John Hamilton Reynolds (1794-1852) met Keats at Leigh Hunt’s home in October 1816. Reynolds later introduced Keats to Charles Brown, James Rice, Benjamin Bailey, Charles Wentworth Dilke (among others), as well as his future publisher, John Taylor. Reynolds had dabbled in poetry himself but abandoned it for a career in law. He was a passionate advocate of Keats’s work and a devoted friend. They discussed poetry and planned several works together.
This letter illustrates Keats’s solicitude for others; in several letters, he cautions his friends to dress warmly, eat well, etc
28 February 1820
My dear Reynolds,
I have been improving since you saw me: my nights are better which I think is a very encouraging thing. You mention your cold in rather too slighting a manner – if you travel outside have some flannel aga[i]nst the wind – which I pope will not keep on at this rate when you are in the Packet boat. Should it rain do not stop upon deck though the Passengers should vomit themselves inside out. Keep under Hatches from all sort of wet. I am pretty well provided with Books at present, when you return I may give you a commission or two — Mr B. C. has sent me not only his Sicilian Story but yesterday his Dramatic Scenes – this is very polite and I shall do what I can to make him sensible I think so. I confess they tease me – they are composed of Amiability the Seasons, the Leaves, the Moon &c. upon which he rings (according to Hunt’s expression) triple bob majors. However that is nothing – I think he likes poetry for its own sake, not his. I hope I shall soon bee well enough to proceed with my faries and set you about the notes on sundays and Stray-days – If I had been well enough I should have liked to cross the water with you. Brown wishes you a pleasant voyage – Have fish for dinner at the sea ports, and dont forget a bottle of Claret. You will not meet with so much to hate at Brussels as at Paris. Remember me to all my friends. If I were well enough I would paraphrase an ode of Horace’s for you, on your embarking in the seventy years ago style – the Packet will bear a comparison with a roman galley at any rate.
Ever yours affectionately
Notes: Mr B.C. was ‘Barry Cornwall’, the pseudonym of Bryan Waller Procter (1787-1874). Keats refers to his own The Cap and Bells, which he never finished, and which Reynolds was supposed to write the notes. He also refers to his brothers’ disastrous 1817 visit to Paris.
Link/cite this page
If you use any of the content on this page in your own work, please use the code below to cite this page as the source of the content.
Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "John Keats Letter To J H Reynolds, 28 February 1820" https://englishhistory.net/keats/letters/j-h-reynolds-28-february-1820/, March 6, 2015