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Chapter 2: a Keats manuscript

“Touch it,” said Leigh Hunt when he showed Bayard Taylor a lock of brown silky hair, “and you will have touched Milton's self.” The magic of the lock of hair is akin to that recognized by nomadic and untamed races in anything that has been worn close to the person of a great or fortunate being. Mr. Leland, much reverenced by the gypsies, whose language he speaks and whose lore he knows better than they know it, had a knife about his person which was supposed by them to secure the granting of any request if held in the hand. When he gave it away, it was like the transfer of fairy power to the happy recipient. The same lucky spell is attributed to a piece from the bride's garter, in Normandy, or to pins filched from her dress, in Sussex. For those more cultivated, the charm of this transmitted personality is best embodied

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