Keats in Italy


Second leaf of MS Keats 4.3.27. Presented by Arthur A. Houghton, Jr., 1970.

John Keats. Letter to Charles Armitage Brown, November 1, 1820. Transcribed by Charles Brown.

Brown wrote to Keats after receiving Keats’s November 1st letter, urging Keats to “Keep your mind easy, my dear fellow, & no fear of your body... If I have a right to guess, a certain person next door is a little disappointed at not receiving a letter from you, but not a word has dropped. She wrote to you lately... ”

Keats replied with this letter, which now exists only in this transcription of Brown’s.

The persuasion that I shall see her no more will kill me... My dear Brown, I should have had her when I was in health, and I should have remained well.  I can bear to die – I cannot bear to leave her.  Oh, God! God! God! Everything I have in my trunks that reminds me of her goes through me like a spear.  The silk lining she put in my travelling cap scalds my head.  My imagination is horribly vivid about her – I hear her. There is nothing in the world of sufficient interest to divert me from her for a moment... O that I could be buried near where she lives! I am afraid to write to her – to receive a letter from her – to see her handwriting would break my heart – even to hear of her any how, to see her name written would be more than I can bear... My dear Brown, for my sake, be her advocate for ever... I am afraid to write to her.  I should like her to know that I do not forget her.

MS Keats 4.3.27, f.32.  John Keats to Charles Armitage Brown, 1 November 1820. Presented by Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970.