1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Keats

Mary Russell Mitford to Sir William Elford, 5 July 1820; L'Estrange, Life of Mary Russell Mitford (1870) 1:340-41.



Poor John Keats is dying of the Quarterly Review. This is a sad, silly thing, but it is true. A young, delicate, imaginative boy — that withering article fell upon him like an east wind. I am afraid he had no chance of recovery. Mr. Gifford's behavior is very bad. He sent word that if he wrote again his poem would be properly reviewed, which was admitting the falsity of the first critique, and yet says that he has been Keats's best friend, because somebody sent him twenty-five pounds to console him for the injustice of the Quarterly. I am very sorry for John Keats. He had a thousand faults and a million of beauties; and his is struck to earth by the mere effect of worldly hardness and derision upon a tender heart and a sensitive temper. I am very sorry for John Keats.... did you ever see his Endymion? It is the easiest thing in the world to laugh at it, but there are passages which could hardly be equalled by any living poet. And he was so young — so likely to improve. Are you not sorry for him?