Sketch of Keats by Charles Wass after William Hilton, c1841.


Colvin's footnotes are marked within the text and listed at the bottom of each page.


CHAPTER I:
1795-1815: BIRTH AND PARENTAGE: SCHOOLDAYS AND APPRENTICESHIP
Obscure family history-- The Finsbury livery stable-- The surname Keats--  Origin probably Cornish-- Character of parents-- Traits of childhood-- The Enfield School-- The Edmonton home-- The Pymmes Brook-- Testimonies of schoolmates-- Edward Holmes-- Charles Cowden Clarke-- New passion for reading-- Left an orphan-- Apprenticed to a surgeon-- Relations with his master-- Readings in the poets-- The Faerie Queen-- The Spenser fever-- Other poetic influences-- Influences of nature-- Early attempts in verse-- Early sympathizers-- George Felton Mathew-- Move to London.


CHAPTER II
:
OCTOBER 1815-MARCH 1817: HOSPITAL STUDIES: POETICAL AMBITIONS: LEIGH HUNT
Hospital days: Summary-- Aptitudes and ambitions-- Teachers-- Testimony of Henry Stephens-- Pride and other characteristics-- Evidences of a wandering mind-- Services of Cowden Clarke-- Introduction to Leigh Hunt-- Summer walks at Hampstead-- Holiday epistles from Margate-- Return to London-- First reading of Chapman's Homer-Date of the Chapman sonnet-- Intimacy with Leigh Hunt-- The Examiner: Hunt's imprisonment-- His visitors in captivity-- His occupations-- The Feast of the poets-- Hunt's personality and charm-- His ideas of poetical reform-- The story of Rimini-- Its popularity-- Dante and namby-pamby-- Hunt's life at Hampstead-- Hunt and Keats compared-- Keats at Hunt's cottage-- Prints in the library-- The intercoronation scene-Sonnets of Hunt to Keats-- Sonnets of Keats to Hunt-- Keats's penitence.


CHAPTER III
:
WINTER 1816-1817: HAYDON: OTHER NEW FRIENDSHIPS: THE DIE CAST FOR POETRY
Haydon and the Elgin marbles-- Haydon as painter and write-- Vanity, pugnacity, and piety-- Haydon on Leigh Hunt-- Keats and Haydon meet-- An enthusiastic friendship-- Keats and the Elgin marbles-Sonnets and protestations-- Hazlitt and Lamb-- Friendship of Hunt and Shelley-- Lamb and Hazlitt on Shelley-- Haydon and Shelley: a battle royal-- Keats and Shelley-- A cool relation--J ohn Hamilton Reynolds-- His devotion to Keats-- The Reynolds sisters-- James Rice-- Charles Wells--William Haslam-- Joseph Severn-- Keats judged by his circle-- Described by Severn-- His range of sympathies-- His poetic ambition-- The die is cast-- First volume goes to press.


CHAPTER IV:
THE 'POEMS' OF 1817

Spirit and chief contents of the volume-- Sonnets and timed heroics-The Chapman sonnet-- The 'How many bards' sonnet-- The sexchivalry group-- The Leigh Hunt group-- The Haydon pair-- The Leander sonnet-- Epistles-- History of the 'heroic' couplet-- The closed and free systems-- Marlowe-- Drayton--William Browne-Chapman and Sandys-- Decay of the free system-- William Chamberlayne-- Milton and Marvell--Waller-- Katherine Phillips--Dryden-Pope and his ascendency-- Reaction: The Brothers Warton-Symptoms of Emancipation-- Coleridge, Wordsworth and Scott-Leigh Hunt and couplet reform-- Keats to Mathew: influence of Browne-- Calidore: influence of Hunt--Epistle to George Keats-Epistle to Cowden Clarke--Sleep and Poetry and I stood tip-toe-- Analysis of Sleep and Poetry-- Double invocation-- Vision of the Charioteer-Battle-cry of the new poetry-- Its strength and weakness-- Challenge and congratulation-- Encouragements acknowledged-- Analysis of I stood tip-toe-- Intended induction to Endymion-- Relation to Elizabethans-- Relation to contemporaries--Wordsworth and Greek Mythology-- Tintern Abbey and the three stages-- Contrastas of method-Evocation versus Exposition.


CHAPTER V:
APRIL-DECEMBER 1817: WORK ON ENDYMION
'Poems' fall flat-- Reviews by Hunt and others-- Change of publishers-New friends: Bailey and Woodhouse -- Begins Endymion at Carisbrooke-- Moves to Margate-- Hazlitt and Southey-- Hunt and Haydon-- Ambition and self-doubt-- Stays at Canterbury-- Joins brothers at Hampstead-- Dilke and Brown-- Visits Bailey at Oxford-- Work on Endymion -- Bailey's testimony-- Talk on Wordsworth-- Letters from Oxford-- To his sister Fanny-- To Jane and J. H. Reynolds-Return to Hampstead-- Friends at loggerheads-- Stays at Burford Bridge-- Correspondence-- Confessions-- Speculations-- Imagination and truth-- Composes various lyrics-- 'O love me truly'-- 'In drear-nighted December'-- Dryden and Swinburne -- Endymion finished-- An Autumnal close-- Return to Hampstead.


CHAPTER VI:
ENDYMION.--I. THE STORY: ITS SOURCES, PLAN, AND SYMBOLISM

Invention and imagination-- What the moon meant to Keats-- Elizabethan Precedents-- Fletcher and Drayton-- Drayton's two versions-- Debt of Keats to Drayton-- Strain of allegory--T he Soul's quest for beauty-Phantasmagoric adventures-- The four elements theory-- Its error-Book I. The exordium-- The forest scene-- Confession to Peona-- Her expostulation-- Endymion's defence-- The ascending scale-- The highest hope--- Book II. The praise of love-- Underworld marvels-- The awakening of Adonis-- Embraces in the Jasmine Bower-- The quest renewed-- New sympathies awakened-- Book III. Exordium--Encounter with Glaucus-- Glaucus relates his doom-- The predestined deliverer-- The deliverance-- Meaning of the Parable-- Its machinery explained-- The happy sequel-- Book IV. Address to the Muse-- The Indian damsel-- An ethereal flight-- Olympian visions-- Descent and renunciation-- Distressful farewells-- The mystery solved-- A chastened victory-- Above analysis justified.


CHAPTER VII:
ENDYMION.--II. THE POETRY: ITS QUALITIES AND AFFINITIES
Revival of Elizabethan usages-- Avoidance of closed couplets-- True metrical instincts-- An example-- Rime too much his master-- Lax use of words-- Flaws of taste and training-- Faults and beauties inseparable -- Homage to the moon-- A parallel from Drayton-- Examples of nature poetry-- Nature and the Greek spirit-- Greek mythology revitalize -- Its previous deadness-- Poetry of love and war-- Dramatic promise -- Comparison with models--  Sandys Ovid--Hymn to Pan: Chapman-- Ben Jonson-- The hymn in Endymion- -'A pretty piece of paganism' -- Song of the Indian maiden-- The triumph of Bacchus-- A composite: its sources-- English scenery and detail-- Influence of Wordsworth-Influence of Shelley-- Endymion and Alastor-- Correspondences and contrasts-- Hymn to Intellectual Beauty-- Shelley on Endymion-- Keats and Clarence's dream-- Shelley a borrower-- Shelley and the rimed couplet.


CHAPTER VIII:
DECEMBER 1817-JUNE 1818: HAMPSTEAD AND TEIGNMOUTH: EMIGRATION OF GEORGE KEATS
Hampstead again: stage criticism-- Hazlitt's lectures-- Life at Well Walk
-- Meeting with Wordsworth-- The 'immortal dinner'-- Lamb forgets himself-- More of Wordsworth-- A happy evening -- Wordsworth on Bacchus- Disillusion and impatience-- Winter letters-- Maxims and reflections-- Quarrels among friends-- Haydon, Hunt and Shelley-- A prolific February--  Rants and sonnets-- A haunting memory-- Six weeks at Teignmouth-- Soft weather and soft men-- Isabella or the Pot of Basil -- Rich correspondence-- Epistle to Reynolds-- Thirst for knowledge-- Need of experience-- The two chambers of thought-- Summer plans-- Preface to Endymion -- A family break-up-- To Scotland with Brown.


CHAPTER IX:
JUNE TO AUGUST 1818: THE SCOTTISH TOUR
First sight of Windermere-- Ambleside, Rydal, Keswick-- Attitude towards scenery-- Ascent of Skiddaw-- A country dancing-school-- Dumfries-- The Galloway coast-- Meg Merrilies-- Flying visit to Belfast-- Contrasts and reflections-- The Duchess of Dunghill--The Ayrshire coast-- In Burns's cottage-- Lines on his pilgrimage-- Through Glasgow to Loch Lomond-- A confession-- Loch Awe to the coast-- Hardships-- Kerrera and Mull-- Staffa-- A sea cathedral-- Ben Nevis-- Tour cut short-- Return to Hampstead.


CHAPTER X:
SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER 1818: BLACKWOOD AND THE QUARTERLY

Blackwood Edinburgh Magazine-- Partisan excesses-- Wild inconsistency -- Virulences of first number-- The 'Z' papers and Leigh Hunt-- Blackwood and Walter Scott-- The Chaldee Manuscript-- Scott warning to Lockhart-- Lockhart and Keats-'Z' on Endymion-- A lesson to critics-- Marks of Lockhart hand-- The Quarterly on Endymion-- Indignant friends: Bailey--Reynolds--Woodhouse and Taylor -- Keats's composure under attack-- Subsequent effects-- Tom Keats in extremis-- Three months by the sick-bed-- First Journal-letter to America-- Dread of love and marriage-- Death of Tom Keats.


CHAPTER XI:
DECEMBER 1818-JUNE 1819: KEATS AND BROWN HOUSEMATES: FANNY BRAWNE: WORK AND IDLENESS
Removal to Wentworth Place,-- Work on Hyperion -- The insatiable Haydon -- The Misses Porter-- A mingled yarn-- Charles Lamb and punning-Hunt and his satellites-- Fanny Brawne-- A sudden enslavement- Severn's impressions-- Visit to Hampshire-- The Eve of St. Agnes - Return and engagement-- Ode to Fanny-- Love and jealousy-- Haydon again-- Letters to Fanny Keats-- Two months' idleness-- Praise of claret-- Bailey's love-affairs-- Fit of languor-- Fight with a butcher-boy -- Sonnet-confessions-- Reflectiorm ethical and cosmic-- Meeting with Coleridge-- The same according to the sage-- A tactful review-- Sonnets on fame-- La Belle Dame Sans Merci -- The right version quoted-- The five Odes-- Their date and order-- A fruitful May-- Indecision and anxiety-- A confidential letter-- Departure for Shanklin.


CHAPTER XII:
JUNE 1819-JANUARY 1820: SHANKLIN, WINCHESTER, HAMPSTEAD: TROUBLE AND HEALTH FAILURE
Work on Otho and Lamia --Letters to Fanny Brawne--Keats as lover-An imagined future--Change to Winchester--Work and fine weather --Ill news from George--A run to town--A talk with Woodhouse-Woodhouse as critic--Alone at Winchester--Spirited letters: to his brother--To Reynolds, Brown, and Dilke--Hopes and resolutions-Will work for the press--Attempt and breakdown--Return to Wentworth Place--Morning and evening tasks--Cries of passion--Signs of despondency--Testimony of Brown--Haydon's exaggerations-Schemes and doings--Visit of George Keats--Pleasantry and bitterness--Beginning of the end.


CHAPTER XIII:
WORK OF 1818, 1819.--I. THE ACHIEVEMENTS

Minor achievements-- Bards of Passion and of Mirth -- Fancy --The tales- Isabella --Story and metre--Influence of Chaucer--Apostrophes and invocations--Horror turned to beauty--The digging scene--Its quality -- The Eve of St Agnes --Variety of sources-- Boccaccio Filocolo -Poetic scope and method--Examples--The unrobing scene--The feast of fruits--A rounded close-- Lamia --Sources: and a comparison-Metre and quality--Beauties and faults--Perplexing moral--The sage denounced: why?--Comments of Leigh Hunt--The odes: To Psyche -Sources: Burton and Apuleius--Qualities: A questionable claim- On Indollence -- On a Grecian Urn --Sources: A composite--Spheres of art and life contrasted--Play between the two spheres--The Nightingale ode-- Ode on Melancholy --A grand close--The last of the odes-- To Autumn.


CHAPTER XIV:
WORK OF 1818, 1819 CONTINUED: THE FRAGMENTS AND EXPERIMENTS
Snatches expressive of moods--Ode to Maia--Hyperion: its scheme and scale--Sources: Homer and Hesiod--Pierre Ronsard--Miltonisms-Voices of the Titans--A match and no match for Milton--A great beginning--Question as to sequel--Difficulties and a suggestion--The scheme abandoned--The Eve of St Mark--Chaucer and Morris-Judgement of Rossetti--Dissent of W. B. Scott--The solution--Keats as dramatist--Otho and King Stephen--The Cap and Bells--Why a failure--Flashes of Beauty--Recast of Hyperion--Its leading ideas-Their history in Keats's mind--Preamble: another feast of fruits-The sanctuary--The admonition--The monitress--The attempt breaks off.


CHAPTER XV:
FEBRUARY-AUGUST 1820: HAMPSTEAD AND KENTISH TOWN: PUBLICATION OF LAMIA VOLUME
Letters from the sick-bed--To Fanny Brawne--To James Rice--Barry Cornwall--Hopes of returning health--Haydon's private view-Improvement not maintained--Summer at Kentish Town--Kindness of Leigh Hunt--Misery and jealousy--Severn and Mrs Gisborne-Invitation from Shelley-- Keats on The Cenci --La Belle Dame published--A disfigured version--The Lamia volume published-- Charles Lamb's appreciation-- The New Monthly --Other favourable reviews-Taylor and Blackwood-- A skirmish -- Impenitence -- And impertinence -- Jeffrey in the Edinburgh --Appreciation full though tardy--Fury of Byron-- Shelley on Hyperion --And on-- Keats in general-- Impressions of Crabb Robinson.


CHAPTER XVI:
AUGUST 1820-FEBRUARY 1821: VOYAGE TO ITALY: LAST DAYS AND DEATH AT ROME
Resolve to winter in Italy--Severn as companion--The ' Maria Crowther' --Fellow passengers--Storm in the Channel--Held up in the Solent-Landing near Lulworth--The 'Bright Star' sonnets--The voyage resumed--A meditated poem--Incidents at sea--Quarantine at Naples --Letters from Keats and Haslam--Lady passengers described--A cry of agony--Neapolitan impressions--On the road to Rome--Life at Rome--Apparent improvement--Relapse and despair--Severn's ministrations--His letters from the sickroom--The same continued --Tranquil last days--Choice of epitaph--Spirit of charm and pleasantness--The end.


CHAPTER XVII:
EPILOGUE
Hopes and fears at home-- Fanny Brawne: Leigh Hunt--Supposed effect of review--Shelley misled and inspired-- Adonais --A Blackwood Parody--False impressions confirmed--Death of Shelley--Hazlitt and Severn--Brown at Florence--Inscription for Keat's grave--Severn and Walter Scott--Slow growth of Keat's fame--Its beginnings at Cambridge--Opinion in the early 'forties--Would-be biographers at odds--Taylor and Brown: Brown and Dilke--A solution: Monckton Milnes--The old circle: Hunt and Haydon--John Hamilton Reynolds --Haslam, Severn, Bailey--Flaws and slips in Milnes's work--Its merit and timeliness--Its reception--The Pre-Raphaelites--Rossetti and Morris--The battle won: Later critics--Keats and Shelley--Pitfalls and prejudices--Arnold and Palgrave--Mr. Buxton Forman and others--Latest eulogists--Risks to permanence of fame--His will conquer-- Youth and its storms--The might-have-been--Guesses and a certainty.

 

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