And so Keats comes to the end of his Northern Tour. It’s been quite the adventure. 600+ miles of walking over the course of about five weeks isn’t too shabby. Turns out some of the hardest miles came towards the end. Today’s letter to Tom focuses primarily on Keats and Brown’s ascent of Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the British Isles. The description that “it is almost like a fly crawling up a wainscoat” pretty well captures the magnitude of the task. Despite the difficulty, Keats seems in good spirits recounting the climb. This letter is a regular laugh riot (as is another he writes to Mrs Wylie, the mother of Georgiana Keats, later in the day). So we’ll just let you get right to the letter! And then stay tuned for an essay from KLP co-founder Anne McCarthy on Keats’s relationship with “Ah mio Ben.”
The manuscript of the letter resides at Harvard. Images courtesy of Houghton Library below. For a print version of the letter, head over to Harry Buxton Forman’s 1895 edition.