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on this subject, dated in July, had invited Keats to the hospitality of Shelley's own house; but in November this project had been given up, as “ we are not rich enough for that sort of thing”—although Shelley still intended (so he wrote to Leigh Hunt) “to be the physician both of his body and his soul,—to keep the one warm, and to teach the other Greek and Spanish.” Keats, however, had brought with him a letter of introduction to Dr. (afterwards Sir James) Clark, in Rome, or indeed he may have met him before leaving England —and he decided to proceed to Rome rather than Pisa. Dr. Clark engaged for him a lodging opposite his own: it was in the first house on the right as you ascend the steps of the Trinità del Monte. The precise date when Keats reached Rome, his last place of torture and of rest, does not appear to be recorded : it was towards the middle of November. He was at first able to walk out a little, and occasionally to ride. Dr. Clark attended his sick bed with the most exemplary assiduity and kind

He pronounced (so Keats wrote to Brown in a letter of November 30th, which is perhaps the last he ever penned) that the lungs were not much amiss, but the stomach in a very bad condition: perhaps this was a kindly equivocation, for by this time—as was ascertained after his death-Keats can have had scarcely any lungs at all. The patient was under no illusion as to his prospects, and he more than once asked the physician “When will this posthumous life of mine come to an end?”

The only words in which the last days of Keats can , be adequately recorded are those of Severn: our best


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choice would be between extract and silence. There were oscillations from time to time, from bad to less bad; but generally the tendency of the disease was steadily downwards. The poet's feelings regarding Fanny Brawne were so acute and harrowing that he never mentioned her to his friend. I give a few particulars from Severn's contemporary letters—the person addressed being not always known.

December 14. His suffering is so great, so continued, and his fortitude so completely gone, that any further change must make him delirious.

December 17. Not a moment can I be from him. I sit by his bed and read all day, and at night I humour him in all his wanderings. . . . He rushed out of bed and said “This day shall be my last,' and but for me most certainly it would. The blood broke forth in similar quantity the next morning, and he was bled again. I was afterwards so fortunate as to talk him into a little calmness, and he soon became quite patient. Now the blood has come up in coughing five times.

Not a single thing will he digest, yet he keeps on craving for food. Every day he raves he will die from hunger, and I've been obliged to give him more than was allowed. ... Dr. Clark will not say much. . . . All that can be done he does most kindly; while his lady, like himself in refined feeling, prepares all that poor Keats takes, for --in this wilderness of a place for an invalid—there was no alternative. [To Mrs. Brawne.] January 11.

He has now given up all thoughts, hopes, or even wish, for recovery.



His mind is in a state of peace, from the final leave he has taken of this world, and all its future hopes. I light the fire, make his breakfast, and sometimes am obliged to cook; make his bed, and even sweep the

Oh I would my unfortunate friend had never left your Wentworth Place for the hopeless advantages of this comfortless Italy! He has many many times talked over 'the few happy days at your house, the only time when his mind was at ease'. .. i Poor Keats cannot see any letters—at least he will not; they affect him so much, and increase his danger. The two last I repented giving: he made me put them into his box, unread.

" January 15. Torlonia the banker has refused us any more money. The bill is returned unaccepted, and to-morrow I must pay my last crown for this cursed lodging-place: and what is more, if he dies, all the beds and furniture will be burnt, and the walls scraped, and they will come on me for a hundred pounds or more. ... You see my hopes of being kept by the Royal Academy will be cut off unless I send a picture in the spring. I have written to Sir T. Lawrence.

February 12. At times I have hoped he would recover; but the doctor shook his head, and Keats would not hear that he was better; the thought of recovery is beyond everything dreadful to him.

[To Mrs. Brawne.] February 14. His mind is growing to great quietness and peace. I find this change has its rise from the increasing weakness of his body; but it seems like a delightful sleep to me, I have been beating about in the tempest of his mind so long. To-night he has talked very much to me, but so easily


that he at last fell into a pleasant sleep. He seems to have comfortable dreams without nightmare. This will bring on some change: it cannot be worse—it may be better. Among the many things he has requested of me to-night, this is the principal—that on his grave shall be this, 'Here lies one whose name was writ in water.' Such a letter has come! I gave it to Keats, supposing it to be one of yours; but it proved sadly otherwise. The glance of that letter tore him to pieces. The effects were on him for many days. He did not read it-he could not; but requested me to place it in his coffin, together with a purse and letter (unopened) of his sister's : since which time he has requested me not to place that letter in his coffin, but only his sister's purse and letter, with some hair. Then he found many causes of his illness in the exciting and thwarting of his passions; but I persuaded him to feel otherwise on this delicate point.

I have got an English nurse to come two hours every other day. . . . He has taken half a pint of fresh milk: the milk here is beautiful to all the senses—it is delicious. For three weeks he has lived on it, sometimes taking a pint and a half in a day.

February 22. This morning, by the pale daylight, the change in him frightened me: he has sunk in the last three days to a most ghastly look. He opens his eyes in great doubt and horror; but, when they fall upon me, they close gently, open quietly, and close again, till he sinks to sleep.

February 27. He is gone. He died with the most perfect ease—he seemed to go to sleep. On the 23rd, about four, the approaches of death came on, Severn -I-lift me up. I am dying--I shall die easy. Don't be frightened : be firm, and thank God it has come.' I lifted him up in my arms. The phlegm seemed boiling in his throat, and increased until eleven, when he gradually sank into death, so quiet that I still thought he slept. I cannot say more now. I am broken down by four nights' watching, no sleep since, and my poor Keats gone. Three days since the body was opened : the lungs were completely gone. The doctors could not imagine how he had lived these two months. I followed his dear body to the grave on Monday (February 26th], with many English. ... The letters I placed in the coffin with my own hand.”

No words of mine shall be added here to tarnish upon the mirror of memory this image of a sacred death and a sacred friendship.

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