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Peru (Peru) (search for this): chapter 5
ht 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 Crusoe and the Incas of Peru, and looked into Shakespeare. He left school in 1810, with little Latin and no Greek, but he had studied Spence's Polymetis, Tooke's Pantheon, and Lempriere's Dictionary, and knew gods, nymphs, and heroes, which were quite as good company perhaps for him as aorists and aspirates. It is pleasant to fancy the horror of those respectable writers if their pages could suddenly have become alive under their pens with all that the young poet saw in them. There is always some one willing to make
Dryden, Tompkins County, New York (New York, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
o off. He don't like any one to look at her or to speak to her. Alas, the tropical warmth became a consuming fire! His passion cruel grown took on a hue Fierce and sanguineous. Between this time and the spring of 1820 he seems to have worked assiduously. Of course, worldly success was of more importance than ever. He began Hyperion, but had given it up in September, 1819, because, as he said, there were too many Miltonic inversions in it. He wrote Lamia after an attentive study of Dryden's versification. This period also produced the Eve of St. Agnes, Isabella, and the odes to the Nightingale and to the Grecian Urn. He studied Italian, read Ariosto, and wrote part of a humorous poem, The Cap and Bells. He tried his hand at tragedy, and Lord Houghton has published among his Remains, Otho the Great, and all that was ever written of King Stephen. We think he did unwisely, for a biographer is hardly called upon to show how ill his biographee could do anything. In the win
Enfield (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
lled 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 at Enfield with his brothers. A maternal uncle, who had distinguished himself by his courage under Duncan at Camperdown, was the hero of his nephews, and they went to school resolved to maintain the family reputation for courage. John was always fightingol he was apprenticed for five years to a surgeon at Edmonton. His master was a Mr. Hammond, of some eminence in his profession, as Lord Houghton takes care to assure us. The place was of more importance than the master, for its neighborhood to Enfield enabled him to keep up his intimacy with the family of his former teacher, Mr. Clarke, and to borrow books of them. In 1812, when he was in his seventeenth year, Mr. Charles Cowden Clarke lent him the Faerie Queene. Nothing that is told of Orp
Camperdown (Louisiana, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
aydon tells the story differently, but I think Lord Houghton's version the best. 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 at Enfield with his brothers. A maternal uncle, who had distinguished himself by his courage under Duncan at Camperdown, 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,
Edmonton (Kentucky, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
n it, for the old lady pronounces it odd that any one should determine to be a poet, and seems to have wished to hint that the matter was determined earlier and by a higher disposing power. There are few children who do not soon discover the charm of rhyme, and perhaps fewer who can resist making fun of the Mrs. Graftys, of Craven Street, Finsbury, when they have the chance. See Haydon's Autobiography, Vol. L p. 361. On leaving school he was apprenticed for five years to a surgeon at Edmonton. His master was a Mr. Hammond, of some eminence in his profession, as Lord Houghton takes care to assure us. The place was of more importance than the master, for its neighborhood to Enfield enabled him to keep up his intimacy with the family of his former teacher, Mr. Clarke, and to borrow books of them. In 1812, when he was in his seventeenth year, Mr. Charles Cowden Clarke lent him the Faerie Queene. Nothing that is told of Orpheus or Amphion is more wonderful than this miracle of Sp
Scotland (United Kingdom) (search for this): chapter 5
purpose, and though he no doubt penned many a stanza when he should have been anatomizing, and walked the hospitals accompanied by the early gods, nevertheless passed a very creditable examination in 1817. In the spring of this year, also, he prepared to take his first degree as poet, and accordingly published a small volume containing a selection of his earlier essays in verse. It attracted little attention, and the rest of this year seems to have been occupied with a journey on foot in Scotland, and the composition of Endymion, which was published in 1818. Milton's Tetrachordon was not better abused; but Milton's assailants were unorganized, and were obliged each to print and pay for his own dingy little quarto, trusting to the natural laws of demand and supply to furnish him with readers. Keats was arraigned by the constituted authorities of literary justice. They might be, nay, they were Jeffrieses and Scroggses, but the sentence was published, and the penalty inflicted befo
Milton, Mass. (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
ttention, and the rest of this year seems to have been occupied with a journey on foot in Scotland, and the composition of Endymion, which was published in 1818. Milton's Tetrachordon was not better abused; but Milton's assailants were unorganized, and were obliged each to print and pay for his own dingy little quarto, trusting Milton's assailants were unorganized, and were obliged each to print and pay for his own dingy little quarto, trusting to the natural laws of demand and supply to furnish him with readers. Keats was arraigned by the constituted authorities of literary justice. They might be, nay, they were Jeffrieses and Scroggses, but the sentence was published, and the penalty inflicted before all England. The difference between his fortune and Milton's was tMilton's was that between being pelted by a mob of personal enemies and being set in the pillory. In the first case, the annoyance brushes off mostly with the mud; in the last, there is no solace but the consciousness of suffering in a great cause. This solace, to a certain extent, Keats had; for his ambition was noble, and he hoped not to ma
Hampstead (United Kingdom) (search for this): chapter 5
ear to leave her. O 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 see her, I hear her. There is nothing in the world of sufficient interest to divert me from her a moment. This was the case when I was in England; I cannot recollect, without shuddering, the time that I was a prisoner at Hunt's, and used to keep my eyes fixed on Hampstead all day. Then there was a good hope of seeing her again,— now! —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 anyhow, to see her name written, would be more than I can bear. My dear Brown, what am I to do? Where can I look for consolation or ease? If I had any chance of recovery, this passion would kill me. Indeed, through the whole of my illness, both at your
ol he was apprenticed for five years to a surgeon at Edmonton. His master was a Mr. Hammond, of some eminence in his profession, as Lord Houghton takes care to assure us. The place was of more importance than the master, for its neighborhood to Enfield enabled him to keep up his intimacy with the family of his former teacher, Mr. Clarke, and to borrow books of them. In 1812, when he was in his seventeenth year, Mr. Charles Cowden Clarke lent him the Faerie Queene. Nothing that is told of Orpheus or Amphion is more wonderful than this miracle of Spenser's, transforming a surgeon's apprentice into a great poet. Keats learned at once the secret of his birth, and henceforward his indentures ran to Apollo instead of Mr. Hammond. Thus could the Muse defend her son. It is the old story, —the lost heir discovered by his aptitude for what is gentle and knightly. Haydon tells us that he used sometimes to say to his brother he feared he should never be a poet, and if he was not he would d
cieties, but him who finds a nepenthe for the soul we elect into the small academy of the immortals. The poems of Keats mark an epoch in English poetry; for, however often we may find traces of it in others, in them found its most unconscious expression that reaction against the barrel-organ style which had been reigning by a kind of sleepy divine right for half a century. The lowest point was indicated when there was such an utter confounding of the common and the uncommon sense that Dr. Johnson wrote verse and Burke prose. The most profound gospel of criticism was, that nothing was good poetry that could not be translated into good prose, as if one should say that the test of sufficient moonlight was that tallow-candles could be made of it. We find Keats at first going to the other extreme, and endeavoring to extract green cucumbers from the rays of tallow; but we see also incontestable proof of the greatness and purity of his poetic gift in the constant return toward equilibri
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