Letters of John Keats to His Family and Friends, by John Keats

2. — To Benjamin Robert Haydon.

My dear Sir — Last evening wrought me up, and I cannot forbear sending you the following —

Yours unfeignedly,

John Keats.

Removed to 76 Cheapside.

Great spirits now on earth are sojourning;

He of the cloud, the cataract, the lake,

Who on Helvellyn’s summit, wide awake,

Catches his freshness from Archangel’s wing:

He of the rose, the violet, the spring,

The social smile, the chain for Freedom’s sake:

And lo! — whose stedfastness would never take

A meaner sound than Raphael’s whispering.

And other spirits there are standing apart

Upon the forehead of the age to come;

These, these will give the world another heart,

And other pulses. Hear ye not the hum

Of mighty workings in the human mart?

Listen awhile ye nations, and be dumb.7

7 The references are of course to Wordsworth, Leigh Hunt, and Haydon. In the sonnet as printed in the Poems of 1817, and all later editions, the last line but one breaks off at “workings,” the words “in the human mart” having been omitted by Haydon’s advice.


Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:56