As we saw two days ago, Keats had canceled on a dinner engagement with Haydon on 20 December, but the two got together for the day of 21 December. It appears that Haydon the next day had sent a message to Keats apologizing for his “going out of the room” before they sat down to their meal. Keats writes back explaining that he was not offended at all. In other words, typical stuff for Keats’s correspondence! Particularly with Haydon, who was rather sensitive and quick to worry about having offended his friends (and quick to be offended by them himself), we often find letters like these which aim to smooth over any potential hurt feelings. It’s safe to say Haydon would have empathized with the members of Flight of the Conchords.
But we do digress. Another topic of importance comes towards the end of the letter. Keats offers to help Haydon financially, but also asks that Haydon first apply for assistance from “the rich lovers of art.” As we’ve seen in other letters by Keats, and as probably all of us know from experience, money issues can certainly lead to some hurt feelings! Over the next two years, of course, financial woes become more and more pressing for Keats. At this point, though, he seems to have been pretty sanguine about his prospects.
Another significant moment, which our contributor for today has much more to say about, is Keats’s mention of “all the vices of a Poet,” especially that of “irritability.” As Jeanne Britton writes in her piece, irritability signifies in several interrelated ways for Keats. Read the whole post to find out more!
Text of the letter to Haydon can be read via Forman’s 1901 edition here. Images below come courtesy of Houghton Library at Harvard University.