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was while he was with Hammond, a surgeon of some standing at Edmonton, to whom he was articled for five years after leaving school. At the termination of this apprenticeship he came into London to walk the hospitals. This he did with good effect, and became very well qualified to take his degree. The profession, however, under the absorbing passion for poetry which became to him the only thing in the world worth any love or service, gradually grew distasteful to him. The operations he performed were in fact successful, but left him haunted by the fear of doing mischief. “My dexterity," he said, "seemed a miracle to me, and I resolved never to take up a surgical instrument again,” so that, after passing his examination at Apothecaries' Hall with considerable credit, and spending a large proportion of his patrimony, he ceased all further study of surgery, and gave himself
up body and soul to the muse. At this time he was much in literary society, and looked upon with great regard and expectation by a numerous circle. First among these were C. Cowden Clarke, the son of his schoolmaster, a youth of his own age ; Mr. Charles Armitage Brown, much his senior, a retired Russian merchant; and Leigh Hunt, the editor of the Examiner, and poet of noble motives and worthy aspirations, whose influence on Keats was immense, and at whose home he met Shelley. Besides these we find by his Letters, Dilke, the founder of the Atheneum, was most important to him, and Hamilton Reynolds, author of the Garden of Florence, published under the name of John Hamilton ; Haydon the painter also, and Hazlitt, were his most admired and prized associates, and Ollier, able writer and bookseller, one of Hunt's circle, was of some interest to him, and published his first book free of expense. Partially known to him were also Wordsworth and Coleridge, for in those days all the poets whose names are now sacred to us, were to be seen in the flesh walking about Highgate and Hampstead like ordi
From the time we have now reached, the spring of 1817, when he published his first little volume " Miscellaneous Poems," and shortly after went to the Isle of Wight, intent upon Endymion, we have little more than three years and a half to his death, which short period was the entire productive life of Keats ! He had, however, attained at once to a great facility and fulness of expression, as well as to a clear conception, of what best suited him,—the enjoyment of beautiful things we associate with pantheism, and find expressed in Hellenic art and fable. So ready was he in composition, that he wrote the Dedication to Leigh Hunt while the printer's messenger waited, and in the midst of a noisy circle of friends.
Glory and loveliness have pass'd away,
For if we wander out in early morn,
No wreathed incense do we see upborne
Roses and pinks and violets to adorn
But there are left delights as high as these ;
And I shall ever bless my destiny,
Pan is no longer sought, I feel a free,
With these poor offerings a man like thee. This very delightful sonnet, so boyish, and so removed from the ordinary point of view; by which, too, he accepts a partizanship, addressing with such regard one of the best hated men of the time, and another contained in the volume, On Hunt leaving Prison, began the dislike and determined opposition that followed him to his death. We find from his letters, however, first published by Lord Houghton in 1848, that he was no partizan, that he repudiated Hunt's views of Art, and Shelley's friendship too, in the fear of losing his own individuality in their encounters, and that he went off to the Isle of Wight to be alone and unbiassed. No doubt between him and Shelley, who was just two years his senior, there existed too wide a chasm to make intimate sympathy possible, and Keats of all men, was the most painfully sensitive to differences of feeling on matters dear to him. Shelley was an apostle sworn to the fates as the preacher of a new gospel, while Keats knew or cared nothing for all that, although in religion, politics, and morals a free man : Shelley was a spiritualist, although, perhaps, at that moment suffering under a wilful selfdenial ; Keats was, in his art at least, a materialist, and contented with the luxury he aspired to express, if he could only have health. It has been said Endymion
was written in competition with Shelley's Revolt of Islam, a poem the most amorphous in form, and misshapen in motive of any ever written by man, and yet possessing endless passages of power and beauty equal to the author's latest achievements. In Endymion we find also a want of constructive ability, the story being lost like a river in a marshy country, and this I consider its main, if not its only defect as a work of art.
The most of us will allow that it has defects enough in detail, and more than all object to the jaunty air of self-satisfied conceit in obvious peculiarities, but with so intense an individuality, and with genius so vivid, all these inor defects and this apparent self-conceit I accept as part of the nature, without which he would be no longer himself nor half so dear to us.
Like Keats' first small volume, Endymion met with little attention, till the article in the Quarterly appeared, written by Mr. Gifford, a creature by some means or other at that time occupying the place of editor, and in a way, leader of Tory literature. This review of Endymion, which gave its writer some éclat at the time, and led the way to one nearly as stupid in Blackwood, still preserves the name of William Gifford to us; he has therein insured and prepared himself a long remembrance of disgust, like a surgical preparation in a public museum.
If Lockhart and Blackwood are to be considered as the vermin that pester the beds of men, Gifford may be likened to the tick which burrow's into the skins of animals, and is only to be eradicated by being burst between the reluctant thumb-nails. In the Adonais, which is certainly the most superb of all Elogies, published by Shelley shortly after the death of Keats, he apostrophises the living Gifford.
Live thou, whose infamy is not thy fame !
Such is the denunciation he has placed on everlasting record, but strange to say, among Shelley's papers was found a letter he addressed to the editor of the Quarterly, the very Gifford he apostrophises above, begging him to think more favourably of Keats. “If it is Mr. Gifford that I am addressing, I am persuaded that in an appeal to his humanity and justice, he will acknowledge the fas ab hoste doceri," he says, and goes on to express
lis consciousness of Endymion being considerably defective, but that “poor Keats was thrown into a dreadful state of mind by the review. The first effects are described to me to have resembled insanity, and it was by assiduous watching that he was restrained from effecting purposes of suicide. I have just seen a second volume published by him evidently in careless despair (!). I have desired my bookseller to send you a copy, and allow me to solicit your especial attention to the fragment of a poem entitled Hyperion, the composition of which was checked