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A Day with Keats
written by "Byron, May Clarissa Gillington, -1936"
...e openly acknowledged as one of the "bards of passion and of mirth," and his poems are each accepted, as Not a senseless, tranced thing, But divine melodies of truth, Philosophic numbers smooth, Tales and golden histories Of heaven and its mysteries…. "No one else in English poetry, save Shakespeare, has in expression quite the fascinating felicity of Keats, his perfection of loveliness." (Matthew Arnold). But only these few friends of his are able to recognise that perfection. Outside their charmed circle, lies an obstinately unappreciative world. The afternoon wears on, and the friends disperse. Keats, returning to Wentworth Place flushed with hectic exhilaration, finds a veritable douche of cold water awaiting him, in the shape of a letter from his publishers. They refer to his unlucky first volume of poems, brought out in 1817. "By far the greater number of persons who have purchased it from us," they say, "have found fault with it in such plain terms, that we have in many cases offered to take the book back, rather than be annoyed with the ridicule which has time after time been showered upon it. In fact, it was only on Sunday last that we were under the mortification of having our own opinion of its merits flatly contradicted by a gentleman who told us that he considered it 'no better than a take-in.'" For a few minutes the pendulum swings back to despair. A man whose whole business in life is the creation of the best work, who "never wrote a line of poetry with the least shadow of public thought," who believes that after his death he will be among the English poets, and that if he only has time now, he will make himself remembered—that such a one should be merely the butt and laughing-stock of his readers! It is an unendurable position. Not that Keats attaches undue importance to popular applause. "Praise or blame," he says, "has but a momentary effect upon the man whose love of beauty in the abstra...

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