6 Guy Mannering \ I talked of Meg Merrilies, while 
Keats, who had not yet read that [nove]l, was much 
interested in the character. T* J'was [a] little 
spot, close to our path- way, ' There \ he said, in 
an instant positively realizing a creation of the 
novellist, 'in that very spot, without a shadow of 
6 doubt, has old Meg Merrilies often boiled her 
6 kettle ! * It was among pieces of rock, and brambles, 
and broom, ornamented with a profusion of honey- 
suckle, wild roses, and foxglove, all in the very 
blush and fullness of blossom. While we sat at 
breakfast, he was occupied in writing to his young 
sister, and, for her amusement, he composed a 
ballad on old Meg. I took a copy of it at the time. 


It was for the amusement of a school-girl ; yet how 
full of imagination! 

Old Meg she was a gipsy &c. 48 

Want of time to effect our numerous intentions, 
with other circumstances, compelled us to forego 
seeing the Giant's Cause-way, though we had pro- 
ceeded towards it as far as Belfast. 49 On our re- 
turn, walking northwards by the coast, Ailsa rock 
attracted our continued notice. It seemed, at our 
first view, the sun shining on it, like an enormous 
transparent tortoise asleep upon calm water. Its 
height is 940 feet, measured on its perpendicular 
side, above the level of the sea. Walking onward, 
we saw, as it were, the shoulders of this rock; 
then, as we still walked on, we saw more and more, 
with the mountains of Arran behind, the whole 
extent of Cantire, and even Ireland like a little 
dusky cloud in the horizon. At [ou]r inn in Girvan 
he wrote this Sonnet on Ailsa rock. 50 

Hearken, thou craggy ocean-pyramid &c. 

We were now in Ayrshire, the country of Burns, 
a region of quiet beauty, with much of the character 
of England. We descended to the * banks and braes 
of bonny Doon 5 , examined the ruin of Kirk Allo- 
way, indebted to the poet's imagery alone for 
its attraction, and saw the town of Ayr before 
us. 51 

* Auld Ayr whom ne'er a town surpasses 
'For honest men and bonny lasses.' 62 

Not far from this side of the town stood the cottage 


where Burns was born. Keats had predetermined 
to write a sonnet under its roof; but its conversion 
into a whiskey-shop, together with its drunken 
landlord, went far towards the annihilation of his 
poetic power. 53 

This mortal body of a thousand days &C; 

We found our way, through Glasgow, into the 
highlands, where, soon quitting the carriage-roads, 
we explored some unfrequented districts, which, 
I had read, offered still grander scenery. At Oban 
we crossed to Mull, and, with the assistance 
of a guide, traversed, by no beaten track, the 
whole extent of that island, until we came to the 
celebrated island of lona. 54 Thence we had a gentle 
sail to Staffa, where we had the good fortune to 
arrive, at low water, and just as the sea was be- 
calmed, so that our boat landed us close into the 
mouth of FingaPs cave. Keats wrote some lines on 
this cave, a fragment of a poem, which I never 
could induce him to finish. 

Not Aladdin magian &c. 

Returned to Oban, 55 we passed by the romantic 
mountains of Ballahulish to Fort William, and 
mounted Ben Nevis. When on the summit of this 
mountain, we were enveloped in a cloud, and, wait- 
ing till it was slowly wafted away, he sat on the 
stones, a few feet away from the edge of that fear- 
ful precipice, fifteen hundred feet perpendicular 
from the valley below, and wrote this sonnet. 56 
Read me a lesson, Muse, and read it loud &c. 


For some time he had been annoyed by a slight 
inflammation in the throat, occasioned by rainy 
days, fatigue, privation, and, I am afraid, in one 
instance, by damp sheets. It was prudently re- 
solved, with the assistance of medical advice, that 
if, when we reached Inverness, he should not be 
much better, he should part from me, and proceed 
from the port of Cromarty to London by sea. He 
was not recovered, and we parted there. 57 In my 
solitary after- wanderings I much lamented the loss 
of his beloved intelligence at my side. 58 

Our original intention was, after visiting other 
parts of the highlands, to return by Edinburg. This 
somehow became known to M r Blackwood, who 
sent, through a third party, an invitation to Keats. 59 
Nothing could exceed the impudence of such an 
invitation, nor the guilt of the person, through 
whom it was forwarded, counselling the poet to 
endeavour to soften the rancour of his enemies in 
that quarter by attention to it. 

Ihaveapoem which he composed, with more than 
usual care, during our walks. I introduce it here. 

There is a charm in footing slow across a silent plain &c. 

It was well that he did leave me ; for not only 
was he speedily reinstated in his usual good health, 
but it was necessary he should be at Hampstead, 
where he found his younger brother alarmingly 
ill. 61 This youth, dear to him, [hi]s brother had 
been, for some time, threatened by consumption ; 
and now the disease had taken its most wasting 


and rapid form. By the time I had finished my 
lonely tour, and returned to my home, 62 it was not 
expected he could live many days. 

Early one morning 63 I was awakened in my bed 
by a pressure on my hand. It was Keats, who came 
to tell me his brother was no more. I said nothing, 
and we both remained silent for awhile, my hand 
fast locked in his. At length, my thoughts return- 
ing from the dead to the living, I said 'Have 
'nothing more to do with those lodgings, 64 and 
c alone too. Had you not better live with me ?' He 
paused, pressed my hand warmly, and replied, 
* I think it would be better.' From that moment 
he was my inmate. 

When his grief was alleviated, to which effect his 
many kind friends contributed their kind appli- 
ances, his hours became gradually absorbed once 
more in poetry. It was then he wrote Hyperion.* 
At the beginning of the year we were on a visit in 
Hampshire, where he began tho commencement 
of where he wrote The eve of St. Agnes, and 
finished it on our return. 66 On our return he 
wrote * Lamia-. I observed that every short 
poem, which he was tempted to compose, was 
scrawled on the first piece of paper at hand, and 
that it was afterwards used as a mark to a book, or 
thrust any where aside. In the spring of 1819 a 
nightingale had built her nest near my house. 
Keats felt a tranquil and continual joy in her song ; 
and one morning he took his chair from the break- 
fast-table to the grass-plot under a plum-tree, 


where he sat for two or three hours. When he came 
into the house, I perceived he had some scraps 
of paper in his hand, and these he was quietly 
thrusting behind the books. 67 On inquiry, I found 
those scraps, four or five in number, contained his 
poetic feeling on the song of our nightingale. The 
writing was not well legible ; and it was difficult to 
arrange the stanzas on so many scraps. With his 
assistance I succeeded, and this was his Ode to a 
Nightingale, a poem which has been the delight of 
every one. Immediately afterwards I searched for 
more of his (in reality) fugitive pieces, in which 
task, at my request, he again assisted me. Thus I 
rescued that Ode and other valuable short poems, 
which might otherwise have been lost. From that 
day he gave me permission to copy any verses he 
might write, and I fully availed myself of it. He 
cared so little for them himself, when once, as it 
appeared to me, his imagination was released from 
their influence, that it required a friend at hand to 
preserve them. 

We passed much of this summer at Shanklin in 
the Isle of Wight, and at Winchester. 68 He was 
pleased with the quiet of that cathedral town, the 
beauty of the cathedral itself, and the elm-tree 
walks. We knew no one there. At Shanklin he 
undertook a difficult task : I engaged to furnish him 
with the fable, characters, and dramatic conduct 
of a tragedy, and he was to embody it into poetry. 
The progress of this work was curious ; for, while 
I sat opposite to him, he caught my description 


of each scene, entered into the characters to be 
brought forward, the events, and every thing con- 
nected with it. Thus he went on, scene after scene, 
never knowing nor inquiring into the scene which 
was to follow, until four acts were completed. It 
was then he required to know, at once, all the 
events which were to occupy the fifth act. I ex- 
plained them to him ; but, after a patient hearing, 
and some thought, he insisted on it that my inci- 
dents were too numerous, and, as he termed them, 
too melodramatic. He wrote the fifth act in accor- 
dance with his own view ; and so enchanted was I 
with his poetry, that, at the time, and for a long 
time after, I thought he was in the right. This 
tragedy, Otho the great, was sent to Drury Lane 
Theatre, 69 not with his name, for (strange it now 
appears!) his name was not a recommendation, so 
utterly had it become a by- word of reproach in 
literature. It was, however, accepted, with a pro- 
mise on the part of Elliston to bring it forward 
during that very season. From what I could learn, 
by an inadvertence of Elliston, it was Kean, to 
whom it was shown, who desired to play the prin- 
cipal character. Afterwards I was told I had mis- 
taken the promise, it was for the next season if 
possible, or for the season after the next. This delay 
did not suit my purpose, which was to make my 
friend popular in spite of his detractors. 70 I there- 
fore took it from that theatre, and sent it to Covent 
Garden Theatre, whence it was speedily returned 
with a note, in a boy's hand-writing, containing a 


negative. I have since had reason to believe it 
never was unrolled. 

As soon as Keats had finished Otho the great, I 
pointed out to him a subject for an english his- 
torical tragedy in the reign of Stephen, beginning 
with his defeat by the Empress Maud, and ending 
with the death of his son Eustace, when Stephen 
yielded the succession to the crown to the young 
Henry. He was struck with the variety of events 
and characters which must necessarily be intro- 
duced ; and I offered to give, as before, their dra- 
matic conduct. "The play must open', I began, 
' with the field of battle, when Stephen's forces are 
c retreating ' c Stop ! ' he said, c stop ! I have been 
6 already too long in leading-strings. I will do all 
4 this myself/ He immediately set about it, and 
wrote two or three scenes, about 130 lines. 71 

This second tragedy, never to be resumed, gave 
place to * Lamia ', a poem which had been on hand 
for some months. 72 He wrote it with great care,' 
after much studying of Dryden's versification. 

I left him alone in Winchester for about three 
weeks, for he objected to accompany me. 73 His in- 
tention was, though he by no means expressed it, 
to make a trial of solitude. Just before he might 
have expected my return, I was surprised by a 
letter, dated 23 September 1819, from which the 
following is an extract. There was a time when I 
might have omitted some passages in this extract 
respecting myself; but I have become, year after 
year, more and more proud of his good opinion. 


Besides, it must not be conjectured that he thought 
of parting from me on any other ground than is 
here mentioned. 

'Now I am going to enter on the subject of self. 
It is quite time I should set myself doing something, 
and live no longer i pon hopes. I have never yet 
exerted myself. I anx getting into an idle minded, 
vicious way of life, ahjost content to live upon 
others. In no period of m>Jife have I acted with 
any self will, but in throwing up the apothecary- 
profession. That I do not repent of. Look at 
x x x x x x : 74 if he was not in the law he would 
be acquiring, by his abilities, something towards 
his support. My occupation is entirely literary; 
I will do so too. I will write, on the literal side of 
the question, for whoever will pay me. I have not 
known yet what it is to be diligent. I propose 75 liv- 
ing in town in a cheap lodging, and endeavouifftsg, 
for a beginning, to get the theatricals of soip^ 
paper. When I can afford to compose deliberaor, 
poems I will. I shall be in expectation of an answer 
to this. Look on my side of the question. lamreon- 
vinced I am right. Suppose the Tragedy 76 should 
succeed, there will be no harm done. And here I 
will take an opportunity of making a remark or two 
on our friendship, and all your good offices to me. 
I have a natural timidity of mind in these matters : 
liking better to take the feeling -fes between us for 
granted, than to speak of it. But, good God ! what 
a short while you have known me ! I feel it a sort of 
duty thus thus to recapitulate, however unpleasant 


it may be to you. You have been living for others 
more than any man I know. This is>^vexatton^to 
me ; because it has been depriving, you, in the very 
prime of your life, of pleasures- which it was your 
duty to procure. As I am speaking in general terms 
this may appear nonsense ; you perhaps will not 
understand it: but if you car go over, day by day, 
any month of the last yea , you will know what 
I mean. On the whole, however, this is a subject 
that I cannot express myself upon. I speculate 
upon it frequently ; and, believe me, the end of my 
speculations is always an anxiety for your happi- 
ness. This anxiety will not be one of the least in- 
citements to he plan I purpose pursuing. I had got 
into a habit of mind of looking towards you as a 
help in all/difficulties. This very habit would be 
the parep of idleness and difficulties. You will see 
it v^ ^uty I owe myself to break the neck of it. I 
<^ c ?othing for my subsistence make no exertion. 
* or the end of another year, you shall applaud me, 
iiot for verses, but for conduct. If you live at 
Hampstead next winter I like x xxxxxxxx 
and I cannot help it. 77 On that account I had better 
not live there. While I have some immediate 
cash, 78 1 had better settle myself quietly, and fag on 
as others do. I shall apply to Hazlitt, 79 who knows 
the market as well as any one, for something to 
bring me in a few pounds as soon as possible. I 
shall not suffer my pride to hinder me. The whisper 
may go round ; I shall not hear it. If I can get an 
article in the " Edinburg ", I will. One must not be 


delicate. Nor let this disturb you longer than a 
moment. I look forward, with a good hope, that we 
shall be- one day be passing free, untrammelled, 
unanxious time together. That can never be if I 
continue a dead lump, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
I shall be expecting anxiously an answer from you. 
If it does not arrive in a few days, this will have 
miscarried, and I shall come straight to x x x x 80 
before I go to town, which you, I am sure, will agree 
had better be done while I still have some ready 
cash. By the middle of October I shall expect you 
in London. 81 We will then set at the Theatres. If 
you have any thing to gainsay, I shall be even as 
the deaf adder which stoppeth her ears.' 82 

On the same day he wrote another letter, having 
received one from me 83 between the writing of ^fefee 
his two. He again spoke of his purpose. 

c Do not suffer me to disturb you unpleasantly: 
I do not mean that you should suffer me to occupy 
your thoughts, but to occupy them pleasantly ; for, 
I assure you, I am as far from being unhappy as 
possible. Imaginary grievances have always been 
-fiay more my torment than real ones. You knowthis 
well. Real ones will never haveany 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 fos- 
tered by passionate feeling ; our real ones come of 
themselves, and are opposed by an abstract exer- 
tion 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. I wish, at one view, you could see my heart 
towards you. Tis only from a high tone of feel- 
ing that I can put that word upon paper out of 
poetry. I ought to have waited for your answer to 
my last 84 before I -sestd- wrote this. I felt, however, 
compelled to make a rejoinder to your's. I had 
written to x x x x & 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 awhile in periodical works I may 
maintain myself decently.' 

I set off immediately to him, 86 and we returned 
to town together. 87 Up to that period he had 
always expressed himself averse to writing for any 
periodical work. The only contribution he ever 
made of this kind was to the * Champion ' news- 
paper, in a short notice of Kean's performance of 
Luke in 'The city madam'. 88 As his poems were, 
to the disgrace of his contemporaries, unprofitable, 
in which sense alone his time had been spent idly, 
and as I was well acquainted with his independent 
feeling, there was no part of his plan, but what met 
with my concurrence, except the loss of his society* 
On this subject he heard me patiently, but con- 
cluded with insisting on the necessity of his living 
in a lodging in town, and by himself. He actually 
carried his plan into effect, not aware, as I was, of 
his incapability of living in solitude, and distant 
from the young lady in Hampstead who had won 


his heart. 89 He remained in his new lodging two 
days (I think no more) and lived again with me. 90 
He appeared to have relinquished his intention of 
writing in periodical works. Probably he found 
his aversion to such a task insuperable. 

It was evident from the letters he had sent me, 
even in his self-deceived assurance that he was ' as 
far from being unhappy as possible 9 , that he was 
unhappy. I quickly perceived he was more so than 
I had feared j 81 his abstraction, his occasional lassi- 
tude of mind, and, frequently, his assumed tran- 
quillity of countenance gave me great 



me great uneasiness. He was unwilling to speak on 
the subject ; and I could do no more than attempt, 
indirectly, to cheer him with hope, avoiding that 
word however. By chance our conversation turned 
on the idea of a comic faery poem in the Spenser 
stanza, and I was glad to encourage it. He had not 
composed many stanzas before he proceeded in it 
with spirit. It was to be published under the feigned 
authorship of Lucy Vaughan Lloyd, and to bear 
the title of The Cap and Bells, or, which he pre- 
ferred, The Jealousies. This occupied his mornings 
pleasantly. He wrote it with the greatest facility ; 
in one instance I remember having copied (for I 
copied as he wrote) as many as twelve stanzas before 
dinner. In the evenings, at his own desire, he was 
alone in a separate sitting-room, deeply engaged 
in remodelling his poem of 'Hyperion' into a 
6 Vision 'J The change in the conduct of this poem 
has not, in the opinion of his friends, been regarded 
as an improvement. 

This morning and evening employment was 
broken into by a circumstance which it is needless 
to mention. 93 He could not resume that employ- 


ment, and he became dreadfully unhappy. His 
hopes of fame, and other more tender hopes 94 were 
blighted. His patrimony, though much consumed 
in a profession he was compelled to relinquish, 
might have upheld him through the storm, had he 
not imprudently lost a part of it in generous loans. 95 
Prudence, in the vulgar acceptation of that virtue, 
is the forbearance from leaving one vice for another 
of economy ; or it is sheer selfishness. Now he had 
no vice ; but he was as far removed from a selfish 
being as can be imagined. Indeed he possessed the 
noble virtues of friendship and generosity to excess ; 
and they, in this world, may chance to spoil a man 
of independent feeling, till he is destitute- Even the 
c immediate cash ', of which he spoke in the extracts 
I have given from his letters, was lent, with no hope 
of its speedy repayment, and he was left worse than 
pennyless. All that a friend could say, or offer, or 
urge was not enough to heal his many wounds. He 
listened, and, in kindness, or soothed by kindness, 
showed tranquillity, but nothing from a friend 
could relieve him, except on a matter of inferior 

He was too thoughtful, or too unquiet ; and he 
began to be reckless of health. Among other proofs 
of recklessness, he was secretly taking, at times, a 
few drops of laudanum to keep up his spirits. It 
was discovered by accident, and, without delay, 
revealed to me. He needed not to be warned of the 
danger of such a habit ; but I rejoiced at his promise 
never to take another drop without my knowledge ; 


for nothing could induce him to break his word, 
when once given, which was a difficulty. Still, at 
the very moment of my being rejoiced, this was an 
additional proof of his rooted misery. 

Not long after this, one night (I have no record 
of the date, but it was either at the end of December 
or the beginning of January) 96 , one night, at eleven 
o'clock, he came into the house in a state that 
looked like fearful fierce intoxication. Such a state 
in him, I knew, was impossible ; it therefore was the 
more fearful. I asked hurriedly, "What is the mat- 
ter, you are fevered?' 'Yes, yes,' he answered, 
* I was on the outside of the stage this bitter day till 
I was severely chilled, but now I don't feel it. 
Fevered! of course, a little.' He mildly and in- 
stantly yielded, a property in his nature towards 
any friend, to my request that he should go to bed. 
I followed with the best immediate remedy in my 
power. I entered his chamber as he leapt into bed. 
On entering the cold sheets, before his head was on 
the pillow, he slightly coughed, and I heard him 
say, c That is blood from my mouth. ' I went to- 
wards him ; he was examining a single drop of blood 
upon the sheet. * Bring me the candle, Brown ; and 
let me see this blood.' After regarding it stead- 
fastly, he looked up in my face, with a calmness of 
countenance that I can never forget, and said, 
6 1 know the colour of that blood; it is arterial 
blood; I cannot be deceived in that colour; 
that drop of blood is my death-warrant ; I must 
die.' I ran for a surgeon ; my friend was bled ; and, 


at five in the morning, I left him after he had been, 
some time, in a quiet sleep. 

His surgeon and physician both unhesitatingly 
declared that his lungs were uninjured, 97 This 
satisfied me, but not him: he could not reconcile 
the colour of that blood with their favourable 
opinion. He was long ill, and, at one period, unable 
to bear the presence of any one except his medical 
attendant 98 and myself. I am inclined to think 
that nobleness of mind shows more gloriously in 
receiving than in giving. While I waited on him, 
day and night, his instinctive generosity, his ac- 
ceptance of my offices, by a glance of his eye, a 
motion of his hand, made me regard my mechanical 
duty as absolutely nothing compared to his silent 
acknowledgment. Something like this, Severn, his 
last nurse, observed to me ; and I am convinced it 
was an innate virtue in him to make those who most 
obliged him the most obliged, without effort, with- 
out a thought, well nigh magical. I recollect his once 
saying, * If you would have me recover, flatter me 
with a hope of happiness when I shall be well ; for I 
am now so weak that I can be flattered into hope.' 

With the spring his strength and, apparently, 
his former health returned. So much so, that his 
physician even recommended him to join me in 
another walking tour to the highlands ; but neither 
he nor I, knowing what privations and bad weather 
he might endure there, was of the same opinion. I 
went alone. It was his choice, during my absence, 
to lodge at Kentish Town, 99 that he might be near 


his friend, Leigh Hunt, in whose companionship he 
was ever happy. He went with me in the scotch 
smack as far as Gravesend. This was on the 7 th 
May. I never saw him afterwards. 

As evidence of his well being I had requested 
him to send me some new stanzas to his comic faery 
poem ; 100 for, since his illness, he had not dared 
the exertion of composing. At the end of eight days 
he wrote in good spirits, and began his letter thus : 

'My dear Brown, 

You must not expect me to date my letter 
from such a place as this : you have heard the name ; 
that is sufficient, except merely to tell you it is the 
15 th instant. You know I was very well in the 
smack ; I have continued much the same, and am 
well enough to extract much more pleasure than 
pain out of the summer, even though I should get 
no better. I shall not say a word about the stanza 
you promised yourself through my medium, and 
will swear, at some future time, I promised. Let 
us hope I may send you more than one in my 
next*' ++++++++ 

In June he wrote as follows ; and what I heard 
from other quarters also tended to confirm my best 

'My dear Brown, 

I have only been to + + + 9 s 101 once since you 
left, when x x x x could not find your letters. 
Now this is bad of me. I should, in this instance, 
conquer the great aversion to breaking up my 


regular habits, which grows upon me more and 
more. True I have an excuse in the weather, which 
drives one from shelter to shelter in any little ex- 
cursion. I have not heard from George. 102 Mybook* 
is coming out with very low hopes, though not 
spirits on my part. This shall be my last trial ; not 
succeeding, I shall try what I can do in the Apothe- 
cary line. When you hear from or see x x x x 
x x 103 it is probable you will hear some complaints 
against me, which this notice is not intended to 
forestall. The fact is I did behave badly; 104 but it 
is to be attributed to my health, spirits., and the 
disadvantageous ground I stand on in society. I 
would 105 go and accommodate matters, if I were 
not too weary of the world. I know that they are 
more happy and comfortable than I am ; therefore 
why should I trouble myself about it ? I foresee I 
shall know very few people in the course of a year 
or two. Men get such difficult 106 habits, that they 
become as oil and vinegar to one another. Thus far 
I have a consciousness of having been pretty dull 
and heavy, both in subject and phrase; I might 
add, enigmatical. I am in the wrong, and the 
world is in the right, I have no doubt. Fact is, I 
have had so many kindnesses done me by so many 
people, that I am cheveaux-de-frised with benefits, 
which I must jump over or break down. I met 
x x x 107 in town a few days ago, who invited me to 
supper to meet Wordsworth, Southey, Lamb, Hay- 
don, and some more ; I was too careful of my health 

* Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of Saint Agnes, and other poems. 


to risk being out at night. Talking of that, I con- 
tinue to improve slowly, but, I think, surely. All 
the talk at present xxxxxxxx There is a 
famous exhibition 108 in Pall Mall of the old english 
portraits by Vandyck and Holbein, Sir Peter Lely 
and the great Sir Godfrey. Pleasant countenances 
predominate ; so I will mention two or three un- 
pleasant ones. There is James the first, whose 
appearance would disgrace a " Society for the sup- 
pression of women " ; so very squalid, and subdued 
to nothing he looks. Then, there is old Lord Bur- 
leigh, the high priest of economy; the political 
save-all, who has the appearance of a Pharisee 
just rebuffed by a gospel bon-mot. Then, there is 
George the second, very like an unintellectual Vol- 
taire, troubled with the gout and a bad temper. 
Then, there is young Devereux, the favourite, 
with every appearance of as slang a boxer as any 
in the court ; his face is cast in the mould of black- 
guardism with jockey-plaster, x x x x x I shall 
soon begin -with upon Lucy Vaughan Lloyd ^ I do 
not begin composition yet, being willing, in case of 
a relapse, to have nothing to reproach myself with. 
I hope the weather will give you the slip ; let it 
show itself, and steal out of your company, x x x 
xxx When I have sent off this, I shall write 
another to some place about fifty miles in advance 
of you. 

Good morning to you. 

Your's ever sincerely, 



During a pedestrian tour, though every care 
is beforehand taken for the direction of letters, at 
particular times, and to particular places, somehow, 
either by inattention or error, mistakes abound. 
I walked on, disappointed from one post-office to 
another, till 9 th September, when, at Dunkeld, I 
received letters forwarded from various parts of the 
Highlands, among which were two from Keats. 310 
The first was written on 14 th August, 111 and the 
second a few days after. On reading them, I turned 
my steps undeviatingly homewards. 

"My dear Brown, 

You may not have heard from x x x x or 
x x x x , or in any way, that an attack of spitting 
of blood, and all its weakening consequences, has 
prevented me from writing for so long a time. I 
have matter now for a very long letter, but not 
news; so I must cut every thing short. I shall 
make some confession, which you will be the only 
person, for many reasons, I shall trust with. A 
winter in England would, I have not a doubt, kill 
me ; so I have resolved to go to Italy, either by sea 
or land. Not that I have any great hopes of that, 
for, I think, there is a core of disease in me not easy 
to pull out.* xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxlfl 
should die x x x x x I shall be obliged to set off in 
less than a month. Do not, my dear Brown, tease 
yourself about me. You must fill up your time as 
well as you can, and as happily. You must think 

* The omitted passage contained the secret. 112 He went to Italy in 
pursuance of his physician's urgent advice. 


of my faults* as lightly as you can. When I have 
health I will bring up the long arrears of letters I 
owe you. x x x x x x My book has had good 
success among literary people, 113 and, I believe, 
has a moderate sale. I have seen very few people 
we know, x x x has visited me more than any 
one* I would go to x x x x x and make some 
inquiries after you, if I could with any bearable 
sensation; but a person I am not quite used to 
causes an oppression on my chest. Last week I 
received a letter from Shelley, at Pisa, of a very 
kind nature, asking me to pass the winter with 
him. Hunt has behaved very kindly to me. You 
shall hear from me again shortly. 

Your affectionate friend, 


6 My dear Brown, 

fxxxxxxxl ought to be off at the end 
of this week, as the cold winds begin to blow to- 
wards evening; but I will wait till I have your 
answer to this. 114 I am to be introduced, before I 
set out, to a D r Clarke, a physician settled at Rome, 
who promises to befriend me in every way at 
Rome. 115 The sale of my book is very slow, though 
it has been very highly rated. One of the causes, 
I understand from different quarters, of the un- 
popularity of this new book, and the others also, 

* Sixteen years 116 have not changed my opinion. I thought then, 
and I think now,4feat he had no fault. On the faulty side he was scarcely 

t The commencement is a continuation of the secret in his former 
letter, ending with a request that I would accompany him to Italy. 


is the offence the ladies take at me. On thinking 
that matter over, I am certain that I have said 
nothing in a spirit to displease any woman I would 
care to please : but still there is a tendency to class 
women in my books with roses and sweetmeats, 
they never see themselves dominant.* If ever I 
come to publish " Lucy Vaughan Lloyd ", there will 
be some delicate picking for squeamish stomachs, 
I will say no more, but, waiting in anxiety for your 
answer, doff my hat, and make a purse as long 
as I can. 

Your affectionate friend, 


On my arrival at Dundee, a smack was ready 
to sail, and with a fair wind. Yet I was one day 
too late. Unknown to each other at the time, our 
vessels lay, side by side, at Gravesend ; U7 for he 
had been recommended to go to Italy by sea, and 
was then on the first night of his voyage. 

In my absence, while the autumn was too far 
advancing, a dear friend, Joseph Severn, almost 
at a day's warning, 118 accompanied him. Severn 
had gained the gold medal at the Royal Academy 
for the best historical picture among the students, 
and therefore was entitled to his expences to and 

* On what grounds can this opinion rest ? Is not * Isabella* dominant 
to an extreme, in affection and in heroism? Are not his other poetic 
women mentally dominant, only in a minor degree ? As for what he says 
respecting his poem by the supposed 'Lucy Vaughan Lloyd 9 , there is 
nothing hi the fragment he has left, nothing in the intended construction 
of the story, (for I knew all, and was to assist him in the machinery of 
one part), but to the honour of women. Lord Byron, really popular 
among women, reduced them, to the offence of some men, to * roses and 


from Italy, as well as for three years of study 
there. U9 Our Keats could not be in more affec- 
tionate hands ; and I contented myself with pre- 
paring to follow him very early in the spring, and 
not return should he prefer to live there. 120 I 
thought of nothing but his recovery; 121 for all the 
medical men who attended him were constant in 
their assertions that his lungs were uninjured; 
and his mind, I hoped, by change of scene, 
and renewed strength of body, would become 

Again we were within ten miles of each other, 
still without knowing it at the time. Contrary 
winds had driven him back to Portsmouth, where 
he landed for a day, while I chanced to be in the 
neighbourhood. 122 I received this letter from him. 

'Maria Crowther. Off Yarmouth, Isle of Wight. 
Saturday, 28 September. 123 

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", 124 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, I may this may be 
my last 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 125 without making any 
way. I was very disappointed at not meeting you 
at Bedhampton, and am very provoked at the 
thought of you being at Chichester to-day. I 
should have delighted in setting off for London, 
for the sensation merely, for what should I do 
there ? I could not leave my stomach, or lungs, 126 
or other worse things behind me. I wish to write 
on subjects that will not agitate me much, there 
is one I must mention, and have done with it. 
Even if my body would recover of itself, this would 
prevent it. The very thing 127 I want to live most 
for will be a great occasion of my death. I cannot 
help it. Who can help it ? Were I in health it would 
make me ill, and how can I bear it in my state ? 
I dare say you will be able to guess on what subject 
I am harping. You know what was my greatest 
pain during the first part of my illness at your 
house. I wish for death every day and night to 
deliver me from these pains, and then I wish death 
away, for death would destroy even those pains 
which are better than nothing. Land and sea, 
weakness and decline are great separators, but 
death is the great divorcer for ever. When the pang 
of this thought has passed through my mind, I may 
say the bitterness of death is passed. I often wish 
for you, that you might flatter me with the best. 


I think, without my mentioning it, for my sake 
you would be a friend to x x x x 128 when I am 
dead. If there is any thing you can do for her by 
word or deed, I know you will do it. I am in a state 
at present in which woman, merely as woman, can 
have no more power over me than stocks and 
stones, and yet the difference of my sensations 
with respect to her 129 and my sister is amazing. 
The one seems to absorb the other to a degree in- 
credible. 130 The thought of leaving her 129 is beyond 
every thing horrible the sense of darkness coming 
over me ! I eternally see her figure eternally vanish- 
ing. Some of the phrases she was in the habit of 
using, during my last nursing, 131 ring in my ears. 
Is there another life ? Shall I awake and find all 
this a dream ? There must be : we cannot be created 
for this sort of suffering ; the receiving this letter 
is to be one of your's ! 

I will say nothing about our friendship, or rather 
your's to me, more than that, as you deserve to 
escape, you will never be so unhappy as I am. I 
should think of you in my last moments. I shall 
endeavour to write to her, 129 if possible to-day. 
A sudden stop to my life in the middle of one of 
these letters would be no bad thing, for it keeps 
one in a sort of fever awhile. Though fatigued 
with a letter longer than any I have written for a 
long while, it would be better to go on for ever than 
awake to a sense of contrary winds. We expect to 
put into Portland roads to-night. The captain, 
the crew, and the passengers are all ill tempered 


and weary. I shall write to x x x 132 I feel as if I 
was closing my last letter to you. 
My dear Brown, 

Your affectionate friend, 


I make no comment on this, nor shall I on two 
more letters from him; I cannot. Besides, what 
have the admirers of his poems and his character 
except to do except with him alone, and to sympa- 
thise with his sufferings ? -alone? Another's would 
be discordant. His next was written when he had 
arrived at the end of his voyage. 

'Naples. Wednesday first in November. 133 
My dear Brown, 

Yesterday we were let out of Quarantine, 
during which my health suffered more from bad 
air and a stifled cabin than it had done the whole 
voyage. The fresh air revived me a little, and I 
hope I am well enough this morning to write to 
you a short calm letter ; if that can be called one, 
in which I am afraid to speak of what I would the 
fainest dwell upon. As I have gone thus far into 
it, I must go on a little ; perhaps it may relieve 
the load of WRETCHEDNESS which presses upon 
me. The persuasion that I shall see her no more 
will kill me. I cannot q * My dear Brown, I 
should have had her when I was in health, and 
I should have remained well. I can bear to die I 

* He could not go on. with this sentence^ nor even write the word 
'quit', as I suppose. The word WRETCHEDNESS above he himself 
wrote in large characters. 


cannot bear to leave her. Oh, God! God! God! 
Every thing I have in my trunks that reminds me 
of her goes through me like a spear. The silk lining 
she put in my travelling cap scalds my head. My 
imagination is horribly vivid about her I see her 
I hear her. There is nothing in the world of suffi- 
cient interest to divert me from her a moment. 
This was the case when I was in England ; I cannot 
recollect, without shuddering, the time that I was 
prisoner at Hunt's, and used to keep my eyes fixed 
on Hampstead all day. Then there was a good hope 
of seeing her again Now! that I could be 
buried near where she lives ! I am afraid to write 
to her to receive a letter from her to see her 
hand writing would break my heart even to hear 
of her any how, to see her name written would be 
more than I can bear. 134 My dear Brown, what am 
I to do ? Where can I look for consolation or ease ? 
If I had any chance of recovery, this passion would 
kill me. Indeed through the whole of my illness, 
both at your house and at Kentish Town, this 
fever has never ceased wearing me out. When you 
write to me, which you will do immediately, write 
to Rome (poste restante) if she is well and happy, 
put a mark thus +, if Remember me to all. I 
will endeavour to bear my miseries patiently. A 
person in my state of health should not have such 
miseries to bear. Write a short note to my sister, 
saying you have heard from me. Severn "is very 
well. If I were in better health I should 135 urge your 
coining to Rome. I fear there is no one can give 


me any comfort. Is there any news of George ? O, 
that something fortunate had ever happened to me 
or my brothers ! then I might hope, but despair 
is forced upon me as a habit. My dear Brown, 
for my sake, be her advocate for ever. I cannot 
say a word about Naples ; I do not feel at all con- 
cerned in the thousand novelties around me. I am 
afraid to write to her. I should like her to know 
that I do not forget her. Oh, Brown, I have coals 
of fire in my breast. It surprises me that the human 
heart is capable of containing and bearing so much 
misery. Was I born for this end ? God bless her, 
and her mother, and my sister, and George, and 
his wife, and you, and all! 

Your ever affectionate friend, 


Thursday. 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 x x x x x x 136 I 
must leave off. You bring my thoughts too near 

to 137 

God bless you ! * 

The pain of this was relieved by the account 
Severn sent, by the same post, of his usual tone of 
mind, and of the opinion of the physicians there, 
all positive there was no disease of the lungs. The 
account, indeed, was cheering and hopeful. Then 
I heard from Keats himself, when he had reached 
Rome, in a comparitively happy mood. 


'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 on opening any book, yet I 
am much better than I was in Quarantine. Then 
I am afraid to encounter the proing and conning 
of any thing interesting to me in England. I have 
an habitual feeling of my real life having past, and 
that I am leading a posthumous existence. God 
knows how it would have been but it appears to 
me however, I will not speak of that subject. I 
must have been at Bedhampton nearly at the time 
you were writing to me from Chichester how un- 
fortunate and to pass on the river too! There 
was my star predominant ! I cannot answer any 
thing in your letter, which followed me from 
Naples to Rome, because I am afraid to look it 
over again. I am so weak (in mind) that I cannot 
bear the sight of any hand writing of a friend I love 
so much as I do you. Yet I ride the little horse, 
and, at my worst, even in Quarantine, summoned 
up more puns, in a sort of desperation, in one week 
than in any year of my life. There is one thought 
enough to kill me I have been well, healthy, alert 
&c., walking with her and now the knowledge 
of contrast, feeling for light and shade, all that 
information (primitive sense) necessary for a poem 
are great enemies to the recovery of the stomach. 
There, you rogue, I put you to the torture, but 
you must bring your philosophy to bear as I do 


mine, really or how should I be able to live ? D* 
Clarke is very attentive to me ; he says, there is 
very little the matter with my lungs, but my 
stomach, he says, is very bad. I am well dis- 
appointed in hearing good news from George, 
for it runs in my head we shall all die young. I have 
not written to x x x x x 138 yet, which he must 
think very neglectful ; being anxious to send him 
a good account of my health, I have delayed it 
from week to week. If I recover, I will do all in my 
power to correct the mistakes made during sick- 
ness ; and if I should not, all my faults will be for- 
given. I shall write to x x x to-morrow, or next 
day. 139 I will write to x x x x x in the middle of 
next week. Severn is very well, though he leads 
so dull a life with me. Remember me to all friends, 
and tell x x x x 140 I should not have left London 
without taking leave of him, but from being so 
low in body and mind. Write to George as soon 
as you receive this, and tell him how I am, as 
far as you can guess; and also a note to my 
sister who walks about my imagination like a 
ghost she is so like Tom. I can scarcely bid you 
good bye even in a letter. I always make an awk- 
ward bow. 

God bless you! 


My hopes, strong till then, were lost on the re- 
ceipt of the following letter from Severn. I per- 
ceived that his physicians had been in error, and 
that the words of Keats himself, spitting up that 


one drop of blood, * That drop of blood is my 
death-warrant ! ' were true. 

'Rome. 14 December 1820. 

My dear Brown, 141 

I fear our 142 poor Keats is at his worst. A most 
unlooked for relapse has confined him to his bed, 
with every chance against him. It has been so 
sudden upon what I thought 143 convalescence, and 
without any seeming cause, that I cannot calculate 
on the next change. I dread it ; for his suffering 
is so great, so continued, and his fortitude so 
completely gone, that any further change must 
make him delirious. This is the fifth day, and I 
see him get worse. But stop, I will tell you the 
the manner of this relapse from the first. 144 

17 December. 4 Morning. 145 Not a moment can 
I be from him. I sit by his bed, and read all day, 
and, at night, I humour him in all his wanderings. 
He has just fallen asleep, the first 146 for eight 
nights, and now from mere exhaustion. I hope he 
will not wake until I have written this ; for I am 
anxious, beyond measure, to have you know this 
his worse and worse state, yet I dare not let him 
see I think it dangerous. 147 

I had seen him awake on the morning of this 
attack, and, to all appearance, he was going on 
merrily, and had unusial 148 good spirits; when, 
in <an instant, a cough seized him, and he vomited 
nearly 149 two cup-fulls of blood. 160 In a moment 
I got D r Clarke, who saw the manner of it, and 
immediately took away about eight ounces of blood 


from the arm, it was black and thick in the ex- 
treme. 151 Keats was much alarmed and dejected. Oh! 
what an awful day I had with him! 152 He rushed out 
of bed, and said, " This day shall be my last ! " and, 
but for me, most certainly it would. At the risk 
of losing his confidence, I took every destroying 
mean 153 from his reach, nor did I let him be free 
from my sight one minute. The blood broke forth 154 
in like quantity the next morning, and the doctor 
thought it expedient to take away the like quan- 
tity of blood ; this was in the same dismal state, 
and must have been so, 155 from the horrible state 
of despair he was in. But I was so fortunate as 
to talk him into a little calmness, and, with some 
english newspapers, he became quite patient under 
the necessary arrangements. 

This is the ninth day, and no change for the 
better. Five times the blood has come up in cough- 
ing, in large quantities, generally in the morning, 
and nearly the whole time his saliva has been 
mixed with it. 156 But this is the less 167 evil com- 
pared with his stomach. Not a single thing will 
digest. The torture he suffers all and every night, 
and best part of the day, is dreadful in the extreme. 
The distended stomach keeps him in perpetual 
hunger or craving; and this is augmented by 
the little nourishment he takes to keep down the 
blood. Then his mind is worse than all: despair 
in every shape his imagination #,nd memory 
present every thought 158 in horror so strong 
that every 159 morning and night I tremble for his 


intellect the recollection of England of his 
"good friend Brown" and his "happy few weeks 
inx x x x x ? s 160 care" his sister and brother. Oh! 
he will mourn over every circumstance to me 
whilst I cool his burning forehead until I tremble 
through every vein concealing 161 my tears from 
his staring glassy eyes. How he can be Keats 
again from all this I have little hope but I may 
see it too gloomily, 162 since each coming night I sit 
up adds its dismal contents to my mind. 

D r Clarke will not say so much. Although there 
are 163 no bounds to his attention, yet with little 
success can he "administer to a mind diseased". 
Yet, all that can be done, most kindly he does ; 
whilst his lady, like himself in refined feeling, 
prepares and cooks all that poor Keats takes; 
for in this wilderness of a place (for an invalid) there 
was 163 no alternative. Yesterday D r Clarke went 
all over Rome for 164 a certain kind of fish, and got 
it; but, just as I received it from M rs Clarke, 165 
delicately prepared, Keats was taken by the spit- 
ting of blood and is now gone back all the eight 166 
days. This was occasioned by disobeying the 
doctor's commands. Keats is required to be kept 
as low as possible, to check the blood ; so that he 
is weak and gloomy. Every day he raves 167 he 
will die from hunger, and I was obliged to give 168 
more than allowed. You cannot think how dread- 
ful this is for me. The doctor, on one 169 hand, tells 
me I shall kill him to give 168 more than he allows, 
and Keats raves for more till I am in a complete 


tremble for him; but I have talked him over 
now. We have the best opinion of D r Clarke's 170 
skill ; he seems to understand the case, and comes 
over four or five times 171 a day. He left word at 
twelve this morning to call any time in case of 
danger. 172 For myself, I am keeping up beyond my 
most sanguine expectation. 173 Eight nights I have 
been up, and, in the days, never a moment away 
from my patient, unless 174 to run over to the doctor. 
But I will confess my spirits have been quite 175 
pulled down. These wretched Romans have no 
idea of comfort. Here am I 176 obliged to wash up, 
cook, and read to Keats all day. Added to this, I 
have had no letters yet from my family. 177 x x x x 
x x x x x x Will you, my dear Brown, write to 
me, for a letter to Keats now would almost kill 
him. Give x x x 178 this sad news. I am quite ex- 
hausted. Farewell. I wish you were here, my dear 


Your's 179 sincerely, 


I have just looked at him this will be a good 

The tragedy goes on to the last, still in the words 
of kind hearted Severn. 

'Rome. 8 February 1821. 180 
My dear Brown, 

I have just got your letter of 15 th January. 
The contrast of your quiet friendly Hampstead 
with this lonely place and our poor suffering Keats 


brings the tears into my eyes. I wish many, many 
times that he had never left you. His recovery 
must have been impossible whilst he was in Eng- 
land, and his excessive grief since has made it more 
so. In your care he seemed to me like an infant 
in its mother's arms ; 181 you would have smoothed 
down his pain by varieties ; his death might have 
been eased by the presence of his many friends. 
But here, with one solitary friend, in a place savage 
for an invalid, he has one more pang added to his 
many ; for I have had the hardest task in keeping 
from him my painful situations. I have kept him 
alive by these means, week after week. He had 
refused all food ; but I tried him every way. I left 
him no excuse. Often I have prepared his meals 
six times a day, and kept from him the trouble I 
had in doing it. I have not been able to leave 
him ; that is, I have not dared to do it, but when 
he slept. Had he come here alone, he would have 
plunged into the grave in secret ; we should never 
have known one syllable about him. This re- 
flection alone repays me for all I have done. It is 
impossible to conceive what the sufferings of this 
poor fellow have been. Now he is still alive, and 
calm ; if I say more, I shall say too much. Yet, 
at times, I have hoped he would recover, but 
the doctor shook his head, and, as for Keats, he 
would not hear that he was better. The thought 
of recovery is beyond every thing dreadful to him. 
We now dare not perceive any improvement ; for 
the hope of death seems his only comfort. He 


talks of the quiet grave as the first rest he can ever 
have. I can believe and feel this most truly. 

In the last week a great desire for books came 
across his mind. I got him all the books at hand ; 
and, for three days, this charm lasted on him, 
but now it has gone. Yet he is very calm. He is 
more and more reconciled to his horrible mis- 

14 th February. Little or no change has taken 
place since the commencement of this, except 
this beautiful one, that his mind is growing to great 
quietness and peace. I find this change has its rise 
from the increasing weakness of his body; but it 
seems like a delightful sleep to me, I have been 
beating about in the tempest of his mind so long. 
To-night he has talked very much to me, but so 
easily, that he, at last, fell into a pleasant sleep. 
He seems to have comfortable dreams, without 
the night-mare. This will bring on some change, 
it cannot be worse, it may be better. Among the 
many things he has requested of me to-night, this 
is the principal one, that on his grave-stone shall 
be this, 


N. 3 


You will understand this so well, that I need not 
say a word about it. But, is it not dreadful that he 
should, with all his misfortunes on his mind, and 
perhaps wrought up to their climax, end his life 
without one jot of human happiness ? When he 
first came here, he purchased a copy of Alfleri, 
but put it down at the second page, 

"Misera me! sollievo a me non resta 

" Altro che il pianto, ed il pianto e delitto." 182 

He was much affected at this passage; and now 
that I know so much more of his grief, I do not 
wonder at it. 

Such 183 a letter has come! I gave it to Keats, 
supposing it to be one of your's, but it proved 
sadly otherwise; the glance of that letter tore 
him to pieces, the effects were on him for many 
days ! he did not read it he could not but re- 
quested me to place it in his coffin, together with 
a purse and a letter (unopened) of his sister's 
since which time he has requested me not to place 
that letter in his coffin, but only his sister's purse 
and letter, with some hair. Here 184 he found many 
causes of his illness in the exciting and thwarting 


of his passions, but I have persuaded him to feel 
otherwise on this delicate point. In his most irri- 
table state, he sees a friendless world, with every 
thing that his life presents, particularly the kind- 
ness of his friends, tending to his untimely death. 

I have got an English nurse to come two hours 
every other day, so that I have quite recovered my 
health ; but my nurse, after coming five 185 times, 
has been taken ill to-day ; this is a little unfortunate 
as Keats seemed to like her. Another and greater 
misfortune is the cursed rumpus betwixt the Nea- 
politans and the Austrians. We are daily fearing 
that the thievish Neapolitans will arrive and ran- 
sack Rome. They are on their way hither; and, 
from the grudge betwixt them and the Romans, 
we have little to hope for. Rome might be taken 
with a straw it is only defended by its relics. At 
twelve last night they rumbled all their artillery 
by here to the Porta Santa Giovanna. The Pope 
was on his legs all night, trusting any thing rather 
than heaven. If the Austrians do not arrive in 
time, our P's and Q's are likely to be altered. The 
English are very numerous here. Farewell. 

Sincerely your's, 


In a little back-room I get chalking out a picture. 
This, with swallowing a little Italian every day, 
helps to keep me up. The Doctor was delighted 
with your kindness to Keats. He is a most worthy 
man ; we must ever respect him for his unremitting 
kindness to Keats. 


P.S. The post does not go for another two hours. 
To my great astonishment, I found it half past 
three this morning when I had done writing. You 
see I cannot do any thing until poor Keats is asleep. 
This morning he has waked very calm. I think he 
seems somewhat better. He has taken half a pint 
of fresh milk. The milk here is beautiful to all 
the senses it is delicious for three weeks he has 
lived on it, sometimes taking a pint and a half in 
a day. 

You astonish me about x x x x x x x 186 
The Doctor has been; he thinks Keats worse. 
He says the expectoration is the most dreadful he 
ever saw. Keats's inward grief must have been 
beyond limit. His lungs are in a dreadful state. 
His stomach has lost all its power. Keats himself 
says he has fretted to death from the first little 
drop of blood he knew he must die he says no 
common chance of living was for him. 5 

'Rome. 27 February 1821. 187 
My dear Brown, 

He is gone he died with the most perfect 

ease he seemed to go to sleep. On the 23 rd , about 

4, the approaches of death came on. "Severn 

I lift me up I am dying I shall die easy don't 

be frightened be firm, and thank God it has 

come ! " I lifted him up in my arms. The phlegm 

seemed boiling in his throat, and increased until 

11, when he gradually sunk into death so quiet - 

that I still thought he slept. I cannot say now 

I am broken down from four nights 5 watching, and 


no sleep since, and my poor Keats gone. Three 
days since, the body was opened ; the lungs were 
completely gone. The Doctors could not conceive 
by what means he had lived these two months. I 
followed his poor body to the grave on Monday, 
with many English. They take such care of me 
here that I must, else, have gone into a fever. 
I am better now but still quite disabled. 

The Police have been. The furniture, the walls, 
the floor, every thing must be destroyed by order 
of the law. But this is well looked to by D r C. 

The letters I put into the coffin with my own 


I must leave off. 

j. s. 

This goes by the first post. Some of my kind friends 
would have written else. I will try to write you 
every thing next post ; or the Doctor will. 

They had a mask and hand and foot done 

I cannot get on * 

These details of suffering and death may be 
called by the public an infliction of unnecessary 
pain. Not so ; the public, the countrymen of a poet, 
whose merit, either from ignorance or credulity, 
carelessness or caprice, they did not choose to 
acknowledge, cannot be too minutely made ac- 
quainted with the consequences of their neglect. 

After twenty years, 188 with all the charity of 
pvhich my nature is capable, my belief continues 
;o be that he was destroyed by hirelings, under 


the imposing name of Reviewers. Consumption, 
it may be urged, was in the family ; his father 189 and 
his younger brother had both died of it ; therefore, 
his fate was inevitable. Perhaps it was so ; perhaps 
not. The brother who died was very tall and 
narrow chested ; our Keats was short, with well- 
proportioned limbs, and with a chest remarkably 
well-formed for strength. At the most, it comes to 
this : if an hereditary predisposition existed, that 
predisposition might not have been called into 
action, except by an outrageous denial of his now 
acknowledged claim to be ranked as a poet of 
England. Month after month, an accumulation of 
ridicule and scoffs against his character and person, 
did worse than tear food from the mouth of a starv- 
ing wretch, for it tore honour from the poet's brow. 
Could he have been less sensitive, could he have 
been less independent, could he have truckled to 
his self-constituted judges, could he have flattered 
the taste of the public, and pandered to their will 
and pleasure in fact, could he have ceased to be 
John Keats, he might have existed at this moment, 
happy as one of the inferior animals of the creation. 
As a critic on his poems, I confess myself incap- 
able. I have purposely refrained from the task. 
While alive to their beauties, I am conscious of not 
being so to their faults. Time has not allayed my 
admiration. To dwell alone upon the beauties of 
his works is ample joy, and I seek not to have it 
diminished. Upon this subject I have but one 
observation to offer: he was, from the first day he 


became a poet, in progressive improvement, To 
this his poems bear witness. How high, had he not 
been destroyed by hirelings or disease, his genius 
might have soared, is a thought that at once exalts 
and depresses me. 

"Following the memoir are the following poems, copied in 

Brown's hand: 

Ode on a Grecian Urn, Stanzas i-iv. 
To John Reynolds in answer to his Robin Hood 


Lines to the Mermaid Tavern. 
Song, 1818 ('Hence Burgundy, Claret, and Port'). 
Song, 1818 ('0 blush not so'). 
Ode on Melancholy. 
Ode to Autumn, stanza 8. 
Fragment, 1818 ('Where's the Poet? Show him! 

Show him!'). 
Ode to Psyche, 
Ode to Fancy. 

'Welcome Joy, and welcome Sorrow.' 
Sonnet to the Nile. 
King Stephen, part of Act 1, Scene 1, and Scene 2, 


Page Forty 

1. Brown was inaccurate in stating that he missed seeing Shelley 
in Pisa by only a few days. Shelley lived in Pisa from January 
1820 till April 1822, when he moved to San Terenzo, near Lerici. 
He was drowned on July 8, 1822, while returning from Leghorn 
to Lierici. His body was recovered on July 18 and cremated, 
after a temporary burial, on August 15. Brown reached Pisa 
on August 30, 1822, and wrote to Severn of these events on 
September 5 as if they had just occurred, saying: 'Here I am at 
last. I arrived here six days ago. . . . You have heard, I suppose, 
of Shelley being drowned near Lerici. . . . His body has been 
burnt, and I understand his ashes are to be deposited near his 
child at Rome.' (Sharp, p. 129.) 

2. Brown made some revisions of his Life of John Keats in 1841 
before sending his Keatsiana to Milnes on the eve of his emigra- 
to New Zealand. This sentence was undoubtedly written at 
that time, twenty years after Keats's death. See Introduction, 
p. 23. 

3. Elsewhere Brown referred to the writing of this memoir as a 
painful duty. See Introduction, p. 17. 

4. This sentence must have been added in 1841, for in 1836, 
when Brown was writing his Life, he did not consider Keats's 
fame great enough to warrant the erection of a monument to 
his memory. See his letter to Severn, November 26, 1836, 
Sharp, p. 178. Even in 1841, Keats's reputation was not high, 
if we may judge from the re-publications of his poems during 
the twenty years since his death. Galignani issued his poetry 
in 1829, in Paris, with that of Shelley and Coleridge. Keats was 
issued separately in Buffalo, New York, in 1834. The first 
English reprint, taken from Galignani, was W. Smith's * Standard 
Library' edition of Keats, published in 1840. Doubtless this 
publication caused Brown to remark, with some exaggeration, 
'the best and the greater part of his literary countrymen have 
learnt to feel delight in his poetry*. 

5. Milnes detected t."M error, correcting the year from 1796 to 
1795. Keats's friends, strangely enough, were in ignorance 


concerning his birthday and birthplace. Two years after Hunt 
had erroneously said that Keats was born on October 29, 1796 
(Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries, second edition, 
1828, i. 409), Brown wrote to him on June 1, 1830, saying: * Can 
Clarke tell me in what parish Keats was born ? for I think you 
have given a wrong birth day, though you have his authority. I 
have written about this to London, but, for want of a clue to his 
parish, I am unanswered.' (Unpublished letter, in the British 
Museum.) Brown never received satisfactory information and 
repeated Hunt's error. Keats was born in Moorfields, but, to be 
precise, Brown should have said that he was born in his parents' 
quarters in the livery stable, 'at the sign of the Swan and Hoop, 
Finsbury Pavement, facing the then open space of Lower Moor- 
fields. 9 (Colvin, p. 3.) 

Keats's baptismal record, in St. Botolph's Church, Bishops- 
gate, shows that he was born on October 81, 1795. The evidence 
for October 29 as his birthday, accepted definitely by Miss Amy 
Lowell (i. 5) and partially by Sir Sidney Colvin (who wrote that 
Keats was born *on either the 29th or 31st of October, 1795') 
rests on the statements in Brown's memoir and Hunt's book, 
on an affidavit of Ann Burch, and on a remark by Keats in his 
journal letter to George and Georgiana Keats of October 1818. 
Brown's own footnote on the date of Keats's birth shows his 
uncertainty, and Ann Burch was far from positive on the date. 
According to the transcripts of the Chancery proceedings of 
Rowlings v. Jennings prepared for Sir Sidney Colvin by Ralph 
Thomas, solicitor (now among the Colvin papers in the Keats 
Museum at Hampstead), * Ann Burch, of Upper Clapton, widow, ' 
swore to an affidavit on June 29, 1825, that she was intimately 
acquainted with Thomas and Frances Keats before and after 
the birth of John Keats, and 'that s d J. K. was born in the year 
1795, viz*, on or about the 29th Oct. 5 The evidence of Keats 
himself is even less conclusive for October 29. He interrupted 
his journal letter of October 1818 at many clearly indicated 
points, and it is utterly impossible to ascertain on what date 
he concluded the letter with the statement, "This day is my 
Birth day.' (Letters, p. 243.) 

The case for October 29, then 3 rests on most unsatisfactory 
evidence, which cannot discredit the grounds for assuming that 
Keats was born on October 81. H. Buxton Forman first dis- 
covered the entry in the baptismal records^of St. Botolph's, 
Bishopsgate, which shows that Keats was christened on Decem- 


ber 18, 1795, and which states that he was born on October 31. 
Miss Lowell (i. 5) wrote that this birth date is recorded in *a 
marginal note, said to be in the handwriting of the rector, Dr. 
Conybeare*. As a matter of fact, the date is not relegated to the 
margin, and the form of the entry is precisely that of others on 
the same page. It reads: 'Dec. 18, 1795. John Keats. Son of 
Thomas & Frances. Oct. 31.* William Conybeare, the rector of 
St. Botolph's from 1776 to 1815, certified the accuracy of records 
on this and other sheets of the register by signing his name at 
the foot of the page. As Miss Lowell said, 'the rector could know 
nothing of the matter except what he was told and may very 
possibly have mistaken what was said', but at least he recorded 
the date he believed correct some six weeks after the birth of 
Keats instead of almost thirty years later, as Ann Burch did, 
and he relied upon the parents themselves instead of upon 
the hearsay of a lady to whom Keats had mentioned his 

6. The schoolfellow was probably Clarke, who recorded in his 
Recollections of Writers (London, 1878, p. 120) that Keats was 
born on October 29, 1795. 

7. Fanny Brawne, of course, is the lady to whom Keats would 
most probably have told his birthday. Her copy of Leigh Hunt's 
Literary Pocket Book, 1819, is preserved in the Keats Museum 
at Hampstead; opposite the date, August 9, she wrote 'my 
birthday', but she made no note on October 29 or 31. 

Page Forty-one 

8. Milnes corrected this statement, recording that Keats's father 
married the daughter of 'Mr. Jennings, the proprietor of large 
livery-stables on the Pavement in Moorfields, nearly opposite 
the entrance into Finsbury Circus'. (Milnes, p. 10.) 

9. Keats was eight when his father died, in April 1804, and four- 
teen at his mother's death, in March 1810. The date seems to 
have been reported wrongly in the Chancery proceedings of 
Rowlings v. Jennings as February 1810, for the records of St. 
Stephen's, Coleman Street, show that she was buried in that 
church on March 20, 1810. 

10. Brown's statement on the Keats children is correct, but Milnes 
disregarded it, -writing c he [John] had two brothers, George, 
older than himself, Thomas, younger, and a sister much 

younger'. (Everyman edition [a reprint of the first edition, 
of 1848], p. 11.) Milnes corrected his error in his revised edition 
of 1867, with the statement, 'he had two younger brothers, 
George and Thomas, and a sister much younger*. (1867 edition, 
p. 4.) As a matter of fact, there were five Keats children, 
including Edward, who died in infancy. 

11. Brown wrote to Dilke asking him to confirm this statement 
concerning the Keats children's inheritance. His letter, post- 
marked February 9, 1830, says: 'In writing Keats's Me, in 
order to salve over his "low origin" as Hunt calls it, as a good 
patrimony is the next best thing (even in the eyes of aristocrats,) 
to a good parentage, I wish to know if I am correct in saying 
this.' He then quoted the sentence from the memoir. (Un- 
published letter, in the Brewer Bequest, Keats Museum.) Appar- 
ently Dilke did not reply. In the notes which he made in his 
copy of MHnes's Keats, now in the J. P. Morgan Library, New 
York (ii. 40), is found Dilke's statement : 'Milnes says they [the 
four Keats children] had about 8000 & would perhaps quote 
me as authority But my impression [is] that I said Mrs. Llanos 
\nee Fanny Keats] had about or above 2200 She had I think 
a special legacy, & this 2200 included her share of Tom's 
property. Take John's property at 1500.' Dilke, therefore, 
believed that Brown over-estimated Keats's inheritance by 500 
and Fanny Keats's by some 1,800. 

Milnes stated (p. 13) : 'About eight thousand pounds were left 
to be equally divided among the four children.' 

12. John Clarke, headmaster of the Enfield school and father of 
Keats's friend Charles Cowden Clarke, was never a clergyman. 
He was a lawyer before becoming a schoolmaster. 

13. Church Street, Edmonton, was the address of Thomas Ham- 
mond, the surgeon, and of Mrs. Jennings, Keats's grandmother. 
(Lowell, i. 47.) 

14. Brown probably derived this opinion from both John Keats 
and his brother Tom. On June 1, 1830, he wrote to Leigh Hunt : 
*I want to make out as far as I can, the development of his 
[Keats's] mind. Both he and Tom have talked to me a little on 
this subject.' (Unpublished letter, in the British Museum.) 
Clarke, on the other hand, believed that Keats wrote his first 
poem, the 'Imitation of Spenser', at the age of sixteen, not 
eighteen. (Recollections of Writers, p. 125.) 


Page Forty-two 

15. Milnes quotes Clarke as his authority for the early influence 
of Spenser's Faery Queen on Keats (p. 14). 

16. Omitting four sentences and with minor variants, Colvin 
quoted this paragraph from Brown. Concerning the date of this 
first poem, he wrote: 'Clarke places the attempt two years 
earlier, but his memory for dates was, as he owns, the vaguest. 
We may fairly take Brown to be on this point the better in- 
formed of the two, and may assume that it was some time in 
the second year after he left school [i.e. 1813] that the Spenser 
fever took hold on Keats, and with it the longing to be himself 
a poet.' (Colvin, pp. 20-1.) 

Page Forty-three 

17. This letter is lost. It must have been written to George, since 
Tom accompanied Keats to Canterbury, shortly after May 16, 
1817. In writing to Bailey on October 8, 1817, Keats referred 
to 'a Letter I wrote to George in the Spring % from which he 
copied a long passage (Letters, pp. 52-3). It is possible that the 
phrase Brown quotes was in this letter, which seems to have 
come into Brown's hands because it was among the papers of 
John mstead of George Keats. 

18. Milnes (p. 26) and Lowell (i. 186) give slightly different ver- 
sions of this quotation. Colvin (p. 29) quotes it verbatim from 
Brown, but without naming him. 

19. Clarke showed Hunt some of Keats's poems, probably in 1816. 
(Lowell, i. 133.) 

20. Hunt wrote: 'I shall never forget the impression made upon 
me by the exuberant specimens of genuine though young poetry 
that were laid before me, and the promise of which was seconded 
by the fine fervid countenance of the writer.' (Lord Byron and 
Some of His Contemporaries, second edition, i. 409-10.) 

21. Poems, by John Keats. London: Printed for C. & J. Oilier, 
3, Welbeck Street, Cavendish Square. 1817. 

Page Forty-four 

22. Brown refers to Hunt's description of Keats: 'If there was 
any faulty expression, it was in the mouth, which was not 
without something of a character of pugnacity.' (Op. cit. i. 
407.) Milnes followed Hunt's description of Keats instead of 
Brown's (p. 12). 



Page Forty-five 

23. Brown made no attempt to summarize in chronological order 
Keats's travelling during the writing of Endymion. Miss Lowell 
listed his excursions of 1817 as follows: on April 14 he left 
London for Southampton (i. 295) ; on the 15th he went to New- 
port, Isle of Wight, and took lodgings at near-by Carisbrooke 
(i. 301). Here he probably began Endymion. After about a week, 
he went to Margate, where Tom joined him (i. 306), to stay 
until May 16, when the brothers left for Canterbury (i. 316). 
Keats seems to have gone alone to Bo Peep, near Hastings, before 
he returned to Hampstead early in June (i. 462-4). Probably 
on September 2 or 3, he and Bailey went to Oxford (i. 485), and 
on October 2, according to evidence which no longer exists, 
they visited Stratford-on-Avon (i. 510; see also Letters, pp. 
175-6 n.). Keats returned to Hampstead from Oxford on 
October 5 (i. 511). He remained until November 20, when he 
went to Burford Bridge, at the foot of Box Hill (i. 522), finishing 
Endymion there on November 28 (i. 530). We do not know the 
date of his return to Hampstead, but it was no later than 
December 15 (i. 537). Probably on or about March 1, 1818, he 
left to join Tom in Teignmouth (i. 597), where he finished his 
work on Endymion and saw it through the press. By the middle 
of May, John and Tom returned to Hampstead (i. 631). 

24. Milnes (p. 53) published this poem, with Keats's letter to 
Bailey of January 23, 1818, in which it was included. The poem 
is not among the twelve which Brown copied at the end of his 

25. Brown's statement is incorrect. As Miss Lowell wrote of 
Blacktvood's at this time, it 'was in its pre-Lockhart, pre-Wilson, 
stage, being merely, at the moment, an unsuccessful bantling 
struggling for existence. Its days of influence were a half a year 
away', (i. 273.) Of the six contemporary reviews of Poems 
(1817), four were distinctly favourable and two were not un- 
friendly. (G. L. Marsh and N. I. White, 'Keats and the Periodi- 
cals of His Time', Modern Philology, xxxii, August 1934, 

Brown also exaggerated the extent of Blacktvood's attacks on 
Keats. Hunt was the chief victim of the amazingly violent 
attacks, signed *Z% on 'The Cockney School of Poetry'. The 
fourth of this series of essays (Blackwootfs Magazine, iii, August 
1818, 519-24) flays Endymion, with subordinate detraction of 


Keats's first volume, but in the other five essays of the series 
the contemptuous allusions to Keats were only incidental. 

26. The leading reviews of the period were strongly political 
organs. The Edinburgh Review was Whig, The Quarterly Review 
and Blacfavood's Magazine were Tory. 

27. Hunt said that the libel for which he was imprisoned 'origin- 
ated in my sympathy with the sufferings of the people of Ire- 
land', and was precipitated 'by my indignation at the Regent's 
breaking his promises to the Irish'* (E. Blunden, Leigh Hunt, 
1930, p. 69 n.) The libellous article, 'Princely Qualities', was 
published in The Examiner, March 22, 1812, but numerous 
delays postponed the imprisonment of Leigh and John Hunt 
until February 3, 1813. They were released on February 2, 

Page Forty-sice 

28. Blackwood's Magazine did not thus describe Keats in the 
essays * On the Cockney School of Poetry '. The reviewer (prob- 
ably John Wilson) of Hunt's Literary Pocket-Book wrote of 
Keats in the manner to which Brown so justly objected; after 
quoting Keats's sonnets, 'The Human Seasons' and 'To Ailsa 
Rock* , the reviewer wrote : ' But who but himself could form such 
portentous folly as in the second ? Mister John Keates standing 
on the sea-shore at Dunbar, without a neckcloth, according to 
custom of Cockaigne, and cross-questioning the Craig of Ailsa 1 
. . . He is at present a very amiable, silly, lisping, and prag- 
matical young gentleman but we hope to cure him of all 
that and should have much pleasure in introducing him to 
our readers in a year or two speaking the language of this 
country, counting his fingers correctly, and condescending to a 
neckcloth.' (Blacfavood*s Magazine, vi, December 1819, 239-40.) 

29. The 'Notices' of Blackwooffs Magazine for March 1818 com- 
inenting on articles sent to the editor. Brown recalled the 
following reference from these 'Notices' to Hazlitt: 

4 Of pimpled Hazhtt's coxcomb lectures writing, 
Our friend with moderate pleasure we peruse.* 
Although the editors of Blackt&ood wished to insult Hazlitt, the 
author of the reviews on his 'Lectures on English Poetry', Peter 
George Patmore, gave Hazlitt serious and favourable criticism. 
In his concluding review, he wrote: 'By the bye, what can our 
Editor's facetious friend mean by "pimpled Hazlitt"? If he 


knows that gentleman's person, he cannot intend the epithet to 
apply to that; and how * k pimpled" may be interpreted with 
reference to mind, we are not able to divine.' (Blackwood's 
Magazine, iii, April 1818, 75.) The epithet was applied to Hazhtt 
in Blackwootfs for August 1818 (iii. 599), hi a review of The Works 
of Charles Lamb, and in September 1820 (vii. 675), in William 
Maginn's 'The Building of the Palace of the Lamp, from the 
Danish of Oehlensehlaeger'. 

30. Hazlitt, however, wrote a vigorous 'Reply to Z ', answering all 
the impudent charges of 'Hazlitt Cross-Questioned' in Black- 
wood's for August 1818 (iii. 550-2), and including the following 
remark on his complexion: 'Finally, Sir, you call me as a nick- 
name "pimpled Hazlitt". And I am not pimpled, but remark- 
ably pale and sallow.' (A Reply to Z, 1923, p. 38.) Hazhtt 
planned to publish his 'Reply to Z' in Constable's Edinburgh 
Magazine, the rival of Blackwood's, but instead he instituted 
successful proceedings against the libellous magazine. (The Com- 
plete Works of William Hazhtt, ed. P. P. Howe, 1932, ix. 249.) 
Part of Hazhtt's reply was published in 'Hazlitt v. Blackwood's 
Magazine', by Charles Whibley, in Blackwood's Magazine^ cciv 
(September, 1918), 388-98, and it was first published completely 
by The First Edition Club of London in 1923, with an introduc- 
tion by Mr. Whibley. 

31. John Gibson Lockhart, only twenty-three at the time of 
Z's essays, in 1818, married Sir Walter Scott's daughter in 

32. Brown accurately described the completely uncritical spite- 
fulness of The Quarterlies review of Endymion, which used the 
following method of attack: 

4 It is not that Mr. Keats, (if that be his real name, for we 
almost doubt that any man in his senses would put his real name 
to such a rhapsody,) it is not, we say, that the author has not 
powers of language, rays of fancy, and gleams of genius he has 
all these ; but he is unhappily a disciple of the new school of 
what has been somewhere called Cockney poetry ; which may be 
defined to consist of the most incongruous ideas in the most 
uncouth language. . . . 

'This author [Keats] is a copyist of Mr. Hunt ; but he is more 
unintelligible, almost as rugged, twice as diffuse, and ten times 
more tiresome and absurd than his prototype. . . . 

'But enough of Mr. Leigh Hunt and his simple neophyte. 


If any one should be bold enough to purchase this "Poetic 
Romance", and so much more patient, than ourselves, as to get 
beyond the first book, and so much more fortunate as to find 
a meaning, we entreat him to make us acquainted with his 
success ; we shall then return to the task which we now abandon 
in despair, and endeavour to make all due amends to Mr. Keats 
and to our readers.' (The Quarterly Review, six, April 1818, 

33. William Gifford was the editor of The Quarterly. John Wilson 
Croker wrote the review of Endymion. 

Page Forty-seven 

34. 'In order to understand Shelley's allusion, I looked up the 
Quarterly Review from April 1817 to April 1828, and have ascer- 
tained as follows. (1) The Quarterly of April 1817 contains a 
notice of Paris in 181 5, a Poem. The author was the Rev. George 
Croly, but the title page does not give his name. ... (2) Woman 
is a poem by the Mr. Barrett whom Shelley names, termed on 
the title-page "the Author of The Heroine". It was noticed in 
the Quarterly for April 1818, the very same number which con- 
tained the sneering critique ofEndymion. ... (3) A Syrian Tale. 
Of this book I have failed to find any trace in the Quarterly 
Review 9 or in the Catalogue of the British Museum. (4) Mrs. 
Lefanu. Neither can I trace this lady in the Quarterly. Mrs, 
Alicia Lefanu, who is stated to have been a sister of Richard 
Brinsley Sheridan, and also her daughter, Miss Alicia Lefanu, 
published books during the lifetime of Shelley . (5) Mr. John 
Howard Payne was author of Brutus^ or the Fall of Tarquin, an 
Historical Tragedy, criticized in the Quarterly for April 1820. I 
cannot understand why Shelley should have supposed this 
criticism to be laudatory: it is in fact unmixed censure.' (P. B. 
Shelley, Adonais, ed. W. M. Rossetti and A. O. Prickard, Oxford, 
1903, pp. 98-100.) 

35. Francis Jeffrey, the editor of The Edinburgh Review. 

36. Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems, by 
John Keats, author of Endymion. London: Printed for Taylor 
and Hessey, Fleet-Street. 1820. 

37. By this time Keats was fatally ill with tuberculosis. 

Page Forty-eight 

38. The Edinburgh Review, xxxiv (August 1820), 205, 


39. The Edinburgh Review* xxxiv. 203. 

40. 'Severn was asked to join the party, and Haslam also; but 
neither was able to go.' (Sharp, pp. 35-6.) 

41. Keats, his brother George and his bride, Georgiana Wylie, and 
Brown arrived in Liverpool June 23, 1818. 

42. Keats and Brown reached Lancaster the following day, 
June 24. On June 25 they began their walk. 

Page Forty-nine 

43. Keats described the view thus to his brother George, in his 
letter of June 26, 1818: 'We have passed . . * from Kendal to 
Bownesfs] on turning down to which place there burst upon us 
the most beautiful and rich view of Winander mere and the 
surrounding Mountains/ (Letters, p. 157.) 

44. June 27. 

45. Lord Brougham was the Whig candidate running against the 
Tory Lord Lowther, for whom Wordsworth was electioneering, 
to represent Westmorland in Parliament. 

46. The manuscript is slightly torn at this point. 

47. July 1. 

Page Fifty 

48. Keats sent the poem on Meg Merrilies to his sister, Fanny, in 
his letter of July 2-4, 1818. (Letters, pp. 165-6.) 

49. July 7 and 8. Of their brief excursion in Ireland, Brown wrote 
thus to Henry Snook on August 7, 1818: 'It was our intention 
to see the Giant's Causeway in Ireland and we took the packet 
from Port Patrick to Donaghadee, but did not proceed further 
than Belfast and returned back again, for the Irish people did 
not please us, and the expense was enormous.' (Keats, The 
Poetical Works and Other Writings, ed. Harry Buxton Forman, 
1883, iii. 356.) 

50. Keats and Brown saw Ailsa Craig, which is approximately 
eleven hundred feet high, on July 9. Keats described it thus 
to his brother Tom on July 10, and copied his sonnet 'To Ailsa 
Rock* into the letter : ' In a little time I descried in the Sea Ailsa 
Rock 940 feet hight it was 15 Miles distant and seemed close 
upon us The effect of ailsa with the peculiar perspective of 
the Sea in connection with the ground we stood on, and the 


misty rain then falling gave me a complete Idea of a deluge. 
Ailsa struck me very suddenly reaUy I was a little alarmed.' 
(Letters, p. 181.) 

Mr. Nelson S. Bushnell has carefully retraced the walking 
tour of Keats and Brown, checking each place mentioned by 
the walkers in their letters and in Brown's account of part of 
this tour, published as 'Walks in the North* in the Plymouth 
and Devonport Weekly Journal of October 22, 1840. In comment- 
ing on the specific details concerning Ailsa Craig given by both 
Keats and Brown, Mr. Bushnell suggests that the walkers prob- 
ably consulted Traveller's Guide through Scotland, sixth edition, 
Edinburgh and London, 1814, which describes Ailsa as follows : 
*No object of the scenery of this coast is more striking than the 
stupendous rock of Ailsa, . . . which rises almost perpendicular 
to the height of 940 feet. ... Its shape is somewhat conical, and 
it is on all sides extremely precipitous. . . . This rock is inhabited 
by immense flocks of birds.' (N, S. Bushnell, A Walk after John 
Keats, New York, 1936, p. 285.) 

Mr. Bushnell (p. 183) comments on the phonetic spelling used 
by Keats and Brown for Scottish place names, such as ' Cantire' 
for 'Kintyre'. 

51. July 11. 

52. Burns, 'Tarn o' Shanter', lines 15-16. 

Page Fifty-one 

53. Keats wrote to Bailey, July 18-22, 1818: *I had determined 
to write a Sonnet m the Cottage [of Burns], I did but lauk it 
was so wretched I destroyed it.* (Letters, p. 194.) Brown, how- 
ever, had copied the poem before Keats destroyed it. On 
July 13, in writing to Reynolds and to Tom, Keats had men- 
tioned the sonnet but had refused to transcribe it. (Letters, pp. 
177 and 183.) 

54. July 24. 

55. July 26. 

56. August 2. 

Page Fifty-two 

57. It has been argued that Keats embarked for London at Inver- 
ness on a ship calling there after sailing from Cromarty, some 
twenty miles to the north-east, for he wrote to George and 
Georgiana Keats, 'I came by ship from Inverness and was nine 

( 104 ) 

days at Sea' (Letters, p. 231), and to his sister Fanny, on August 
18, 1818, b l did not intend to have returned to London so soon 
but have a bad sore throat from a cold I caught in the island of 
Mull: therefore I thought it best to get home as soon as possible 
and went on board the Smack from Cromarty. We had a nine 
days passage and were landed at London Bridge yesterday' 
(Letters, pp. 212-13). The date of Keats's departure from Scot- 
lAd, therefore, was August 8. 

Brown's letters also pointed to Inverness instead of Cromarty 
as the port of departure. Writing to Charles Wentworth Dilke, 
senior, of Chichester, from Inverness on August 7, 1818, he said, 
4 1 am waiting here to see him [Keats] off in the Smack for 
London' (Letters, p. 211). At the same time, he also wrote to 
Henry Snook, 'Mr. Keats will leave me here' (Keats, The 
Poetical Works and Other Writings, ed. Harry Buxton Forman, 
1883, iii. 359). 

Mr. Nelson S. Bushnell, however, shows that the only ship 
for London from the general port district of Inverness (which 
included Cromarty) during the week in question was the smack 
George, sailing from Cromarty on August 8 and not calling at 
Inverness. Keats obviously was on board. (A Walk after John 
Keats, pp. 297-9.) 

58. We cannot determine Brown's route after Keats departed. 
To Mr. Dilke, senior, he wrote, 'I shall have to travel thro* 
Perthshire and all the Counties round in solitude', and to Henry 
Snook he stated his plans in terms of distance: 'I have gone 
642 miles, and shall have twice as much more to accomplish if 
I can.' (See note 57.) He concluded this letter by giving an 
Edinburgh address, which, we may infer from the time allowed 
for letters to reach their destinations, he planned to reach about 
September 1. From the time of Keats's departure to this date, 
Brown could scarcely have walked more than five hundred 

At some time during his walking trips, Brown visited Loch 
Carron and Loch Tay, both of which lay within the range of this 
distance, but there is no evidence that he went there in 1818, 
for he spent the 'best months in three summers' in what he 
termed the British mountains and walked 'as many thousand 
miles', describing his tours in the New Monthly Magazine ('On 
the Superstitions of Highlanders and Londoners', 1821, iii. 566, 
and 'Mountain Scenery', 1822, iv. 247). We may safely assume 
that by the time he reached Edinburgh he was returning to 


London, and that his southern route took him through Carlisle. 
(See note 103.) 

59. To his paraphrase of Brown's statement, Milnes added this 
footnote: 'I have stated this on the authority of Mr. Brown. 
Mr. Robert Blackwood, son of the Mr. Blackwood of that time, 
thinks the circumstance very improbable, and that Mr. Brown 
must have been mistaken or misinformed. It does, however, 
appear that in the July of 1818 Mr. Bailey met, at Bishop 
Gleig's in Scotland, a leading contributor to "Blackwood's 
Magazine", with whom he had much conversation respecting 
Keats, especially about his relations with Leigh Hunt, and Mr. 
Bailey thought his confidence had been abused.' (The Life and 
Letters of John Keats, revised edition, 1867, p. 164.) 

Milnes derived his information concerning Bailey from a long 
letter, really a memoir of Keats, which Bailey sent him after 
receiving a copy of Milnes's book. This unpublished letter 
(collection of Lord Crewe) is dated Rutnapoora, Ceylon, May 7, 
1849. In a short supplementary letter, dated Colombo, May 11, 
1849, Bailey stated that the 'leading contributor to "Black- 
wood's Magazine " * who had abused his confidence was Lockhart, 
Bailey may have been the 'third party' whom Brown men- 
tioned, as he had been introduced to Blackwood. He referred 
to this meeting in a letter to John Taylor from Carlisle of Octo- 
ber 5, 1818, now among the Woodhouse papers at the Morgan 
Library. It is also possible that Oilier, Keats's first publisher, 
was the 'third party'. In commenting on Milnes's account of 
Blackwood? s attack on Keats, Dilke wrote: 'At the time Keats 
& others believed thus that such particulars had been furnished 
by "the enlightened publisher" Pref XI who "out of sheer 
admiration" published Keats' first volume P 21 with whom 
Keats quarreled P 25 with whom he would not be reconciled 
P 99 Mr. Oilier!' (Dilke's copy of Milnes's Keats, L 198. 
Morgan Library.) 

60. This is the poem, entitled 'Lines Written in the Highlands after 
a Visit to Burns's Country', which Keats sent, in place of the 
'Sonnet Written in the Cottage where Burns was Born' , in his letter 
to Bailey begun at Inverary, July 18, 1818. (Letters, pp. 195-7.) 

61. Mrs. Dilke, writing to her father-in-law, on August 16, 1818, 
tells the story: 'John Keats' brother is extremely ill, and 
the doctor begged that his brother might be sent for. Dilke 
accordingly wrote off to him, which was a very unpleasant task* 


However, from the journal received from Brown last Friday, 
he says Keats has been so long ill with his sore throat, that he is 
obliged to give up. I am rather glad of it, as he will not re- 
ceive the letter, which might have frightened him very much, 
as he is extremely fond of his brother. How poor Brown will 
get on alone I know not, as he loses a cheerful, good-tempered, 
clever companion.' (C. W. Dilke, The Papers of a Critic, London, 

Page Fifty-three 

62. The only definite clue to the date of Brown's return from 
Scotland in 1818 is contained in the records of the tenants of 
Wentworth Place, now in the Keats Museum. They list Mrs. 
Brawne's tenancy as June-September, 1818, and Brown's return 
to his side of the house in September. However, if Brown carried 
out his intention of walking twice 642 miles after Keats's de- 
parture (see note 58), he must have spent most of September 
completing this trip. The following year he did not return to 
Hampstead until the middle of October (Letters, p. 396), which 
seems to be a more consistent date with the mileage he had 
planned for the 1818 trip. That this top had been planned to 
last two months longer than Keats had been able to endure it 
is confirmed by his letter to George and Georgiana Keats of 
October 1818. (Letters, p. 229.) Keats's first mention of Brown 
in Hampstead is in the portion of this letter written between 
October 16 and October 21. (Letters, p. 238.) 

63. December 1, 1818. 

64. Keats and Tom had lodgings at the house of Bentley, the 
Hampstead postman, in Well Walk. 

65. Apparently Keats began 'Hyperion' in the autumn of 1818, but 
he had difficulty in making progress with it. In a letter to his 
brother George, he wrote on December 18, 1818: 'I think you 
knew before you left England that my next subject would be 
"the fall of Hyperion ". I went on a little with it last night but 
it will take some time to get into the vein again,' (Letters 9 
p. 253.) 

66. Brown had gone to Chichester to spend a few days with 
Dilke's father. Keats joined Mm there about the middle of 
January 1819. (Lowell, ii. 151.) From Chichester they went 
to Bedhampton to visit Mrs. Snook, Dilke's sister. They prob- 
ably returned to Hampstead about February 6. (Ibid. ii. 179.) 


Page Fifty-four 

67. Concerning this information Dilke wrote in his copy of Milnes's 
Keats (i. 245): 'We do not usually thrust waste paper behind 
books But this is the tone in which the work was written. 
Brown had slowly and doubtingly grown into a high admira- 
tion of Keats, and began therefore to collect every scrap of his 

68. Keats and his friend James Rice left London for the Isle of 
Wight on June 27, 1819. (Lowell, ii. 268.) Brown arrived in 
Shanklin some time during the week of July 19, and Rice left 
before July 25. (Ibid. ii. 278.) On August 12 Brown and Keats 
went to Winchester. (Ibid. ii. 287.) 

Page Fifty-five 

69. Brown had an entree to Drury Lane. It was here that his 
comic opera, Narensky, or The Road to Yaroslaf, had been per- 
formed in 1814. The production had been a financial success, 
gaining Brown 300 and free admission to the theatre for life. 
(Letters, p. xlix.) 

70. Apparently always anxious to detract from Brown's kind- 
nesses to Keats, Dilke wrote the following note on 'Otho the 
Great' in his copy of Milnes's Keats (i, p. x) : * He [Brown] furnished 
the plots of the tragedy, Otho, on condition that he should have 
half profits. There was no irony in this but why trick him out 
in masquerade costume as a generous protector of the man or 
talk of his affectionate care of the MSS.' 

The profit-sharing agreement of the enterprise, however, 
seems to be an example of Keats's high integrity rather than 
Brown's pettiness. Brown probably found it difficult to per- 
suade Keats to work with him, even on this basis, as is shown 
in the passage from a letter he wrote to Milnes on March 29, 
1841, quoted on p. 35. 

Page Fifty-six 

71 . The fragment of 'King Stephen' consists of four scenes and 193 

72. Miss Lowell dates 'Lamia' July-August 1819 (ii. 534). Colvin, 
however, states that Keats began it in June 1819 (p. 358). 
Brown, whose information concerning Keats during the period 


they lived together is remarkably accurate, proves that Colvin 
is correct, for 'Lamia' must have been begun before the Isle of 
Wight sojourn (that is, before the middle of June) when Keats 
and Brown separated, or Brown would have had no knowledge, 
in August, that it b had been on hand for some months'. 

73. Major Charles Brown (frequently called 'Carlino'), Brown's 
son, states that when Brown left Keats alone in Winchester at 
this time he went to Ireland, where he married a peasant, who * 
is supposed to have been the servant at Wentworth Place. 
Major Brown, in an unpublished memoir of his father, now in 
the Keats Museum, wrote: 'In August [September] 1819, when 
Brown left Keats at Winchester, he went over to Ireland, and 
married Abigail Donohoo, a handsome woman of the peasant 
class ; the marriage was performed by a Catholic priest, and was 
therefore illegal, but as she was a bigoted Catholic, and Irish, she 
was satisfied with the blessing of the priest, and cared not for 
its legality.' 

This explanation, undoubtedly the one Brown made to his 
son, coupled with the fact that during the next weeks two letters 
from Keats to Brown miscarried, has been the basis for accusing 
Brown of deceiving Keats as to his whereabouts during this 
time. But the following extract from Brown's letter to Keats 
of December 21, 1820, proves that Keats was in no ignorance of 
Brown's relationship with 'Abby' and that no deception was 
at any time necessary: 'I must tell you Abby is living with me 
again, but not in the same capacity, she keeps to her own bed, 
& I keep myself continent. Any more nonsense of the former 
kind would put me in an awkward predicament with her. One 
child is very well.' (Letters, p. 529.) 

The trip to Ireland, therefore, was an invention which Brown 
made for 6 Carlino'. Keats's statement in a letter written 
September 5, 1819, presents the facts: 'Brown is going to 
Chi[che]ster and Bedhampton avisiting I shall be alone here for 
three weeks.' (Letters, p. 382.) Keats's explanation of the mis- 
carriage of the letters is thus equally correct: 'Brown who was 
at Bedhampton, went thence to Chichester, and I still directing 
my letters Bedhampton there arose a misunderstandpng]. . . . 
However yesterday [September 23] Brown had four letters from 
me all in a Lump.' (Letters, p. 425.) The practical joke, which 
Keats described in his letter to George of September 25, shows 
that Brown was in Chichester and Bedhampton during these 
three weeks. (Letters, p. 428.) 


Page Fifty-seven 

74. As Mr. M. B. Forman notes (Letters, p, 395), the deleted name 
is obviously Reynolds. On September 22, 1819, Keats wrote to 
Dilke: 'If Reynolds had not taken to the law, would he not 
be earning something?' (Letters, p. 393.) Only one holograph 
letter from Keats to Brown is extant, that of September 28, 
1820, in the Harvard College Library. All other letters from 
Keats to Brown are derived from Milnes or from Brown's 
memoir. Inconsequential variants are not noted. 

75. Milnes reads 'purpose' for 'propose' (p. 186). 

76. ; Otho the Great'. 

Page Fifty-eight 

77. Milnes omits this sentence and the following one. They are 
present, however, in the editions of Keats's letters edited by 
H. Buxton Forman (1901 edition, v. 98) and by M. B. Forman 
(p. 396). Mr. H. Buxton Forman evidently supplied these sen- 
tences from the memoir. Neither editor suggests whose name 
Brown deleted; it was probably Fanny Brawne's. Although 
Keats was engaged to her at this time, he had written her only 
once since August 16, when, during a short visit from Win- 
chester to London, he refused to go to Hampstead to see her, 
writing: 'I love you too much to venture to Hampstead, I feel 
it is not paying a visit, but venturing into a fire.' (Letters* p. 
383.) When he wrote to Brown, Keats anticipated a Spartan 
existence devoted almost solely to earning, and he felt that he 
could not carry out this determination if he lived with Brown, 
next door to his fiancee. 

78. '"The cash," observes Dilke, "borrowed from Taylor 30 a 
fortnight before on the 5th."* (Letters, p. 396, n.) Dilke's 
note is found in his annotated copy of Milnes's Keats, ii. 29. 

79. It was through Hazlitt that Reynolds became a contributor 
to the Edinburgh Review. (W. C. Hazlitt, Four Generations of a 
Literary Family, 1897, i. 133.) According to Keats, Constable, 
the publisher of the Edinburgh Review, 'offered Reynolds ten 
guineas a sheet to write for his Magazine'. (Letters, p. 90.) 

Page Fifty-nine 

80. Mr. M. B. Forman suggests Bedhampton, with a query. 
(Letters, p. 396.) The suggestion is probably correct, for Keats 


was addressing Brown at Bedhampton (see note 73), although 
Keats may have written Chichester. 

81. The date of Brown's return to Hampstead in the autumn de- 
pended upon the terms of his summer tenant's lease. Nathan 
Benjamin had rented Brown's side of Wentworth Place until 
the middle of October 1819. (Letters, p. 400.) 

82. Psalm Iviii. 4. 

83. Keats referred to this letter when he wrote to George on 
September 24, 1819, saying: 'Brown complained very much in 
his Letter to me of yesterday of the great alteration the Dis- 
position of Dilke has undergone. He thinks of nothing hut 
[Godwin's] " Political Justice " and his Boy.' (Letters, pp. 425-6.) 

Page Sixty 

84. i.e* the letter which Brown quoted immediately before this one* 

85. The name is obviously Dilke, to whom Keats wrote on Sep- 
tember 22. Milnes left the name blank (p. 187), but H. Buxton 
Forman (v. 99) and M. B, Fonnan (p. 397) printed Dilke without 
indication of Brown's deletion. 

86. Brown's return to Winchester is not definitely indicated, but 
Keats's remark to Dilke in his letter of October 1, 'Brown bids 
me remind you not to send the Examiners after the third' 
(Letters, p. 431), sounds more like a spoken than a written 
message. However it may be interpreted, Brown had returned 
by October 3, for on that date he added a note to Keats's letter 
to Haydon. (Letters, p. 434.) 

87. Note 86 clearly indicates that Keats and Brown expected to 
be in Hampstead in time to receive their Sunday Examiner of 
October 10. Keats's request to Dilke to find him a room by 
'next Friday', i.e. October 8 (Letters, p. 431), probably shows 
that October 8 was the date of their return. 

88. Brown is in error here. Keats wrote four dramatic criticisms 
for The Champion. The first, entitled 'On Edmund Kean as a 
Shakespearian Actor', appeared on December 21, 1817, and 
criticized Kean's performance as Richard III and as Luke in 
a play called Riches, adapted from Massinger's The City Madam. 
The second, a criticism of Kean in Richard Duke of York, com- 
piled from the three parts of Shakespeare's Henry VI, was 
published December 28, 1817. The last two both appeared in 
The Champion for January 4, 1818: c On "Retribution, or The 


Chieftain's Daughter,'" with Macready, and 'On "Don Gio- 
vanni", a Pantomime, 9 the Christinas pantomime at Drury 
Lane Theatre. 

Page Sioety-one 

89. Fanny Brawne was living at this time with her mother, her 
sister Margaret, and her brother Sam in Dilke's half of Went- 
worth Place, Hampstead. 

90. 'It would seem to have been at No. 25 College Street that 
Dilke obtained for Keats the rooms which the poet asked hi 
to find. . . . How long Keats remained in those rooms I have 
been unable to determine, to a day; but in [the] letter . . . 
headed "Wentworth Place", and postmarked the 16th of 
October 1819 . . . , he speaks of having "returned to Hampstead '% 
after lodging "two or three days ... in the neighbourhood of 
Mrs. Dilke". In [his letter to Fanny Brawne of October 19, 
1819] he writes from Great Smith Street (the address of the 
Dilkes) of his purpose to live at Hampstead. I suppose the 
"three days dream" there referred to was a visit to Mrs. 
Brawne's house, from which he proceeded to Mrs. Dilke's 
there to come to a final resolution of living at Hampstead.' 
(Letters, pp. 434-5, n.) 

91. Dilke was also aware of Keats's state of mind at this time, for 
which he blamed Fanny Brawne. The unpublished draft of a 
letter from Dilke to Milnes, headed 'Mimes M. P. Bedhampton. 
June 2% contains this sentence: 'His [Keats's] mind was then 
all in a ferment he was in love & saw the impossibility of main- 
taining a wife, and as I suspect, for the first time the consequent 
impossibility of maintaining himself.' (Keats Museum.) 

Page Sixty-two 

92. Brown's definite statement that 'The Fall of Hyperion, a 
Vision' was remodelled from 'Hyperion* , and the internal evidence 
noted by Sir Sidney Colvin (in the London Times Literary 
Supplement, March 3, 1921, p. 143} led to the abandonment of 
Milnes's theory, expressed in his 1867 edition, that 'The Fall of 
Hyperion* was the first draft. Professor de Selincourt accepts 
Brown's evidence (The Poems of John Keats, ed. E. de Selincourt, 
London, 1926, fifth edition, pp. 515-19). Miss Lowell (ii. 389-46) 
was unwilling to accept the evidence that 'The Fall of Hyperion* 
was revised from 'Hyperion' . She argued that Keats worked first 


on 'The Fall', then on 'Hyperion', and, after abandoning it and 
tinder the influence of Dante, once more on 'The Fall'. Miss 
Lowell's theory, however, has not been widely adopted, and 
most scholars accept Brown's statement as correct. 

93. Brown probably refers here to the financial difficulties of 
George Keats, whom he distrusted. George needed further 
capital to establish himself in Kentucky, but the proceedings 
in Chancery made it very difficult for him to obtain full settle- 
ment of his inherited property. Keats undertook the trouble- 
some negotiations for him, and, as Brown says, wrote with 
little success or pleasure during the depression of his financial 
labours. (See his letter to George of November 19, 1819, Letters, 
p. 442.) During November he went frequently to town on 
George's business (Letters, p. 439), but his letter to Taylor of 
November 17 (Letters, pp. 439-40) shows that Brown exaggerated 
his unhappy inertia of this period. 

Page Sixty-three 

94. This, of course, is a veiled reference to Fanny Brawne. Brown 
makes no mention whatsoever of Keats's engagement to her 
nor to the Brawne family. 

95. Brown believed that George Keats borrowed from his brother 
700 in stock, 425 in cash, and about 175 to which John was 
entitled from the estate of Tom Keats. (Unpublished letter from 
Brown to Dilke, January 20, 1830, in the Brewer Bequest, Keats 
Museum.) These loans, according to Brown, exhausted most of 
Keats's capital. 

Page Sixty-four 

96. Miss Lowell (ii. 389) dates the event on February 3, 1820. Her 
evidence is the letter from Keats to Fanny Brawne of February 4 
(Letters, p. 457), written while he was ill. The letter immediately 
before this, to Georgiana Keats, ending January 28, showed 
no evidences of illness. Brown, therefore, placed Keats's first 
haemorrhage too early. 

Letters from Brown corroborate Miss Lowell's date. A note 
of Dilke in his copy of Milnes's IAfe, Letters, and Literary Re- 
mains of John Keats (ii. 53) states : ' In Brown's letter at Belmont 
Castle I find "Hampstead, 11 Feb. 1820. Mr. Keats fell very 
ill yesterday week [i.e. February 3]: he is somewhat better, but 
I am in a very anxious state about him." ' From the same source 


we find (ii. 59) : ' 24 Mar, 1820, Brown's letter at Belmont Castle 
"I have been nurse night and day to Mr. Keats for seven 
weeks.'" Seven weeks would also place the date exactly at 
February 3. 

Page Sixty-five 

97. Even in November 1820, after Keats had reached Rome, his 
illness was not definitely diagnosed as pulmonary. Dr. Clark, 
who attended him in Rome, wrote to a friend on November 27, 
1820: "The chief part of his [Keats's] disease, as far as I can yet 
see seems seated in his Stomach. I have some suspicion of 
disease of the heart and it may be of the lungs.* (Lowell, ii. 502.) 
And yet, three months later, Severn stated that the autopsy on 
Keats showed that 'the lungs were completely gone, the doctors 
could not conceive how he had lived in the last two months*. 
(Sharp, p. 94.) 

98. Dr. Robert Bree was Keats's physician during the spring of 
1820. (Lowell, ii. 401.) An unpublished letter from Brown to 
Dilke, dated May 2, 1826, contains a copy of the accounts 
between Brown and Keats of 1820, and shows that Dr. Bree 
was paid four guineas for his professional services in March. 
(Brewer Bequest, Keats Museum.) 

99. Miss Lowell (ii. 411) says that Keats moved to 2 Wesleyan 
Place, Kentish Town, on Brown's departure. The account, 
referred to in note 98, shows that Brown paid one guinea on 
May 4 as 6 one week's rent in advance at Kentish Town*. 

Page Sixty-six 

100. 'The Cap and Bells'. 

101. * Dilke V is a reasonable conjecture for the deletion, for 
Brown corresponded with Dilke more regularly than with other 
members of the Keats circle. 

Page Sixty-seven 

102. Keats reported to his sister on June 23, 1820, that he had 
received a letter from George. (Letters, p. 496.) The letter to 
Brown, therefore, is of an earlier date. 

103. Brown made no practice of supplying a x for each letter of 
the names he omitted. The fact, therefore, that 'Bailey' exactly 
fits this space does not argue that Keats wrote 'Bailey* here. 



In 1819 he had moved from Carlisle and become Vicar of Dal- 
ington, Northamptonshire. (Letters, p. xlvi.) Brown had visited 
Bailey in Carlisle in 1818, after Keats had returned to England 
(unpublished letter, collection of Lord Crewe, Bailey to Milnes, 
May 7, 1849), and he may have planned to stop in Dallington to 
see him during his journey in 1820. But Keats's friendship for 
Bailey seems to have cooled by this time, since the last extant 
letter from Keats to Bailey is dated August 14, 1819. 

104. No explanation can be offered of Keats's bad behaviour. It 
may, however, concern the disapproval which Keats felt for 
Bailey's marriage to Hamilton Gleig after his courtship of 
Mariane Reynolds. (See Letters, pp. 304-5 and 368 n.) 

105. Milnes (p. 205) reads 'could', as does Letters (p. 492). 

106. Milnes and Letters read * different*. 

107. Mr. M. B. Forman (p. 493 n.) suggests that this may have 
been Thomas Monkhouse, as Crabb Robinson recorded in his 
diary for June 21, 1820, that he spent that evening at Monk- 
house's with Lamb, Wordsworth, and TaJfourd. 

Page Sixty-eight 

108. Mr. M. B. Forman (p. 493 n.) identifies the exhibition as that 
of the British Institution. He also identifies the portraits which 
Keats mentioned. 

109. 'Lucy Vaughan Lloyd* was the pseudonym under which 
Keats planned to issue 'The Cap and Bells'. 

Page Siajty-nine 

110. Brown included a visit to the Hebrides on his long walking 
tour in Scotland. He was in Skye about July 1, as Keats men- 
tioned receiving a letter from hmi 'dated Dunvegan Castle, 
Island of Skye' when he wrote to his sister on July 5, 1820. 
(Letters, p. 498.) 

111. Mr. M. B. Forman (p. 514) conjecturally dated this letter 
about August 20, since Milnes (p. 206) did not give Brown's 
date. Brown's evidence is based on the document itself and 
should be accepted, even though Keats was frequently inaccu- 
rate concerning dates. If this letter to Brown was written on 
August 14, Keats's letter to his sister postmarked August 14 
(Letters, p. 504) must have been written a day or two earlier, for 
to his sister Keats wrote: * Yesterday I received an invitation 


from M r Shelley ... to spend the Winter with him.* To Brown, 
Keats wrote: 'Last week I received a letter from Shelley . . . 
asking me to spend the winter with him.' Shelley's letter 
(Letters, pp. 505-6) is dated Pisa, July 27, 1820. The Italian 
postmark is simply 'Livorno' and the English postmark is 
' rpo 10 AU 1 820 ' . This means that the letter arrived in England on 
August 10 and should have reached Keats within a day or two. 

112. Keats doubtless confided in Brown that he was engaged to 
Fanny Brawne. The secret, which Brown refers to so mysteri- 
ously, became known to other members of the Keats circle after 
he went to Italy. One of Reynolds's sisters wrote to Mrs. Dilke : 
*I hear that Keats is going to Rome, which must please all his 
friends on every account. I sincerely hope it will benefit his 
health, poor fellow. His mind and spirits must be bettered by 
it ; and absence may probably weaken, if not break off, a con- 
nexion that has been a most unhappy one for him.* (C. W. 
Dilke, The Papers of a Critic, 1875, i. 11.) 

In moments of anguish during the summer of 1820 Keats 
charged his fiancee with 'the habit of flirting with Brown* 
(Letters, p. 496) and showed the bitterest jealousy of his friend. 
In a letter, probably of August 1820, he wrote to Fanny Brawne : 
'I see nothing but thorns for the future wherever I may be 
next winter in Italy or nowhere Brown will be living near you 
with his indecencies I see no prospect of any rest.' (Letters, 
p. 503.) Keats's illness and despondency, rather than any act 
of Brown and Fanny, undoubtedly caused this jealous agitation. 

Page Seventy 

113. Milnes (p. 206) and Letters (p. 514) read 'among the literary 

114. Brown said that this letter was written * a few days after* the 
one he had just quoted. It should be dated, therefore, about 
August 16 or 18. Keats actually left Hampstead for Italy on 
September 13. 

115. Milnes (p. 207) and Letters (p. 516) read 'in every way there'* 

116. Elsewhere Brown referred to Keats's death as twenty years 
before he wrote. This passage must have been in his original 
version, which he prepared as a lecture at the Plymouth 
Athenaeum on December 27, 1837 (see Introduction, p. 17). 

I 2 


Page Seventy-one 

117. The Maria Crowther, on which Keats and Severn sailed to 
Naples, left London Docks on September 17 and anchored during 
that night at Gravesend. It was here that Brown might possibly 
have seen his friend. (Letters, p. 519 n.) 

118. Severn left different accounts of his preparations to accom- 
pany Keats. In one he said that he had only one day's warning, 
in the other 'three or four days'. (Sharp, p. 48.) 

Page Seventy-two 

119. On December 10, 1819, Severn received the Royal Academy's 
gold medal for his painting 'The Cave of Despair', based on an 
episode in The Faery Queen. (Sharp, p. 27.) The award, how- 
ever, did not include, as Brown says, 'his expences to and from 
Italy, as wefl as for three years of study there'. Sharp wrote 
(p. 49): 'With his sanguine temperament, it is quite likely, as 
he [Severn] says, that, as soon as the suggestion [to accompany 
Keats] was made to him and he realised its significance, he fore- 
saw the possibility of his gaining at Rome the Royal Academy's 
travelling studentship, as a sequence to the bestowal of the gold 

120. Milnes paraphrased this statement of Brown's in the follow- 
ing sentence (p. 210) : 'Nothing was left to him [Brown] but to 
make his preparations for following Keats as speedily as possible, 
and remaining with him in Italy, if it turned out that a southern 
climate was necessary for the preservation of his life.' 

On this passage, Dilke noted in his copy of Milnes (ii. 71) : 
*This Mir. Milnes must have stated on the authority of Brown & 
no other. What are the facts ? Keats embarked in Septr 1820 
& Brown was then in the River Keats died Feby 1821 and 
Brown started for Italy in July or August 1822 ! fifteen or sixteen 
months after he was deadl* 

121. There is no reason to doubt Brown's word, since even Keats's 
physicians completely misjudged the seriousness of his illness. 

122. In the sentence preceding that quoted firom Milnes in Note 
120, he wrote: 'By an additional irony of fate, when Keats's 
ship was driven back into Portsmouth by stress of weather, 
Mr* Brown was staying in the neighbourhood within ten miles 
when Keats landed and spent a day on shore.' Dilke wrote the 
following note on this passage: 'When Keats landed and went 
to my Sisters at Bedhampton Brown was staying at my 


father's at Chichester.' Dilke's sister was Mrs. John Snook of 

123. Mr. M. B. Forman (p. 519) dates this letter Saturday, Sep- 
tember 30, 1820, since September 28 was a Thursday. This is 
the only letter from Keats to Brown of which the holograph is 
now extant. -Mr. Forman's version, printed from the holograph 
in the Harvard College Library, shows variants in punctuation 
and capitalization from Brown's version. 

124. 1 Henry IV, in. in. 6. 

Page Seventy -three 

125. This statement supports the date September 30, as the Maria 
Crowther sailed September 17. 

126. Keats wrote 'my lungs or stomach'. (Letters, p. 520.) 

127. Keats wrote 'The very thing which I want to live most for'. 
(Letters, p. 520.) 

Page Seventy-four 

128. The holograph has 'Miss Brawne'. Brown also deleted the 
first part of the following sentence : ' You think she has many 

faults but, for my sake, think she has not one if there is 

any thing you can do for her by word or deed I know you will 
do it.' (Letters, p. 520.) Milnes (p. 211), evidently copying the 
holograph of the letter instead of Brown's inaccurate transcript 

of it, restored the deletions, but wrote 'Miss % for he never 

mentioned Fanny Brawne by name. 

129. The holograph has 'Miss Brawne'. (Letters, p. 520.) 

130. Brown omitted another sentence: *I seldom think of my 
Brother and Sister in america.' 

181. The holograph has 'during my last nursing at Wentworth 

Page Seventy-five 

132. The holograph has 'dilke'. 

133. November 1, 1820, was Wednesday. 

Page Seventy-six 

134. Although Brown punctiliously deleted references to Keats's 
engagement in the earlier letters, he lifted the veil of his mystery 
here, although he did not reveal Fanny Brawne's name. 


135. Milnes (p. 214) and Letters (p. 524) read 'would'. 

Page Seventy-seven 

136. Letters (p. 525) reads: 'you will hear Severn's account, from 
[Haslam].' Colvin (pp. 498-9) quotes from Severn's letter to 
Haslam of November 1-2. 

137. Milnes (p. 214) followed Brown in deleting the name of 
Keats's fiancee. In his edition of 1883, H. Buxton Forman 
wrote '[Fanny]' (iv. 112), but in the 1901 edition he removed 
the square brackets (v. 201). Letters (p. 525) also reads 'Fanny' 

Page Seventy-nine 

138. Milnes (p. 217) and Letters (p. 527) read 'Reynolds'. 

139. Both Milnes and Letters omit this sentence and the following 

140. Milnes and Letters read 'Haslam*. The reading can scarcely 
be correct, however, since Haslam remained on the Maria 
Crowtfier from London Docks to Gravesend (Lowell, ii. 463). 
Miss Lowell's statement is corroborated by a letter from Taylor 
to Fanny Keats, postmarked September 19, 1820, first published 
by Mrs. Marie Adami in 'Fanny Keats and her Letters', The 
Cornhitt Magazine, cliii (February 1936), 138. 

Page Eighty 

141. Two versions of this letter are extant : one is found in Milnes 
(pp. 218-19) and Sharp (pp. 69-70), and the other is given here 
by Brown and in Lowell (ii. 508-10). Sharp stated that the 
letter was addressed to Mrs. Brawne and began 'My dear 
Madam'; Milnes did not name the recipient nor include the 
salutation; the versions of Sharp and Milnes, however, are 
almost identical, since the source undoubtedly was a draft or 
copy of the letter in Severn's possession. 

It seems most probable, however, that the letter which he 
actually sent is given more accurately in the Brown and Lowell 
versions. Miss Lowell owned a contemporary copy of this letter 
(now in the Amy Lowell Collection of the Harvard College 
Library), which begins 'My dear Brown', Although the copy 
does not exactly coincide with Brown's version, it agrees very 
closely and differs from the Mflnes-Sharp version in several 


important passages. The sentences concerning Mrs. Brawne 
(see notes 160, 172, and 177) show that the letter from which 
the Lowell copy was made could not have been addressed to her. 
The Brawnes, living in Dilke's side of Wentworth Place in 1820 
and 1821, were Brown's closest neighbours. Severn might con- 
ceivably have sent the same letter to two correspondents who 
saw each other rarely, but one letter would have amply sufficed 
for Brown and the Brawne family. 

142. Milnes and Sharp delete 'our'. 

143. Milnes, Sharp, and Brown agree. Lowell reads 'what I almost 
thought convalescence'. 

144. Milnes and Sharp omit this sentence. 

145. Milnes and Sharp read ''Dec. 17th, 4 a.m.' 

146. Milnes and Sharp read 'the first sleep'. 

147. For this sentence, Milnes and Sharp read: 6 I hope he will not 
wake till I have written, for I am anxious [that] you should 
know the truth; yet I dare not let him see I think his state 

148. Lowell reads 'unusual'. 

149. Lowell reads 'near'. 

150. For this sentence, Milnes and Sharp read: 'On the morning 
of this attack he was going on in good spirits, quite merrily, 
when, in an instant, a cough seized him, and he vomited two 
cupfulls of blood.' 

Page Eighty-one 

151. For this sentence, Milnes and Sharp read: 'In a moment I 
got Dr. Clark, who took eight ounces of blood from his arm it 
was black and thick.' 

152. For this sentence, Milnes and Sharp read: 'What a sorrowful 
day I had with him!' 

153. Lowell reads 'means'. Milnes and Sharp omit the entire 

154. Lowell reads 'broke forth again'. From this point to the end 
of the letter, the variants in Milnes and Sharp are too numerous 
to be noted. The Brown and Lowell versions are much more 
complete, since in Milnes and Sharp many sentences and phrases 
are transposed or omitted. 

( 120 ) 

155. Lowell omits 'so'. 

156. Lowell suppressed this clause, but it is present in the Harvard 
College copy of the letter. 

157. Lowell reads 'lesser'. 

1 58 . Lowell reads ' image ' . 

159. Lowell omits 'every'. 

Page Eighty-two 

160. Lowell reads 'Mrs. BrawneV. 

161. Lowell reads 'in concealing'. 

162. Lowell reads 'gloomy'. 

163. Lowell reads 4 is'. 

164. Lowell reads 'after'. 

165. Lowell reads 'Mrs. C.' 

166. Lowell reads '9'. 

167. Lowell reads 'raves that he'. 

168. Lowell reads 'to give him more'. 

169. Lowell reads 'on the one hand', 

Page Eighty-three 

170. Lowell reads 'Dr. CV. 

171. Lowell reads '4 & 5 times'. 

172. Lowell shows that Brown omitted the next sentence: 'I 
heard Keats say how he should like Mrs. Brawne and Mrs. 
Dilk[e] to visit his sister at Walthamstow will you say this for 
me and to Mr. Taylor that Keats was about to write favorably 
on the very time of his relapse.' 

173. Lowell reads 'expectations'. 

174. Lowell reads 'but'. 

175. Lowell reads 'have been sometimes quite pulled down for 

176. Lowell reads 'Here I am'. 

177. Lowell omits this sentence, but it is present in the Harvard 
College copy of the letter, which continues as follows, with the 
passage deleted by both Brown and Lowell: 'This is a damp to 
me for I never knew how dear they were to me I think of my 
Mother & I think of Keats for they are something the same in this 


tormenting Indigestion But if Keats recovers and their letters 
bring good news why I shall take upon myself to be myself 
again.*' Lowell continues with Brown's deletion; 'I wrote last 
to my good friend Haslam it will tell you all the events up to 
the relapse of Keats I had put the letters in post on the same 
morning it was my custom to walk until Keats awoke we 
did breakfast about 9 o'clock.' The Harvard College copy sup- 
plies the next sentences, deleted in both Brown and Lowell : 'My 
head begins to sally round so much that I cannot recollect I 
will write to Mr. Taylor on the next change in my Mend, and 
the kind Mrs. Brawn[e] when I have any good news. Will you 
remember me to this lady little did I dream on THIS when I 
saw her last in London.' 

178. Lowell reads 'Haslam'. 

179. Lowell omits 'YourV. 

180. Variants in this letter are confusing. Milnes (pp. 220-2) 
follows Brown, with certain changes and deletions, but Sharp 
(pp. 89-90) differs from both Brown and Milnes and yet gives 
fundamentally the same letter. He says it was addressed to 
Mrs. Brawne, however, and that it was dated February 12. 
Milnes dates it February 18. It is possible that Severn wrote 
substantially the same letters to Brown and Mrs. Brawne, 
although he would more likely have asked one to show his letter 
to the other by simply going next door. If he did write the same 
letter to Brown and Mrs. Brawne, the date must have been the 
same, for he could not have repeated himself so closely after 
four days. Either Sharp or Brown must be mistaken in his date, 
and Milnes probably was guilty of carelessness in writing 
February 18 for February 8, since, like Brown and Sharp, he 
dates the second section of the letter February 14. 

Page Eighty-four 

181. The simile is not necessarily preposterous in a letter to 
Brown, but it fits better into one to Mrs. Brawne, who had 
nursed Keats after he left Hunt's house. 

Page Eighty-si 

182. The lines are from Vittorio Alnerfs Filippo, x. i. 19-20. They 
may be translated : 

* O wretched me ! Of solace have I none 
Other than ray weeping and the weeping crime indeed.* 


183. Milnes follows Brown exactly at this point. Sharp deletes the 
sentence following the quotation from Alfieri, and then reads 
4 Since, a letter has come '. The letter was obviously from Fanny 

184. Milnes omits this sentence. Sharp reads: 'Then (?) he found 
many causes of his illness. . . .* 

Page Eighty-seven 

185. Sharp reads 'three times'. Milnes reads: 6 I have got an 
English nurse to come two hours every other day, so that I am 
quite recovering my health. Keats seems to like her, but she 
has been taken ill to-day and cannot come. 1 Sharp and Milnes 
omit the rest of this paragraph after this sentence. 

Page Eighty-eight 

186. The deleted passage may be partially supplied from Sharp, 
who printed this portion of the letter as follows : 'You astonish 
me about . . .poor Keats is a martyr to the tricks of these 
infernal scoundrels, others besides G. . . his is rather the fault 
of his [head] than hfs heart. I can understand him but the 
others ten thousand curses light upon them. Not only our 
friend's life, but his very nature has been torn to pieces by them 
that he is here a thousand miles from his dear home, dying 
without one comfort but me when I cannot bear to think of 
it.' The 'scoundrel G.' is obviously George Keats, whom Brown 
and Severn both accused of dishonesty. The reference to these 
business matters strongly suggests that the letter was addressed 
to Brown, instead of to Mrs. Brawne. 

187. Milnes (pp. 222-3) gives this letter with minor variants. 
Sharp (p. 94) quotes only part of the first paragraph, with 
variants, from an unfinished draft of the letter found among 
Severn's papers. 

Page Eighty-nine 

188. This paragraph dates from Brown's revision of 1841. It is 
important to recognize the fact that Brown, like many other 
friends of Keats, attributed his decline as much to unfavourable 
reviews as to tuberculosis. 

Page Ninety 

189. Brown's error is obvious. Keats's mother died from tubercu- 
losis in 1810, but his father was killed in a riding accident in 


Adami, Mrs. Marie, 118. 

Adona&s, 25, 33, 39, 47. 

Mneld, The, 41. 

Ailsa Craig, 50, 99, 102, 103. 

Alfieri, Vittorio, 86, 121, 122. 

Arabian Nights, The, 31. 

Arran, 50. 

Atlantic Monthly, The, 34. 

Ayr, 50. 

Bailey, Archdeacon Benjamin, 22, 
27, 29, 97, 98, 103, 105, 113, 114, 

Ballahulish, 51. 

Barrett, Mr., 47, 101. 

Bedhampton, 73, 78, 106, 108, 109, 

110, 111, 116, 117. 
Belfast, 50, 102. 

* Belle Dame sans Merei, La,' 2. 
Belmont Castle, 112. 
Benjamin, Nathan, 110. 
Ben Nevis, 51. 
Bentley, Benjamin, 106. 
Blaekwood, Robert, 52, 105. 
Blackwood's Magazine, 4, 5, 26, 28, 

29, 30, 32, 34, 45, 46, 98, 99, 

100, 105. 

Blunden, Edmund, 5, 7, 28, 36, 99. 
Bo Peep, 98. 
Bowness, 48, 102. 
Box Hffl, 44, 98. J, 
Brawne, Fanny, 3, 10, 12, 13, 14, 

27, 28, 29, 34, 4&, 60, 74, 75, 76, 

77, 78, 86, 96, 109, 111, 112, 

115, 117, 118, 122. 
Brawne, Margaret, 111. 
Brawne, Mrs. Samuel, 7, 77, 106, 

111, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122. 
Brawne, Sam, 111. 

Bree, Dr. Robert, 113. 

Brewer Bequest, Keats Museum, 

10, 11, 12, 15, 96, 112, 113. 
British Institution, 114. 
British Museum, 12, 18, 20, 36, 94, 

96, 101. 

Brougham, Lord, 102. 
Brown, Charles. 

meets Keats, 1, 43, 44. 
K. moves to his house, 2, 53, 60. 
travels in Scotland, 2, 3, 48, 49, 
50, 51, 52, 65, 69, 71, 102, 103, 
104, 105, 106, 114. 
advances money to K., 3, 35. 
nurses K., 3, 64, 65, 112. 
plans concerning biography of 
K., 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 
16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 
40, 93. 
objects to Taylor's proposed 

Biography of K., 6, 7, 8. 
collects K.*s poems, 6, 53, 54, 

103, 107. 
objects to Hunt's account of K., 


his lecture on K., 17, 18, 19. 
opinion on K.'s critics, 19, 24, 25, 
26, 27, 30, 84, 89, 90, 91, 122. 
emigration to New Zealand, 21. 
death, 85, 36. 
collaborates with K., 54, 55, 56, 

Shakespeare's Autobiographical 

Poems, 38. 
Narensky, 107. 

Brown, Major Charles, Jr. ( fc Car- 
lino'), 21, 108. 
Brutus, 101. 
Buffalo, New York, 93. 
Burch, Ann, 94, 95. 
Burford Bridge, 98. 
Burleigh, Lord, 68. 
Burns, Robert, 49, 50, 103, 1O5. 
Bushnell, Nelson S., 103, 104. 
Byron, Lord, 30, 33, 71. 

Cambridge, 22. 
Canterbury, 43, 97, 98. 
Cantire, 5O, 103. 

'Cap and Bells, The% 34, 35, 62, 
66, 68, 71, 118, 114. 


Carisbrooke, 98. 

Carlisle, 49, 105, 114. 

'Cave of Despair, The*, 116. 

Chalk Farm, 4. 

Champion, The, 60, 110, 111. 

Chaucer, Geoffrey, 42. 

Chichester, 73, 78, 104, 106, 108, 

110, 117. 
Christie, J. H., 4. 
City Madam, The, 60, 110. 
Clark, Dr. James, 70, 79, 80, 82, 

83, 87, 88, 89, 113, 119, 120. 
Clark, Mrs. James, 82, 120. 
Clarke, Charles Cowden, 6, 7, 11, 

27, 33, 34, 37, 40, 43, 94, 96, 97. 
Clarke, John, 41, 96. 
* Cockney School, The', 4, 28, 31, 

32, 98, 99. 

Coleridge, Derwent, 18. 
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 11, 93. 
Colombo, 22, 105. 
Colvin, Sir Sidney, 33, 36, 37, 94, 

97, 107, 108, 111, 118. 
Constable, Archibald, 109. 
Constable's Edinburgh Magazine, 


Conybeare, William, 95. 
Corbett, Miss Ida, 36. 
Cornhill Magazine, The, 118. 
Covent Garden Theatre, 55. 
Crewe, Lord, 21, 23-5, 35, 36, 37, 

105, 114. 

Croker, John Wilson, 101. 
Croly, George, 101. 
Cromarty, 52, 103, 104. 
Cumberland, 49. 

Dallington, 114. 

Dante, 112. 

Devereux, Robert, 68. 

Devonshire, 40. 

Dilke, Charles Wentworth, 2, 6, 7, 
8-10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 
22, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 95, 
96, 105, 106, 107, 109, 110, 111, 
112, 113, 115, 116, 117, H9. 

Dilke, Charles Wentworth, Jr., 110. 

Dilke, Charles Wentworth, Sr., of 
Chichester, 104, 105, 106, 117. 

Dilke, Mrs. Charles Wentworth, 
105, 111, 115, 120. 

Dilke's copy of Milnes's Life, 
Letters, and Literary Remains, 9, 
96, 105, 107, 109, 112, 116. 

Donaghadee, 102. 

Don Giovanni, 111. 

Don Juan, 30. 

Donohoo, Abigail, 108. 

Doon, 50. 

Drury Lane Theatre, 55, 107, 111. 

Dryden, John, 56. 

Dumfries, 49. 

Dunbar, 99. 

Dundee, 71. 

Dunkeld, 69. 

Dunvegan Castle, 114. 

Edgcumbe, Fred, 28, 36. 

Edinburgh, 52, 104. 

Edinburgh Review, The, 47, 58, 99, 

101, 102, 109. 
Edmonton, 41, 96. 
Elliston, Robert William, 55. 
Endymion, 18, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 

48, 98, 100, 101. 
Enfield, 41, 96. 
'Eve of St. Agnes, The', 2, 53. 
Examiner, The, 43, 99, 110. 

Faery Queen, The, 42, 97, 116, 
Faithful Shepherdess, The, 47. 
'Fall of Hyperion, The, a Vision', 

62, 111, 112. 
Fiesole, 22. 
Fihppo, 121. 
Fingal's Cave, 51. 
Finsbury, 94, 95. 
Fletcher, John, 47. 
Forman, H. Buxton, 37, 94, 102, 

104, 109, 110, 118. 
Forman, M. Buxton, 36, 109, 110, 

114, 117. 
Fort William, 51. 

Galignani, 11, 93. 

George, 104. 

George II, 68. 

Giant's Causeway, 50, 102. 

Gifford, William, 12, 27, 46, 101. 

Girvan, 50. 

Glasgow, 51. 

Gleig, Bishop George, 105. 


Gleig, Hamilton, 114. 
Godwin, William, 110. 
Gravesend, 66, 71, 116, 118. 
Griffin, Gerald, 27, 28. 
Gnffin, Lucy, 27. 
Guy Mannering, 49. 
Guy's Hospital, 41. 

Hallam, Arthur Henry, 22. 
Hammond, Thomas, 41, 96. 
Hampshire, 53. 
Hampstead, 43, 44, 52, 58, 60, 76, 

83, 98, 106, 109, 110, 111, 112, 

Harvard College Library, 6, 9, 28, 

29, 32,36, 109, 117, 118, 120, 121. 
Haslam, William, 102, 118, 121. 
Hastings, 44, 98. 
Haydon, Benjamin Robert, 17, 

27, 29, 67, 110. 
Hazlitt, William, 46, 58, 99, 100, 


Hazktt, William Carew, 109. 
Hebrides, 2, 114. 
Helston School, 18. 
Henry IV, 117. 
Henry VI, 110. 
Heroine, The, 101. 
Hessey, James Augustus, 26, 101. 
Holbein, Hans, 68. 
Holmes, Edward, 22. 
Houghton, Lord, see Milnes, 

Richard Monckton. 
Houghton Papers, 86. 
Howe, P. P., 100. 
* Human Seasons, The', 99. 
Hunt, John, 99. 
Hunt, Leigh, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 18, 

19, 22, 27, 30, 31, 82, 37, 43, 45, 

66, 70, 76, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 

10O, 101, 105, 121. 
'Hyperion*, 53, 62, 106, 111, 112. 

'Imitation of Spenser', 42, 96. 
Inverary, 105. 
Inverness, 52, 103, 104. 
lona, 51. 

Ireland, 2, 50, 102, 108. 
'Isabella*, 49, 71. 
Isle of Wight, 44, 54, 72, 98, 107, 

Italy, 3, 10, 17, 34, 39, 40, 69, 70, 
71, 72, 115. 

James I, 68. 
'Jealousies, The,' 62. 
Jeffrey, Francis, 12, 47, 48, 101. 
Jennings, John, 41, 95. 
Jennings, Mrs. John, 96. 
Jonson, Ben, 47. 

Kean, Edmund, 55, 60, 110. 
Keats, Fanny, 28, 41, 49, 74, 76, 

77, 79, 82, 86, 95-6, 102, 104, 113, 

114, 118, 120. 
Keats, Frances (K.'s mother), 27, 

41, 94, 95, 122. 
Keats, George, 1, 2, 5, 9, 10, 14, 

15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 

28, 29, 32, 33, 36, 41, 44, 48, 67, 

77, 79, 82, 94, 95, 97, 102, 103, 

106, 108, 110, 112, 113, 117, 122. 
Keats, Georgiana Wyhe, 2, 33, 77, 

94, 102, 103, 106, 112, 117. 
Keats, John. 

meets Brown, 1, 43, 44. 

travels in Scotland, 2, 48, 49, 50, 
51, 52, 102, 103, 104, 106. 

moves to B.'s house, 2, 53, 60. 

poems composed there, 2, 53, 62. 

financial affairs, 3, 35, 41, 63, 

illness, 3, 10, 26, 47, 51, 52, 63, 
64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 
72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 
80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 
88, 101, 106, 112, 113, 115, 
116, 121. 

nursed by B., 3, 64, 65, 112. 

death, 4, 7, 26, 27, 88, 89, 9O, 
115, 116. 

relations with Taylor, 4. 

Taylor plans to write his bio- 
graphy, 5, 7, 8. 

Reynolds plans to write his 
biography, 5, 6, 22. 

Milnes's Life, Letters and Liter- 
ary Remains, 6, 36. 

B.'s plans concerning his bio- 
graphy, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 
15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 


Keats, John (contd.) 
Hunt's account of him, 9. 
his birthday, 12, 40, 94, 95. 
monument to him in Rome, 16, 


B.'s lecture on him, 17, 18, 19. 
effect of unfair criticism, 25, 26, 
27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 
89, 90, 91, 122. 
education, 41. 
surgery, 41, 43, 67. 
early feeling for beauty, 42. 
personal appearance, 44. 
travels in England, 44, 98, 107. 
collaborates with B , 54, 55, 56, 

Italian voyage, 69, 70, 71, 72, 

73, 74, 75 S 115, 116. 
Poems, 1817, 42-3, 97-9. 
Endymwn, 18, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 

48, 98, 100, 101. 
Lamia, 47, 53, 56, 67, 70, 101, 

107, 108. 
*The Cap and Bells', 34, 35, 62, 

66, 68, 71, 113, 114. 
imitation of Spenser', 42, 96. 
'Lines on Seeing a Lock of 

Milton's Hair', 45. 
'Isabella', 49, 71. 
'Meg Memlies', 49, 102. 
'ToAilsaRock', 50, 99. 
'Staffa', 51. 
'Sonnet Written upon the Top 

of Ben Nevis ',51. 
'Lines Written in the High- 
lands', 52, 105. 

'Hyperion', 53, 62, 106, 111, 112. 
'The Eve of St. Agnes', 2, 53. 
*La Belle Dame Sans Merci', 2. 
'Ode to a Nightingale', 53-4. 
*Otho the Great', 54-5, 57, 107, 


'King Stephen', 56, 91, 107. 
"The Human Seasons', 99. 
* The Fall of Hyperion, a Vision*, 

62, 111, 112. 
dramatic criticism, 57, 60, 110, 


Keats Memorial House, 2. 
Keats Museum, 5, 10, 11, 12, 15, 
36, 94, 96, 106, 108, 111, 112, 113. 

Keats, Thomas (K.'s father), 40, 

41, 90, 94, 95, 122. 
Keats, Tom, 2, 11, 27, 41, 44, 45, 

52, 53, 79, 90, 95, 96, 97, 98, 102, 

103, 105, 106, 112. 
Keats's Publisher, 5, 7. 
Kendal, 102. 

Kentish Town, 65, 76, 113. 
Kentucky, 112. 
'King Stephen', 50, 91, 107. 
Kirk AUoway, 50. 
Kirkcudbright, 49. 
Kneller, Sir Godfrey, 68. 

Lamb, Charles, 67, 100, 114. 

Lamia, 53, 56, 67, 70, 101, 107, 108. 

Lancaster, 48, 102. 

Landor, Walter Savage, 9, 22. 

Lefanu, Mrs., 47, 101. 

Leghorn, 93, 115. 

Lely, Sir Peter, 68. 

Lerici, 93. 


Bailey to Milnes, May 7, 1849, 

105, 114. 

May 11, 1849, 105. 
Bailey to Taylor, Oct. 5, 1818, 


Mar. 26, 1821, 29. 
Fanny Brawne to Brown, Dec. 

29, 1829, 13, 14. 
Fanny Brawne to Fanny Keats, 

Feb. 1, 1821, 28. 
Brown to Fanny Brawne, Dec. 

17, 1829, 10, 12. 
Brown to Dilke, Dec. 17, 1829, 

10, 11. 

Jan, 20, 1830, 12, 112. 
Feb. 9, 1830, 15, 95, 96. 
Brown to C. W. Dilke, Sr., Aug. 

7, 1818, 104. 
Brown to Hunt, June 1, 1830, 

11-12, 94, 96. 
June, 1837, 18, 19. 
Brown to Keats, Dec. 21, 1820, 

Brown to Milnes, Mar. 14, 1841, 

21, 23. 

Mar. 19, 1841, 23, 24. 
Mar. 29, 1841, 25, 35, 107. 
Apr. 9, 1841, 25. 


Letters (contd.). 

Brown to Severn, Jan 1821, 10. 
Aug. 1821, 7. 
Aug. 14, 1821, 6, 10. 
Sept. 5, 1822, 93. 
Feb. 7, 1823, 10. 
Early in 1830, 15. 
Nov. 26, 1836, 16, 19, 93. 
Oct. 26, 1837, 20. 
Aug. 23, 1838, 19. 
Max. 21, 1841, 22. 
Brown to Snook, Aug. 7, 1818, 

102, 104. 
Dr. Clark to a friend, Nov. 27, 

1820, 113. 

Dilke to Severn, 1841, 30. 
Mrs. Dilke to C. W. Dilke, Sr., 

Aug. 16, 1818, 105, 106. 
Gerald Griffin to Lucy Griffin, 

June 21, 1825, 27. 
George Keats to Dilke, Apr. 10, 

1824, 28. 

Apr. 20, 1825, 29. 
May 12, 1828, 32. 
May 7, 1830, 29. 
Keats to Bailey, July 18, 1818, 

Keats to Fanny Brawne, Sept. 

13, 1819, 109. 
Aug. 1820, 115. 
Keats to Brown, Sept. 23, 1819, 

3, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60. 
May 15, 1820, 66. 
June 1820, 66, 67, 68 
Aug. 14, 1820, 69, 70, 114-15. 
Aug. 1820, 69, 70, 71, 115. 
Sept. 30, 1820, 3, 72, 73, 74, 

75, 117. 

Nov. 1, 1820, 75, 76, 77. 
Nov. 30, 1820, 78, 79. 
Keats to Dilke, Sept. 22, 1819, 


Oct. 1, 1819, 110. 
Keatsto Hessey,Oct. 9, 1818,26. 
Keats to Fanny Keats, Aug. 18, 

1818, 104. 
Keats to George Keats, June 

26, 1818, 102. 
Oct. 1818, 94, 106. 
Dec. 18, 1818, 106. 
Sept. 24-5, 1819, 108, 110. 

Letters (contd.}. 

Keats to George and Georgiana 
Keats, Oct. 1818, 94, 106. 
Feb. 14, 1819, 33. 
Keats to Tom Keats, July 10, 

1818, 102, 103. 
Keats to Taylor, Sept. 5, 1819, 

Severn to Brown, Dec. 14, 1820, 

80, 81, 82, 83, 120. 
Feb. 8, 1821, 83, 84, 85, 86, 

87, 88, 121-2. 
Feb. 27, 1821, 88, 89. 
July, 1821, 6. 
Sept. 1821, 11. 
Apr. 15, 1830, 16. 
Mar. 14, 1834. 
John Taylor to James Taylor, 

Mar." 28, 1821, 4. 
6 Lines on Seeing a Lock of Milton's 

Hair', 45. 
'Lines Written in the Highlands', 

52, 105. 

Liverpool, 2, 48, 102. 
Loch Carron, 104. 
Loch Tay, 104. 
Lockhart, John Gibson, 4, 12, 29, 

33, 46, 98, 100, 105. 
London, 2, 49, 52, 59, 73, 79, 94, 
98, 101, 103, 104, 105, 107, 109, 
116, 118, 121. 
London Magazine, Tfie, 4. 
London Mercury, The, 5. 
Lord Byron and Some of his Con- 
temporaries, 9, 11, 12, 22, 31, 32, 
94, 97. 

Lowell, Amy, 6, 13, 27, 36, 94, 95, 
97, 98, 106, 107, 111, 112, 113, 
118, 119, 120, 121. 
Lowther Hall, 49. 
Lowther, Lord, 102. 
'Lucy* Vaughan Lloyd', 35, 62, 
68, 71, 114, 117. 

Macready, William Charles, 111. 

Maginn, William, 100. 

Margate, 98. 

Maria Crowther, 72, 116, 117, 118. 

Marsh, George L., 6, 26, 98. 

Massinger, Philip, 110. 

'Meg Merrffies', 49, 102. 


Milnes, Richard Monckton (later 
Lord Houghton), 6, 9, 20, 21, 
22, 23, 24, 25, 29, 34, 35, 36, 37, 
93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 105, 107, 
109, 110, 111, 114, 115, 116, 117, 
118, 119, 121, 122. 

Milton, John, 45, 48. 

Modem Philology, 26, 98. 

Monkhouse, Thomas, 114. 

Moorfields, 40, 94, 95. 

Morgan (J. P.) Library, 9, 29, 33, 
36, 96, 105. 

Morning Chronicle, 7, 20, 21. 

Moxon, Edward, 6, 20. 

Midi, 51, 104. 

Naples, 75, 77, 78, 87, 116. 
Narensky, or The Road to Yaroslaf, 


New Monthly Magazine, 104. 
Newport, 98. 
New Zealand, 21, 35, 93. 

Oban, 51. 

* Ode to a Nightingale ', 54. 
Oilier, C. and J., 97, 105. 
Oxford, 44, 98, 101. 

Paris, 11, 93. 

Paris in 1815, 47, 101. 

Patmore, Peter George, 99. 

Payne, John Howard, 47, 101. 

Perthshire, 104. 

Pisa, 70 3 93, 115. 

Plymouth, 16, 17. 

Plymouth and Devonport Weekly 
Journal, 21, 103. 

Plymouth Athenaeum, 17, 115. 

Plymouth Company of New Zea- 
land, 21. 

Plymouth Institution, 17, 19. 

Poems, 1817, 42, 43, 97-9. 

Portland, 74. 

Port Patrick, 102. 

Portsmouth, 72, 116. 

Prickard, A. O., 101. 

Psalm, 110, 

Quarterly Review, The, 26, 29, 30, 
46, 47, 99, 100, 101. 

'Rawlings v. Jennings', 94, 95. 
Retribution, or The Chieftain's 

Daughter, 111. 
Reynolds, John Hamilton, 5, 6, 7, 

8,9,22,27,29, 103, 109, 115, 118. 
Reynolds, Manane, 114. 
Rice, James, 107, 
Richard IH, 110. 
Richards, Thomas, 7, 8. 
Riches, 110. 

Robinson, Henry Crabb, 114. 
Rome, 4, 6, 28, 70, 76, 77, 78, 80, 82, 

87, 88, 93, 113, 115, 116. 
Rossetti, William M., 101. 
Royal Academy, 71, 116. 
Rutnapoora, Ceylon, 105. 
Rydal, 49. 

Sad Shepherd, The, 47. 

St. Botolph's Church, Bishops- 
gate, 94, 95. 

St. Stephen's, Coleman Street, 95. 

San Terenzo, 93. 

Saunders and Otley, 19. 

Scotland, 48. 

Scott, John, 4, 32. 

Scott, Sir Walter, 46, 49. 

de S&incourt, Ernest, 111. 

Severn, Joseph, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 
15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22, 27, 28, 30, 
34, 37, 65, 71, 76, 77, 79, 83, 

88, 89, 93, 102, 113, 116, 118, 
119, 120-2. 

Shakespeare, William, 42, 48, 117. 

Shanklin, 54, 107. 

Sharp, William, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 15, 

16, 19, 20, 22, 30, 34, 93, 102, 

113, 116, 118, 119, 121, 122. 
Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 11, 25, 33, 

39, 40, 47, 70, 93, 101, 115. 
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 101. 
Skye, 114. 

Smith, Colonel Hamilton, 17. 
Smith, W., 93. 
Snook, Henry, 102, 104. 
Snook, Mrs. John, 106, 116, 117. 
Solway Firth, 49. 
Southampton, 98. 
Southey, Robert, 67. 
Spenser, Edmund, 31, 42, 46, 62, 



Staffa, 51. 

Stratford-on-Avon, 98. 
' Swan and Hoop, The % 94. 
Syrian Tale, A, 47, 101. 

Talfourd, Thomas Noon, 114. 
'Tarn o' Shanter', 103. 
Taylor, James, 4. 
Taylor, John, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 20, 22, 

27, 29, 32, 101, 105, 109, 112, 

118, 12O, 121. 
Taylor, Olive M., 5. 
Teignmouth, 44, 49, 98. 
Tennyson, Alfred, 22. 
Thomas, Ralph, 94. 
Times Literary Supplement, 111. 
Traveller's Guide through Scotland, 

Trinity College, Cambridge, 22. 

Van Dyck, Sir Anthony, 68. 
Virgil, 41. 
Voltaire, 68. 

Walk after John Keats, A, 1O3, 


k Walks m the North', 103. 
Walthamstow, 12O. 
Well Walk, Hampstead, 2, 106. 
Wentworth Place, 2, 106, 108, 110, 

111, 117, 119. 
Westmorland, 49, 102. 
Whibley, Charles, 100. 
White, Newman I., 26, 98- 
Wilson, John, 98, 99. 
Winchester, 54, 56, 107, 108, 109, 


Windermere, 48, 102. 
Woman, 47, 1O1. 
Woodhouse, Richard, 9, 16, 22, 

27, 83, 105. 
Wordsworth, William, 49, 67, 102, 


Yarmouth, 72. 
*Z% 4, 98, 100.