States Consul at Goderich, Ontario
, who has kindly given me a photograph of it. The verses are in Keats
's well-known and delicate handwriting, and exhibit a series of erasures and substitutions which are now most interesting, inasmuch as the changes in each instance enrich greatly the value of the word-painting.
To begin with, the title varies slightly from that now adopted, and reads simply “On Melancholy,” to which the word “Ode” is now prefixed by the printers.
In the second line, where he had half written “Henbane” for the material of his incantation, he blots it out and puts “Wolfsbane,” instantly abandoning the tamer suggestion and bringing in all the wildness and the superstition that have gathered for years around the Loupgarou and the Wehrwolf.
This is plainly no amendment suggested afterward by another person, but is due unmistakably to the quick action of his own mind.
There is no other change until the end of the first stanza, where the last two lines were originally written thus:
For shade to shade will come too heavily
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.
It is noticeable that he originally wrote “down” for “drown,” and, in afterward inserting