« НазадПродовжити »
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 de. serted his post, and his name might have paged with Milton.
“Ever much yours,
“ JANE PORTER.” “ Ditton Cottage, Dec. 4, 1818.
“ To H. NEVILLE, Esq., Esher.”
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 painful; 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 I 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. Tay. lor 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
Do thy mild light and loveliness belong;
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
feel certain of any truth, but from a clear perception of its beauty, and I find myself very young-minded, even in that perceptive power, which I hope will increase. A year ago I could not understand, in the slightest degree, Raphael's Cartoons; now I begin to read them a little. And how did I learn to do so ? By seeing something done in quite an opposite spirit; I mean a picture of Guido's, in which all the Saints, instead of that heroic simplicity and unaffected grandeur, which they inherit from Raphael, bad, each of them, both in countenance and gesture, all the canting, solemn, melo-dramatic mawkishness of Mackenzie's Father Nicholas. When I was last at Haydon's, I looked over a book of prints, taken from the fresco of the church at Milan, the name of which I forget. In it were comprised specimens of the first and second age in Art in Italy. I do not think I ever had a greater treat, out of Shakspeare; full of romance and the most tender feeling; magnificence of drapery beyond every thing I ever saw, not excepting Raphael's,—but grotesque to a curious pitch ; yet still making up a fine whole, even finer to me than more accomplished works, as there was left so much room for imagination. I have not heard one of this last course of Hazlitt's Lectures. They were upon Wit and Humor, the English Comic Writers, &c.
I do not think I have any thing to say in the business-way. You will let me know what you would wish done with your property in England—what things you would wish sent out. But I am quite in the dark even as to your arrival in America. Your first letter will be the key by which I shall open your hearts and see what spaces want filling with any particular information. Whether the affairs of Europe are more or less interesting to you; whether you would like to hear of the Theatres, the Bear Garden, the Boxers, the Painters, the Lecturers, the Dress, the progress of Dandyism, the progress of Courtship, or the fate of Mary Mbeing a full, true, and très particular account of Miss Mary's ten suitors; how the first tried the effect of swearing, the second of stammering, the third of whispering, the fourth of sonnets, the fifth of Spanish-leather boots, the sixth of flattering her body, the seventh of flattering her mind, the eighth of flattering himself, the ninth of sticking to the mother, the tenth of kissing the chamber
maid and bidding her tell her mistress—but he was soon discharged. And now, for the time, I bid you good-bye. Your most affectionate Brother,
February 14, [1829.) MY DEAR BROTHER AND Sister,
How is it that we have not heard from you at the Settlement ? Surely the letters have miscarried. I am still at W entworth Place; indeed, I have kept in doors lately, resolved, if possible, to rid myself of my sore throat ; consequently I have not been to see your mother since my return from Chichester. Nothing worth speaking of happened at either place. I took down some of the thin paper, and wrote on it a little poem called “: St. Agnes' Eve,” which you will have as it is, when I have finished the blank part of the rest for you. I went out twice, at Chichester, to old dowager card-parties. I see very little now, and very few persons,-being almost tired of men and things. Brown and Dilke are very kind and considerate towards me. Another satire is expected from Lord Byron, called “Don Giovanni.” Yesterday I went to town for the first time these three weeks. I met people from all parts and of all sects. Mr. Woodhouse was looking up at a book-window in Newgate-street, and, being short sighted, twisted his muscles into so queer a style, that I stood by, in doubt whether it was him or his brother, if he has one; and, turning round, saw Mr. Hazlitt, with his son. Woodhouse proved to be Woodhouse, and not his brother, on his features subsiding. I have had a little business with Mr. Abbey ; from time to time he has behaved to me with a little brusquerie ; this hurt me a little, especially when I knew him to be the only man in England who dared to say a thing to me I did not approve of, without its being resented, or, at least, noticed ;-so I wrote him about it, and have made an alteration in my favor. I expect from this to see more of Fanny, who has been quite shut up from me. I see Cobbett has been attacking the Settlement; but I cannot tell what to believe, and shall be all at elbows till I hear from you. Mrs. S. met me the other day. I heard she said a thing I am not