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commonest observations of the commonest people on death are true as their proverbs. I have a firm belief in immortality, and so had Tom. During poor Tom's illness I was not able to write, and since his death the task of beginning has been a hinderance to me. Within this last week I have been every where, and I will tell you, as nearly as possible, how I go on. I am going to domesticate with Brown, that is, we shall keep house together. I shall have the front-parlor, and he the back one, by which I shall avoid the noise of Bentley’s children, and be able to go on with my studies, which have been greatly interrupted lately, so that I have not the shadow of an idea of a book in my head, and my pen seems to have grown gouty for verse. How are you going on now The going on of the world makes me dizzy. There you are with Birkbeck, here I am with Brown; sometimes I imagine an immense separation, and sometimes, as at present, a direct communication of spirit with you. That will be one of the grandeurs of immortality. There will be no space, and conse. quently the only commerce between spirits will be by their intelligence of each other—when they will completely understand each other, while we, in this world, merely comprehend each other in different degrees; the higher the degree of good, so higher is our Love and Friendship. I have been so little used to writing lately that I am afraid you will not smoke my meaning, so I will give you an example. Suppose Brown, or Haslam, or any one else, whom I understand in the next degree to what I do you, were in America, they would be so much the further from me in proportion as their identity was more impressed upon me. Now the reason why I do not feel, at the present moment, so far from you, is that I remember your ways, and manners, and actions; I know your manner of thinking, your manner of feeling; I know what shape your joy or your sorrow would take; I know the manner of your walking, standing, sauntering, sitting down, laughing, punning, and every action, so truly that you seem near to me. You will remember me in the same manner, and the more when I tell you that I shall read a page of Shakspeare every Sunday at ten o’clock; you read one at the same time, and we Sk
shall be as near each other as blind bodies can be in the same I'00111.
Thursday.—This morning is very fine. What are you doing this morning 2 Have you a clear hard frost, as we have 2 How do you come on with the gun ? Have you shot a Buffalo 2 Have you met with any Pheasants 2 My thoughts are very frequently in a foreign country. I live more out of England than in it. The mountains of Tartary are a favorite lounge, if I happen to miss the Alleghany ridge, or have no whim for Savoy. There must be great pleasure in pursuing game—pointing your gun—no, it won’t do—now—no–rabbit it—now, bang—smoke and feathers— where is it ! Shall you be able to get a good pointer or so? Now I am not addressing myself to G. Minor—and yet I am, for you are one. Have you some warm furs ? By your next letter I shall expect to hear exactly how you get on ; smother nothing; let us have all—fair and soul—all plain. Will the little bairn have made his entrance before you have this 2 Kiss it for me, and when it can first know a cheese from a caterpillar show it my picture twice a week. You will be glad to hear that Gifford's attack upon me has done me service—it has got my book among several sels, nor must I forget to mention, once more, what I suppose Haslam has told you, the present of a 25l. note I had anonymously sent me. Another pleasing circumstance I may mention, on the authority of Mr. Neville, to whom I had sent a copy of “Endymion.” It was lying on his cousin's table, where it had been seen by one of the Misses Porter, (of Romance celebrity,) who expressed a wish to read it; after having dipped into it, in a day or two she returned it, accompanied by the following letter:—
“As my brother is sending a messenger to Esher, I cannot but make the same the bearer of my regrets for not hav. ing had the pleasure of seeing you the morning you called at the gate. I had given orders to be denied, I was so very unwell with my still adhesive cold ; but had I known it was you, I should have broken off the interdict for a few minutes, to say how very much I am delighted with ‘Endymion.” I had just finished the
poem, and have now done as you permitted, lent it to Miss Fitzgerald. “I regret you are not personally acquainted with the author, for I should have been happy to have acknowledged to him, through the advantage of your communication, the very rare delight my sister and myself have enjoyed from this first fruits of his genius. I hope the ill-natured review will not have damped such true Parnassian fire. It ought not, for when life is granted to the possessor, it always burns its brilliant way through every obstacle. Had Chatterton possessed sufficient manliness of mind to know the magnanimity of patience, and been aware that great talents have a commission from heaven, he would not have deserted his post, and his name might have paged with Milton. “Ever much yours, “JANE PORTER.”
“Ditton Cottage, Dec. 4, 1818.
Now I feel more obliged than flattered by this—so obliged that I will not, at present, give you an extravaganza of a Lady Ro. mance. I will be introduced to them first, if it be merely for the pleasure of writing you about them. Hunt has asked me to meet Tom Moore, so you shall hear of him also some day.
I am passing a quiet day, which I have not done for a long time, and if I do continue so, I feel I must again begin with my poetry, for if I am not in action, mind or body, I am in pain, and from that I suffer greatly by going into parties, when from the rules of society and a natural pride, I am obliged to smother my spirits and look like an idiot, because I feel my impulses, if given way to, would too much amaze them. I live under an everlasting restraint, never relieved except when I am composing, so I will write away.
Friday.—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. I will not give you any extracts, because I wish the whole to make an impression. I have, however, a few poems which you will like, and I will copy them out on the next sheet. I will
write to Haslam this morning to know when the packet sails, and till it does I will write something every day. After that my journal shall go on like clockwork, and you must not complain of its dullness; for what I wish is to write a quantity to you, knowing well that dullness itself from me will be instructing to you. You may conceive how this not having been done has weighed upon me. I shall be better able to judge from your next what sort of information will be of most service or amusement to you. Perhaps, as you are fond of giving me sketches of characters, you may like a little pic-nic of scandal, even across the Atlantic. Shall I give you Miss ? She is about my height, with a fine style of countenance of the lengthened sort; she wants sentiment in every feature; she manages to make her hair look well; her nostrils are very fine, though a little pain. ful; her mouth is bad and good ; her profile is better than her full face, which, indeed, is not full, but pale and thin, without showing any bone; her shape is very graceful, and so are her movements; her arms are good, her hands bad-ish, her feet tolerable. She is not seventeen, but she is ignorant; monstrous in her behavior, flying out in all directions, calling people such names that I was forced lately to make use of the term—Minx: this is, I think, from no innate vice, but from a penchant she has for acting stylishly. I am, however, tired of such style, and shall decline any more of it. She had a friend to visit her lately; you have known plenty such—she plays the music, but without one sensation but the feel of the ivory at her fingers; she is a downright Miss, without one set-off. We hated her, and smoked her, and baited her, and, I think, drove her away. Miss thinks her a paragon of fashion, and says she is the only woman in the world she would change persons with. What a stupe—she is as superior as a rose to a dandelion. It is some days since I wrote the last page, but l never know; but I must write. I am looking into a book of Dubois'—he has written directions to the players. One of them is very good: “In singing, never mind the music—observe what time you please. It would be a pretty degradation, indeed, if you were obliged to confine your genius to the dull regularity of a fiddler—horse-hair and cat-guts. No, let him keep your time and play your time; dodge him.” I will now copy out the sonnet and letter I have spoken of The outside cover was thus directed, “Messrs. Taylor and Hessey, Booksellers, 93 Fleet-street, London,” and it contained this: “Messrs. Taylor and Hessey are requested to forward the enclosed letter, by some safe mode of conveyance, to the author of ‘Endymion,’ who is not known at Teignmouth; or, if they have not his address, they will return the letter by post, directed as below, within a fortnight. Mr. P. Fenbank, P. O., Teignmouth, 9th November, 1818.” In this sheet was enclosed the following, with a superscription, “Mr. John Keats, Teignmouth ;” then came “Sonnet to John Keats,” which I could not copy for any in the world but you, who know that I scout “mild light and loveliness,” or any such nonsense, in myself.
“Star of high promise ! Not to this dark age
Of scoffing spirits bitter war doth wage
I turned over, and found a £25 note. Now this appears to me all very proper; if I had refused it, I should have behaved in a very braggadocio dunder-headed manner; and yet the present galls me a little, and I do not know that I shall not return it, if I ever meet with the donor, after whom to no purpose have I written.
I must not forget to tell you, that a few days since I went with Dilke a-shooting on the heath, and shot a tomtit; there were as many guns abroad as birds.
Thursday.—On my word, I think so little, I have not one opinion upon any thing except in matters of taste. I never can