Today’s letters (this one to Taylor, and another to Thomas Monkhouse) come as Keats, Charles Brown, and the newlyweds George and Georgiana Keats prepare to set out on a pair of exciting adventures. Keats and Brown would be traipsing through the north of England and Scotland (with a brief stop in Ireland) for the next few months, while George and Georgiana would depart for America. The quartet traveled together by coach for Liverpool on the morning of June 22. But on June 21, Keats was busy tying up some loose ends before departure!
His letter to Taylor is a “catalogue” of requests (he apologizes for not having time to say more than his list of demands). First he asks that Taylor lend Tom some books, since Keats worries that his ailing brother will be bored and lonely. He also requests a bound copy of Endymion for Tom, as well as one for Mrs. Reynolds. He even writes an inscription for Mrs. Reynolds on the letter (see image three below) and instructs Taylor to paste it into her book. Seems like Taylor failed on that one!
Two bits of humor close out the letter. First, Keats puns on the name of Henry Cary, the translator of Dante with whom Taylor and Hessey were negotiating for a second edition of his work: “Remember me to Hessey saying I hope he’ll Carey his point.” And then Keats signs the letter as “John O’Grots,” playing on the name of the village at the northern tip of Scotland. Clearly Keats was in a jovial mood as he got ready to venture north!
Our usual sources for the letter today: images from Harvard, and print text from Forman’s 1895 edition. Get ready for the Northern Tour and its letters starting next week!