Keats in Italy


MS Keats 1.87. Bequest of Amy Lowell, 1925.

John Keats. Autograph letter to Charles Armitage Brown, September 28, [1820].

Keats’s close friend Charles Armitage Brown never approved of Brawne or her relationship with Keats.  Off the coast of the Isle of Wight, on the way to Italy, Keats wrote Brown this letter.  Keats, who could not bear to write Brawne to say good-bye, begged Browne to look after her following Keats’s death.

I think without my mentioning it for my sake you would be a friend to Miss Brawne when I am dead. You think she has many faults - but, for my sake, think she has not one - if there is any thing you can do for her by word or deed I know you will do it... The thought of leaving Miss Brawne is beyond every thing horrible--the sense of darkness coming over me--I eternally see her figure eternally vanishing. Some of the phrases she was in the habit of using during my last nursing at Wentworth place ring in my ears--Is there another Life? Shall I awake and find all this a dream? There must be we cannot be created for this sort of suffering.

MS Keats 1.87.  John Keats to Charles Armitage Brown, 28 September [1820].  Bequest of Amy Lowell, 1925.