John Keats

William Maginn to William Blackwood, 10 April 1821; Margaret Oliphant, William Blackwood and his Sons (1897) 1:375.

April 10, 1821.

I have just this moment heard of poor Keats's death. We are unlucky in our butts. It would appear very cruel if any jokes now appeared on the pharmocopolitical part of Endymion. And indeed when I heard that the poor devil was in a consumption, I was something sorry that I annoyed him at all of late. If I were able I should write a dirge over him, as a kind of "amende honorable;" but my Muse, I am afraid, does not run to the mournful.

If you print my hymn strike out the hemistich concerning him, substituting anything you like — such as "Pale is the cheek of Leigh Hunt, the tea-drinking king of the Cockneys." I hope I am in time, for it would annoy me if it appeared that we were attacking any one who had it not in his power to reply — particularly an old enemy after his death.