John Keats

Lord Byron to John Murray, 26 April 1821; Letters and Journals, ed. Rowland E. Prothero (1898-1901) 5:269-70.

DEAR MORAY, — I sent you by the last "postis" a large packet, which will not do for publication (I suspect), being, as the Apprentices say, "damned low." I put off also for a week or two sending the Italian Scrawl which will form a Note to it. The reason is that, letters being opened, I wish to "bide a wee."

Well, have you published the Tragedy? and does the Letter take?

Is it true, what Shelley writes me, that poor John Keats died at Rome of the Quarterly Review? I am very sorry for it, though I think he took the wrong line as a poet, and was spoilt by Cockneyfying, and Suburbing, and versifying Tooke's Pantheon and Lempriere's Dictionary. I know, by experience, that a savage review is Hemlock to a sucking author; and the one on me (which produced the English Bards, etc.) knocked me down — but I got up again. Instead of bursting a blood-vessel, I drank three bottles of Claret, and began an answer, finding that there was nothing in the Article for which I could lawfully knock Jeffrey on the head, in an honourable way. However, I would not be the person who wrote the homicidal article, for all the honour and glory in the World, though I by no means approve of that School of Scribbling which it treats upon.

You see the Italians have made a sad business of it. All owing to treachery and disunion amongst themselves. It has given me great vexation. The execrations heaped upon the Neapolitans by the other Italians are quite in unison with those of the rest of Europe.

Mrs. Leigh writes that Lady No-ill is getting well again. See what it is to have luck in this world.

I hear that Rogers is not pleased with being called "venerable" — a pretty fellow: if I had thought that he would have been so absurd, I should have spoke of him as defunct — as he really is. Why, betwixt the years he really lived, and those he has been dead, Rogers has lived upon the Earth nearly seventy three years and upwards, as I have proved in a postscript of my letter, by this post, to Mr. Kinnaird.

Let me hear from you, and send me some Soda-powders for the Summer dilution. Write soon.

Yours ever and truly,