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with violets and daisies. It might make one in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place.
The genius of the lamented person to whose memory I have dedicated these unworthy verses was not less delicate and fragile than it was beautiful; and, where cankerworms abound, what wonder if its young flower was blighted in the bud? The savage criticism on his Endymion, which appeared in The Quarterly Review, produced the most violent effect? on his susceptible mind; the agitation thus originated ended in the rupture of a blood-vessel in the lungs; a rapid consumption ensued, and the succeeding acknowledgments from more candid critics, of the true greatness of his powers, were ineffectual to heal the wound thus wantonly inflicted.
It may be well said that these wretched men know not what they do. They scatter their insults and their slanders without heed as to whether the poisoned shaft lights on a heart made callous by many blows, or one like Keats's, composed of more penetrable stuff. One of their associates is, to my knowledge, a most base and unprincipled calumniator. As to Endymion,—was it a poem, whatever might be its defects, to be treated contemptuously by
? It is difficult to avoid recalling Keats's own words in the Ode to a Nightingale
many a time Have I been half in love with easeful Death.-ED.
2 The effect of the attack of The Quarterly Review on Keats has been greatly overrated. No doubt the contemptuous tone of the article caused him considerable annoyance; but the writer was not responsible for his death, which was caused by the family disease, consumption.-ED.
those who had celebrated, with various degrees of complacency and panegyric, Paris, and Woman, and À Syrian Tale, and Mrs. Lefanu, and Mr. Barrett, and Mr. Howard Payne, and a long list of the illustrious obscure ? Are these the men who, in their venal good nature, presumed to draw a parallel between the Rev. Mr. Milman and Lord Byron? What gnat did they strain at here, after having swallowed all those camels ? Against what woman taken in adultery dares the foremost of these literary prostitutes to cast his opprobrious stone? Miserable man! you, one of the meanest, have wantonly defaced one of the noblest specimens of the workmanship of God. Nor shall it be your excuse that, murderer as you are, you have spoken daggers, but used none.
The circumstances of the closing scene of poor Keats's life were not made known to me until the Elegy was ready for the press. I am given to understand that the wound which his sensitive spirit had received from the criticism of Endymion was exasperated by the bitter sense of unrequited benefits; the poor fellow seems to have been hooted from the stage of life, no less by those on whom he had wasted the promise of his genius, than those on whom he had lavished his fortune and his care. He was accompanied to Rome, and attended in his last illness, by Mr. Severn, a young artist of the highest promise, who, I have been informed, “almost risked his own life, and sacrificed “ every prospect to unwearied attendance upon .“his dying friend.” Had I known these circumstances before the completion of my poem, I should have been tempted to add my feeble tribute of applause to the more solid recompense which the virtuous man finds in the recollection of his own motives. Mr. Severn can dispense with a reward from “such stuff as dreams are made of.” His conduct is a golden augury of the success of his future careermay the unextinguished Spirit of his illustrious friend animate the creations of his pencil, and plead against Oblivion for his name?
I WEEP for Adonais—he is dead !
peers, And teach them thine own sorrow, say: with
me Died Adonais; till the Future dares
Forget the Past, his fate and fame shall be An echo and a light unto eternity.
Where wert thou, mighty Mother, when he
lay, When thy Son lay, pierced by the shaft
which flies In darkness ? where was lorn Urania When Adonais died ? With veilèd eyes, 'Mid listening Echoes, in her Paradise She sate, while one, with soft enamoured
breath, Rekindled all the fading melodies, With which, like flowers that mock the corse
beneath, He had adorned and hid the coming bulk of
O, weep for Adonais—he is dead !
Will yet restore him to the vital air; Death feeds on his mute voice, and laughs at
Most musical of mourners, weep again!
rite Of lust and blood; he went, unterrified,
Into the gulph of death; but his clear Sprite Yet reigns o'er earth; the third among the sons
Most musical of mourners, weep anew!
The allusion to Milton as “the third among the sons of light” should be read in connexion with passages on epic poetry and epic poets in Shelley's Defence of Poetry. The first and second “among the sons of light” referred to in this stanza are probably Homer and Dante.-ED.