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

83. — To Benjamin Robert Haydon.

My dear Haydon — Upon my Soul I never felt your going out of the room at all — and believe me I never rhodomontade anywhere but in your Company — my general Life in Society is silence. I feel in myself all the vices of a Poet, irritability, love of effect and admiration — and influenced by such devils I may at times say more ridiculous things than I am aware of — but I will put a stop to that in a manner I have long resolved upon — I will buy a gold ring and put it on my finger — and from that time a Man of superior head shall never have occasion to pity me, or one of inferior Nunskull to chuckle at me. I am certainly more for greatness in a shade than in the open day — I am speaking as a mortal — I should say I value more the privilege of seeing great things in loneliness than the fame of a Prophet. Yet here I am sinning — so I will turn to a thing I have thought on more — I mean your means till your picture be finished: not only now but for this year and half have I thought of it. Believe me Haydon I have that sort of fire in my heart that would sacrifice everything I have to your service — I speak without any reserve — I know you would do so for me — I open my heart to you in a few words. I will do this sooner than you shall be distressed: but let me be the last stay — Ask the rich lovers of Art first — I’ll tell you why — I have a little money which may enable me to study, and to travel for three or four years. I never expect to get anything by my Books: and moreover I wish to avoid publishing — I admire Human Nature but I do not like Men. I should like to compose things honourable to Man — but not fingerable over by Men. So I am anxious to exist without troubling the printer’s devil or drawing upon Men’s or Women’s admiration — in which great solitude I hope God will give me strength to rejoice. Try the long purses — but do not sell your drawings or I shall consider it a breach of friendship. I am sorry I was not at home when Salmon called. Do write and let me know all your present whys and wherefores.

Yours most faithfully

John Keats.


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