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The short career of John KEATs was marked by the development of powers which have been rarely exhibited in one at so immatured an age. He had but just completed his twenty-fourth year when he was snatched away from the world, and an end put for ever to a genius of a lofty and novel order. Certain party critics, who made it their object to lacerate the feelings, and endeavor to put down by vituperation and misplaced ridicule every effort which emanated not from their own servile dependants or followers, furiously attacked the writings of Keats on their appearance. Their promise of greater excellence was unquestionable, their beauties were obvious, but so also were defects, which might easily be made available for an attack upon the author; and which certain writers of the Quarterly Review instantly seized upon to gratify party malice,—not against the author so much as against his friends. The unmerited abuse poured upon Keats by this periodical work is supposed to have hastened his end, which was slowly approaching when the criticism before-mentioned appeared. This original and singular example of poetical genius was of humble descent, and was born in Moorfields, London, October 29, 1796, at a liverystables which had belonged to his grandfather. He received a classical education at Enfield, under a Mr. Clarke, and was apprenticed to Mr. Hammond, a surgeon at Edmonton. The son of his schoolmaster Clarke encouraged the first germs of the poetical faculty which he early observed in the young poet, and introduced him to Mr. Leigh Hunt, who is reported to have been the means of his introduction to the public. Keats was an indi. vidual of extreme sensitiveness, so that he would betray emotion even to tears on hearing a noble action recited, or at the mention of a glowing thought or one of deep pathos: yet both his moral and personal courage were above all suspicion. His health was always delicate, for he had been a seven months' child; and it appears that the symptoms of premature decay, or rather of fragile vitality, were long indicated by his organization, before consumption decidedly displayed itself. The juvenile productions of Keats were published in 1817, the author being at that time in his twenty-first year. His favorite sojourn appears to have been Hampstead, the localities of which


village were the scenes of his earliest abstractions, and the prompters of many of his best poetical productions: most of his personal friends, too, resided in the neighborhood. His first published volume, though the greater part of it was not above mediocrity, contained passages and lines of rare beauty. His political sentiments differing from those of the Quarterly Review, being manly and independent, were sins never to be forgiven; and as in that party work literary judgment was always dealt out according to political congeniality of feeling, with the known servility of its writers, an author like Keats had no chance of being judged fairly. He was friendless and unknown, and could not even attract notice to a just complaint if he appealed to the public, from his being yet obscure as an author. This Gifford, the editor of the Quarterly, well knew, and poured his malignity upon his unoffending victim in proportion as he was conscious of the want of power in the object of his attack to resist it. A scion of nobility might have scribbled nonsense and been certain of applause; but a singular genius springing up by its own vitality in an obscure corner, was by all means to be crushed.—Gifford had been a cobbler, and the son of the livery-stable-keeper was not worthy of his critical toleration . Thus it always is with those narrow-minded persons who rise by the force of accident from vulgar obscurity: they cannot tolerate a brother, much less superior power or genius in that brother. On the publication of Keats's next work, “Endymion,” Gifford attacked it with all the bitterness of which his pen was capable, and did not hesitate, before he saw the work, to announce his intention of doing so to the publisher. Keats had endeavored, as much as was consistent with independent feel. ing, to conciliate the critics at large, as may be observed in his preface to that poem. He merited to be treated with indulgence, not wounded by the envenomed shafts of political animosity for literary errors. His book abounded in passages of true poetry, which were of course passed over; and it is difficult to decide whether the cowardice or the cruelty of the attack upon it, most deserve execration. Of great sensitiveness, as already observed, and his frame already touched by a mortal distemper, he felt his hopes withcred, and his attempts to obtain honorable public notice in his

This Grave own scantily allotted days frustrated. He was

contains all that was mortal never to see his honorable fame: this preyed upon

of a his spirit and hastened his end, as has been alrea

YOUNG ENGLISH POET, dy noticed. The third and last of his works was

who, the little volume (his best work) containing "La

on his death-bed,

in the bitterness of his heart mia,” “ Isabella,” “The Eve of St. Agnes," and

at the malicious power of his enemies, “ Hyperion.”—That he was not a finished writer,

desired must be conceded; that, like Kærner in Germany, these words to be engraved on his tombstone

HERE LIES ONE he gave rich promise rather than matured fruit,

WHOSE NAME WAS WRIT IN WATER. may be granted; but they must indeed be ill

Feb. 24th, 1821. judges of genius who are not delighted with what he left, and do not see that, had he lived, he might The physiognomy of the young poet indicated nave worn a wreath of renown which time would his character. Sensibility was predominant, but not easily have withered. His was indeed an “un. there was no deficiency of power. His features toward fate," as Byron observes of him in the were well-defined, and delicately susceptible at eleventh canto of “ Don Juan."

every impression. His eyes were large and dark, For several years before his death, Keats had but his cheeks were sunk, and his face pale when felt that the disease which preyed upon him was he was tranquil. His hair was of a brown color, mortal, -that the agents of decay were at work and curled naturally. His head was small, and upon a body too imperfectly organized, or too set upon broad high shoulders, and a body disprofeebly constructed to sustain long the fire of exist- portionately large to his lower limbs, which, how. ence. He had neglected his own health to attend ever, were well-made. His stature was low; and a brother on his death-bed, when it would have his hands, says a friend (Mr. L. Hunt), were been far more prudent that he had recollected it faded, having prominent veins—which he would was necessary he should take care of himself. look upon, and pronounce to belong to one who Under the bereavement of this brother he was had seen fifty years. His temper was of the gen. combating his keen feelings, when the Zoilus oftlest description, and he felt deeply all favors conthe Quarterly so ferociously attacked him. The ferred upon him: in fact, he was one of those excitement of spirit was too much for his frame to marked and rare characters which genius stamps sustain; and a blow from another quarter, coming from their birth in her own mould; and whose about the same time, shook him so much, that he early consignment to the tomb has, it is most told a friend with tears “ his heart was breaking." probable, deprived the world of works calculated -He was now persuaded to try the climate of to delight, if not to astonish mankind—of producItaly, the refuge of those who have no more to tions to which every congenial spirit and kind hope for in their own; but which is commonly de quality of the human heart would have done layed until the removal onlv leads the traveller to homage, and confessed the power. It is to be la. the tomb. Thither he went to die. He was ac- mented that such promise should have been so companied by Mr. Severn, an artist of considerable prematurely blighted. talent, well known since in Rome. Mr. Severn Scattered through the writings of Keats will was a valuable and attached friend of the poet; be found passages which come home to every and they went first to Naples, and thence journey. bosom alive to each nobler and kindlier feeling of ed to Rome,—where Keats closed his eyes on the the human heart. There is much in them to be world on the 24th of February, 1821. He wished corrected, much to be altered for the better; but ardently for death before it came. The springs of there are sparkling gems of the first lustre every. vitality were left nearly dry long before; his lin- where to be found. It is strange, that in civilized gering as he did astonished his medical attendants. societies writings should be judged of, not by their His sufferings were great, but he was all resigna. merits, but by the faction to which their author tion. He said, not long before he died, that he belongs, though their productions may be solely "felt the flowers growing over him."

confined to subjects the most remote from contro On the examination of his body, post mortem, versy. In England, a party-man must yield up by his physicians, they found that life rarely so every thing to the opinions and dogmatism of his long tenanted a body shattered as his was: his caste. He must reject truths, pervert reason, mis lungs were well-nigh annihilated.—His remains represent all things coming from an opponent of were deposited in the cemetery of the Protestants another creed in religion or politics. Such a stat. at Rome, at the foot of the pyramid of Caius Ces of virulent and lamentable narrow-mindedness, is tius, near the Porta San Paolo, where a white the most certain that can exist for blighting the marble tombstone, bearing the following inscrip- tender blossoms of genius, and blasting the innotion, surmounted by a lyre in basso relievo, has cent and virtuous hopes of the young aspirant af. been erected to his memory :

ter honest fame. It is not necessary that a young

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