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it with anybody's confidence. For this I cannot wish them well; I care not to see any of them again. If I am the theme, I will not be the friend of idle gossips. Good gods, what a shame it is our loves should be so put into the microscope of a coterie! Their laughs should not affect you (I may perhaps give you reasons some day for these laughs, for I suspect a few people to hate me well enough, for reasons I know of, who have pretended a great friendship for me) when in competition with one, who, if he never should see you again, would make you the saint of his memory. These laughers, who do not like you, who envy you for your beauty, who would have God-bless'd me from you for ever, who were plying me with disencouragements with respect to you eternally. People are revengeful: do not mind them
- do nothing but love me. If I knew that for certain, life and health will in such event be a heaven, and death itself will be less painful. I long to believe in immortality. I shall never be able to bid you an entire farewell. If I am destined to be happy with you here — how short is the longest life. I wish to believe in immortality – I wish to live with you for ever. Do not let my name ever pass between you and those laughers; if I have no other merit than the great love for you, that were sufficient to keep me sacred and unmentioned in such society. If I have been cruel and unjust, I swear my love has ever been greater than my cruelty, which last [sic] but a minute; whereas my love, come what will, shall last for ever. If concession to me has hurt your pride, God knows I have had little pride in my heart when thinking of you. Your name never passes my lips — do not let mine pass yours. Those people do not like me. After reading my letter, you even then wish to see me. I am strong enough to walk over — but I dare not. I shall feel so much pain in parting with you again. My dearest love, I am afraid to see you; I am strong, but not strong enough to see you. Will my arm be ever round you again, and if so shall I be obliged to leave you again ? My sweet love! I am happy whilst I believe your first letter. Let me be but certain that you are mine heart and soul, and I could die more happily than I could otherwise live. If you think me cruel — if you think I have sleighted you - do muse it over again and see into my heart. My love to you is “true as truth's simplicity and simpler than the infancy of truth,” as I think I once said before. How could I sleight you? How threaten to leave you ? not in the spirit of a threat to you no – but in the spirit of wretchedness in myself. My fairest, my delicious, my angel Fanny! do not believe me such a vulgar fellow. I will be as patient in illness and as believing in love as I am able. Yours for ever, my dearest,
I do not write this till the last,
MY DEAREST GIRL:
I wish you could invent some means to make me at all happy without you. Every hour I am more and more concentrated in you; everything else tastes like chaff in my mouth. I feel it almost impossible to go to Italy - the fact is I cannot leave you, and shall never taste one minute's content until it pleases chance to let me live with you for good. But I will not go on at this rate. A person in health, as you are, can have no conception of the horrors that nerves and a temper like mine go through. What island do your friends propose retiring to? I should be happy to go with you there alone, but in company I should object to it; the backbitings and jealousies of new colonists who have nothing else to amuse themselves, is unbearable. Mr. Dilke came to see me yesterday, and gave me a very great deal more pain than pleasure. I shall never be able any more to endure the society of any of those who used to meet at Elm Cottage and Wentworth Place. The last two years taste like brass upon my palate. If I cannot live with you I will live alone. I do not think my health will improve much while I am separated from you. For all this I am averse to seeing you — I cannot bear flashes of light and return into my gloom again. I am not so unhappy now as I should be if I had seen you yesterday. To be happy with you seems such an impossibility! it requires a luckier star than mine! it will never be. I enclose a passage from one of your letters, which I want you to alter a little — I want (if you will have it so) the matter express'd less coldly to me. If my health would bear it, I could write a poem which I have in my head, which would be a consolation for people in such a situation as mine. I would show
some one in love as I am, with a person living in such liberty as you do. Shakespeare always sums up matters in the most sovereign manner. Hamlet's heart was full of such misery as mine is when he said to Ophelia, “Go to a nunnery, go, go!” Indeed, I should like to give up the matter at once-I should like to die. I am sickened at the brute world which you are smiling with. I hate men, and women more. I see nothing but thorns for the future. Wherever I may be next winter, in Italy or nowhere, Brown will be living near you with his indecencies. I see no prospect of any rest. Suppose me in Rome — well, I should there see you as in a magic glass going to and from town at all hours, — I wish you could infuse a little confidence of human nature into my heart. I cannot muster any — the world is too brutal for me. I am glad there is such a thing as the grave
- I am sure I shall never have any rest till I get there. At any rate, I will indulge myself by never seeing any more Dilke or Brown or any of their friends. I wish I was either in your arms, full of faith, or that a thunder bolt would strike me. God bless you.
TN September, 1820, Keats's health was so
1 much broken that his physicians advised that he go to Italy, hoping that a gentler climate might lengthen his life. He accordingly started on his journey, accompanied by his faithful friend Joseph Severn, the painter. The journey was delayed by storms and a quarantine of ten days at Naples. His health, when he arrived in Naples, was in no way mended. At Naples he received a pressing invitation from Shelley to visit him at Pisa. The travelers pressed on to Rome, however, where Keats was taken in charge by Dr. (afterward Sir James) Clark, who was all kindness and attention to the sufferer. The last letter written by Keats was that to Mr. Brown, from Rome, and dated November 30, 1820. That letter gives some VOL. I.