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

50. — To John Taylor.

My dear Taylor — I think I did wrong to leave to you all the trouble of Endymion — But I could not help it then — another time I shall be more bent to all sorts of troubles and disagreeables. Young men for some time have an idea that such a thing as happiness is to be had, and therefore are extremely impatient under any unpleasant restraining. In time however, of such stuff is the world about them, they know better, and instead of striving from uneasiness, greet it as an habitual sensation, a pannier which is to weigh upon them through life — And in proportion to my disgust at the task is my sense of your kindness and anxiety. The book pleased me much. It is very free from faults: and, although there are one or two words I should wish replaced, I see in many places an improvement greatly to the purpose.

I think those speeches which are related — those parts where the speaker repeats a speech, such as Glaucus’s repetition of Circe’s words, should have inverted commas to every line. In this there is a little confusion. — If we divide the speeches into identical and related; and to the former put merely one inverted Comma at the beginning and another at the end; and to the latter inverted Commas before every line, the book will be better understood at the 1st glance. Look at pages 126, 127, you will find in the 3d line the beginning of a related speech marked thus “Ah! art awake —” while, at the same time, in the next page the continuation of the identical speech is marked in the same manner, “Young man of Latmos —” You will find on the other side all the parts which should have inverted commas to every line.

I was proposing to travel over the North this summer. There is but one thing to prevent me. — I know nothing — I have read nothing — and I mean to follow Solomon’s directions, “Get learning — get understanding.” I find earlier days are gone by — I find that I can have no enjoyment in the world but continual drinking of knowledge. I find there is no worthy pursuit but the idea of doing some good for the world — Some do it with their Society — some with their wit — some with their benevolence — some with a sort of power of conferring pleasure and good-humour on all they meet — and in a thousand ways, all dutiful to the command of great Nature — there is but one way for me. The road lies through application, study, and thought. — I will pursue it; and for that end, purpose retiring for some years. I have been hovering for some time between an exquisite sense of the luxurious, and a love for philosophy — were I calculated for the former, I should be glad. But as I am not, I shall turn all my soul to the latter. — My brother Tom is getting better, and I hope I shall see both him and Reynolds better before I retire from the world. I shall see you soon, and have some talk about what Books I shall take with me.

Your very sincere friend

John Keats.

Pray remember me to Hessey Woodhouse and Percy Street.


Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:10