toward the opposite extreme, and more than hints that he was not even hurt by it. This would have been true of Wordsworth
, who, by a constant companionship with mountains, had acquired something of their manners, but was simply impossible to a man of Keats
On the whole, perhaps, we need not respect Keats
the less for having been gifted with sensibility, and may even say what we believe to be true, that his health was injured by the failure of his book.
A man cannot have a sensuous nature and be pachydermatous at the same time, and if he be imaginative as well as sensuous, he suffers just in proportion to the amount of his imagination.
It is perfectly true that what we call the world, in these affairs, is nothing more than a mere Brocken
spectre, the projected shadow of ourselves; but as long as we do not know it, it is a very passable giant.
We are not without experience of natures so purely intellectual that their bodies had no more concern in their mental doings and sufferings than a house has with the good or ill fortune of its occupant.
But poets are not built on this plan, and especially poets like Keats
, in whom the moral seems to have so perfectly interfused the physical man, that you might almost say he could feel sorrow with his hands, so truly did his body, like that of Donne's Mistress Boulstred
, think and remember and forebode.
The healthiest poet of whom our civilization has been capable says that when he beholds
desert a beggar born,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
alluding, plainly enough, to the Giffords of his day,
And simple truth miscalled simplicity,