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which, as his biographer says, "scarcely touched the public attention," though the poet himself attributed its failure to the favourite scapegoat of unhappy authors-an inactive publisher. His very failure, however, had the effect of arousing all his energies, and he immediately engaged upon his great poem, "Endymion," which he finished in November, 1817. The MS. is still extant, with all the erasures, corrections, &c., of the author; and it is not a little remarkable that it goes a great way to confirm almost the only criticism in the too-celebrated "article," which may not be pronounced unjust and bigoted-viz., that the author had been guided in the composition of his poem, not by the subject itself, but by the thoughts suggested by the rhymes of the successive couplets. The alterations which the MS. still exhibits, are precisely such as to bear out this observation.

It would appear, too, as if in "Endymion" Keats had proposed to himself a task of fixed and given dimensions, and resolved to fill up these dimensions, irrespective of the matter of the poem; or rather, as if he had systematically tasked his inventive powers to discover poetic materials in the required quantity.

"As to what you say about my being a Poet, I can return no answer but by saying that the high idea I have of poetical fame makes me think I see it towering too high above me. At any rate I have no right to talk until Endymion' is finished. It will be a test, a trial of my powers of imagination, and chiefly of my invention-which is a rare thing indeed-by which I must make 4000 lines of one bare circumstance, and fill them with poetry. And when I consider that this is a great task, and that when done it will take me but a dozen paces towards the Temple of Fame-it makes me say 'God forbid that I should be without such a task!' I have heard Hunt say, and [I] may be asked, Why endeavour after a long poem?' To which I should answer, 'Do not the lovers of poetry like to have a little region to wander in, where they may pick and choose, and in which the images are so numerous that many are forgotten and found new in a second reading,-which may be food for a week's stroll in the summer?' Do not they like this better than what they can read through before Mrs. Williams comes down stairs ?-a morning's work at most.

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Besides, a long poem is a test of invention, which I take to be the polar star of poetry, as Fancy is the sails, and Imagination the rudder. Did our great poets ever write short pieces? I mean, in the shape of Tales. This same invention seems indeed of late

years to have been forgotten in a partial excellence. But enough of this-I put on no laurels till I shall have finished Endymion,' and I hope Apollo is not enraged at my having made mockery of him at Hunt's.'"-vol. i. pp. 61, 62.

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We need not say that it was the "Endymion" which drew forth the articles already referred to, as well as that of Lord Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review, though not for nearly two years later, on occasion of the publication of his third volume, containing "Lamia; and other Poems. Mr. Milnes, as we have already said, appears to think that Keats's letters prove him to have been utterly indifferent to these attacks, and there certainly is one which puts a brave face upon the matter.

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'I cannot but feel indebted to those gentlemen who have taken my part. As for the rest, I begin to get a little acquainted with my own strength and weakness. Praise or blame has but a mometary effect on the man whose love of beauty in the abstract makes him a severe critic on his own works. My own domestic criticism has given me pain without comparison beyond what 'Blackwood' or the 'Quarterly' could inflict: and also when I feel I am right, no external praise can give me such a glow as my own solitary reperception and ratification of what is fine. J. S. is perfectly right in regard to the slip-shod Endymion.' That it is so is no fault of mine. No! though it may sound a little paradoxical, it is as good as I had power to make it by myself. Had I been nervous about it being a perfect piece, and with that view asked advice, and trembled over every page, it would not have been written; for it is not in my nature to fumble. I will write independently. I have written independently without judgment, I may write independently, and with judgment, hereafter. The Genius of Poetry must work out its own salvation in a man. It cannot be matured by law and precept, but by sensation and watchfulness in itself. That which is creative must create itself. In Endymion' I leaped headlong into the sea, and thereby have become better acquainted with the soundings, the quicksands, and the rocks, than if I had stayed upon the green shore, and piped a silly pipe, and took tea and comfortable advice. I was never afraid of failure; for I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest."-pp. 214, 215, vol. i.

Still, there is sufficient trace, even in the boldest of his letters, of his having felt the attack keenly. He "has hopes of the non-appearance" of the article in Blackwood; he catches at a very trifling circumstance in confirmation of this hope; he does not, however, "mind it much;" but


if they go to such lengths with him as they did with Hunt, he must infallibly," he declares, "he declares, "call the writer to account;" (194.) and although it is not improbable that the popular impression is an exaggerated view of the injurious impression produced on his health by these most bigoted and unjust criticisms, still, from these and many similar indications, we have no doubt that it is in great part true and well-founded.

It is impossible for us to follow Mr. Milnes through the details of Keats's private life and friendships. His associates and friends are, for the most part, already known from Leigh Hunt's memoir. The most remarkable of them were Hunt himself, Hazlitt, Charles Brown, Mr. Dilke, Haydon the academician, the Rev. Benjamin Bailey, Mr. Taylor, and Severn the painter, to whose more than friendly devotedness he was indebted for the only consolation which his last days enjoyed. His circumstances, as might have been expected, became early embarrassed. He began to feel the terrors "of that hydra, the dun," and, in the year 1819, he half resolved to try to gain a livelihood by periodical writing. But the love of poetry prevailed; and about this time he formed an attachment which, though not unreturned, was nevertheless doomed to disappointment, in consequence of his poverty. We have seldom read any thing more painful than the following letter, written, in all the hopelessness of his love, almost upon his death-bed:


"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. persuasion that I shall see her no more will kill ine. 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 cannot bear to leave her. Oh, God! God! God! Everything 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 sufficient 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 a 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!-O 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 anyhow, to see her name written, would be more than I can bear. 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-pp. 77, 78, vol. ii.

We have said that this letter was written almost upon his death-bed. In the year 1819, the first decided symptoms of his hereditary disease, consumption, which had already carried off his mother and his brother Thomas, showed themselves in an attack which could hardly be mistaken.. He recovered somewhat from its worst symptoms; but in the following year his case had become so threatening, that he was ordered to try a warmer climate, as the only hope of recovery. Alas! it was too late! He sailed for Naples, accompanied by his generous friend Severn, and after a short stay in that city, arrived in Rome in such a state, that recovery was utterly hopeless. We can only find room for a few extracts from Severn's most painful and touching diary. The friends were all but penniless.

"Torlonia, the banker, has refused us any more money; the bill is returned unaccepted, and to-morrow I must pay my last crown for this cursed lodging-place: and what is more, if he dies, all the beds and furniture will be burnt and the walls scraped, and they will come on me for a hundred pounds or more! But, above all, this noble fellow lying on the bed and without the common spiritual comforts that many a rogue and fool has in his last moments! If I do break down it will be under this; but I pray that some angel of goodness may yet lead him through this dark wilderness.

"If I could leave Keats every day for a time I could soon raise money by my painting, but he will not let me out of his sight, he will not bear the face of a stranger. I would rather cut my tongue out than tell him I must get the money-that would kill him at a word. You see my hopes of being kept by the Royal Academy will be cut off, unless I send a picture by the spring. I have written to Sir T. Lawrence. I have got a volume of Jeremy Taylor's works, which Keats has heard me read to-night. This is a treasure indeed, and came when I should have thought it hopeless. Why may not other good things come? I will keep myself up with such hopes. Dr. Clark is still the same, though he knows about the bill: he is afraid the next change will be to diarrhoea. Keats sees all thishis knowledge of anatomy makes every change tenfold worse: every way he is unfortunate, yet every one offers me assistance on

his account. He cannot read any letters, he has made me put them by him unopened. They tear him to pieces-he dare not look on the outside of any more: make this known.


"Feb. 18th.-I have just got your letter of Jan. 15th. The contrast of your quiet friendly Hampstead with this lonely place and our poor suffering Keats, brings the tears into my eyes. wish many many times that he had never left you. His recovery would have been impossible in England; but his excessive grief has made it equally so. In your care he seemed to me like an infant in its mother's arms; you would have smoothed down his pain by variety of interests, and his death would have been eased by the presence of many friends. 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 situation. I have kept him alive week after week. He has refused all food, and I have prepared his meals six times a day, till he had no excuse left. I have only dared to leave him while he slept. It is impossible to conceive what his sufferings have been he might, in his anguish, have plunged into the grave in secret, and not a syllable been known about him: this reflection alone repays me for all I have done. Now, he is still alive and calm. He would not hear that he was better: the thought of recovery is beyond everything 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.

"In the last week a great desire for books came across his mind. I got him all I could, and three days this charm lasted, but now it has gone. Yet he is very tranquil. He is more and more reconciled to his horrible misfortunes.

"Feb. 14th.-Little or no change has taken place, except this beautiful one, that his mind is growing to great quietness and peace. I find this change has to do with the increasing weakness of his body, but to me it seems like a delightful sleep: I have been beating about in the tempest of his mind so long. To-night he has talked very much, but so easily, that he fell at last into a pleasant sleep. He seems to have happy dreams. 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-that on his grave-stone shall be this inscription :


You will understand this so well that I need not say a word about it.'"-pp. 88-91, vol. ii.

"Last night I thought he was going; I could hear the phlegm in his throat; he bade me lift him up in the bed or he would die with pain. I watched him all night, expecting him to be suffocated

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