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to acquire something by temporary writing in periodical works. You must agree with me how unwise it is to keep feeding upon hopes which, depending so much on the state of temper and imagination, appear gloomy or bright, near or afar off, just as it happens. say I want tact; that is easily acquired. . . I should, a year or two ago, have spoken my mind on every subject with the utmost simplicity. I hope I have learned a little better, and am confident I shall be able to cheat as well as any literary Jew of the market, and shine up an article on anything without much knowledge of the subject--aye, like an orange. I would willingly have recourse to other means. I cannot; I am fit for nothing but literature. . . . Notwithstanding my aristocratic' temper, I cannot help being very much pleased with the present public proceedings. I hope sincerely I shall be able to put a mite of help to the liberal side of the question before I die.”
On the following day Keats wrote to Brown on the same subject,
“I will write on the liberal side of the question for whoever will pay me. I have not known yet what it is to he diligent. I purpose living in town in a cheap lodging, and endeavouring, for a beginning, to get the theatricals of some paper. . . . I shall apply to Hazlitt, who knows the market as well as any one, for something to bring me in a few pounds as soon as possible. I shall not suffer my pride to hinder me. The whisper may go round-I
shall not hear it. If I can get an article in The Edinburgh, I will. One must not be delicate."
In pursuance of this plan, Keats did, for a few days in October, take a lodging in Westminster. He then reverted to Hampstead, and finally the scheme came to nothing, principally perhaps because his fatal illness began, and everything had to be given up which was not directly controlled by considerations of health.
AVING now gone through the narrative of Keats's
life and death, and also the narrative of his literary work, we have before us the more delicate and exacting task of forming some judgment of both,—to estimate his character, and appraise his writings. But first I pause a brief while for the purpose of relating a little that took place after his decease, and mentioning a few particulars regarding his surviving relatives and friends.
Keats was buried in the Protestant Cemetery at Rome amid the overgrown ruins of the Honorian walls, surmounted by the pyramid-tomb of Caius Cestius, a Tribune of the People whose monument has long survived his fame : this used to be traditionally called the Tomb of Remus. There were but few graves on the spot when Keats was laid there. In recent years the portion of the cemetery where he reposes has been cut oft by a fortification. A little altar-tomb was set up for him, sculptured with a Greek lyre, and inscribed with his name and his own epitaph, “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.” Severn attended affectionately to all this, and the whole was completed about two years after the
poet's death. In 1875 General Sir Vincent Eyre and some other Englishmen and Americans repaired the stone, and placed on an adjacent wall a medallion portrait of Keats, presented by its sculptor, Mr. Warrington Wood. Severn, who died in August 1879, having been British Consul in Rome for many years, now lies in close proximity to his friend. Shelley's remains are interred hard by, but in the new cemetery,—not the old one, which received the bones of Keats. As early as 1836 Severn was able to attest that his connection with the poet had been of benefit to his own professional career. The friend and death-bed companion of Keats had by that time become a personage, apart from the merit, be it greater or less, of his performances as a painter.
Severn's letters addressed to Armitage Brown show that it was expected that Brown should write a Life of Keats. The non-appearance of any such work was made a matter of remonstrance in 1834; and at one time George Keats, though conscious of not being quite the right man for the purpose, thought of supplying the deficiency. Severn also had had a similar idea. Brown was in Italy in 1832, and there he met Mr. Richard Monckton Milnes, afterwards Lord Houghton. He returned to England some three years later, and was about to produce the desired Life when a new project entered his mind, and he emigrated to New Zealand. He then handed over to Mr. Milnes all his collections of Keats's writings, and the biographical notices which he had compiled, and these furnished a substantive basis for Mr. Milnes's work published in 1848–a work written with abundant sympathy,
invaluable at its own date and ever since to all lovers of the poet's writings. Brown died towards 1842.
George Keats voluntarily paid all the debts left by his brother. These have not been precisely detailed : but it appears that Messrs. Taylor and Hessey had made an advance of £150, and there must have been something not inconsiderable due to Brown, and probably also to Dilke, who assured George that John Keats had known nothing of direct want of either money or friends. George, who has been described as “the most manly and selfpossessed of men,” settled at Louisville, Kentucky, where he became a prominent citizen, and left a family creditably established. He died in 1841, and his widow remarried with a Mr. Jeffrey. In one of his letters addressed to his sister, April 1824, there is a pleasant little critique of “Don Quixote." It gives one so prepossessing an idea of its writer that I am tempted to extract it :
“Your face is decidedly not Spanish, but English all
If I fancied you to resemble Don Quixote, I should fancy a handsome, intelligent, melancholy countenance, with something wild but benevolent about the eyes, a lofty forehead but not very broad, with finelyarched eyebrows, denoting candour and generosity. He is an immense favourite of mine ; and I cannot help feeling angry with the great Cervantes for bringing him into situations where he is the laughing-stock of minds so inferior to his own. It is evident he was a great favourite of the author, and it is evident he was united with the chivalric spirits he so wittily ridicules. He is