In 1804, Keats
being in his ninth year, his father was killed by a fall from his horse.
His mother seems to have been ambitious for her children, and there was some talk of sending John to Harrow
Fortunately this plan was thought too expensive, and he was sent instead to the school of Mr. Clarke
with his brothers.
A maternal uncle, who had distinguished himself by his courage under Duncan
, was the hero of his nephews, and they went to school resolved to maintain the family reputation for courage.
John was always fighting, and was chiefly noted among his school-fellows as a strange compound of pluck and sensibility.
He attacked an usher who had boxed his brother's ears; and when his mother died, in 1810, was moodily inconsolable, hiding himself for several days in a nook under the master's desk, and refusing all comfort from teacher or friend.
He was popular at school, as boys of spirit always are, and impressed his companions with a sense of his power.
They thought he would one day be a famous soldier.
This may have been owing to the stories he told them of the heroic uncle, whose deeds, we may be sure, were properly famoused by the boy Homer
, and whom they probably took for an admiral at the least, as it would have been well for Keats
's literary prosperity if he had been.
At any rate, they thought John would be a great man, which is the main thing, for the public opinion of the playground is truer and more discerning than that of the world, and if you tell us what the boy was, we will tell you what the man longs to be, however he may be repressed by necessity or fear of the police reports.
Lord Houghton has failed to discover anything else especially worthy of record in the school-life of Keats
He translated the twelve books of the Aeneid, read Robinson