200 years ago Keats found dealing with money matters worse than Dante’s Inferno.

Around 7 January 1819, Keats replied to Haydon’s request for a loan (from his share of Tom’s inheritance):

“My dear Haydon — We are very unlucky — I should have stopped to dine with you, but I knew I should not have been able to leave you in time for my plaguy sore throat; which is getting well.

“I shall have a little trouble in procuring the Money and a great ordeal to go through — no trouble indeed to any one else — or ordeal either. I mean I shall have to go to town some thrice, and stand in the Bank an hour or two — to me worse than anything in Dante — I should have less chance with the people around me than Orpheus had with the Stones. I have been writing a little now and then lately: but nothing to speak of — being discontented and as it were moulting. Yet I do not think I shall ever come to the rope or the Pistol, for after a day or two’s melancholy, although I smoke more and more my own insufficiency — I see by little and little more of what is to be done, and how it is to be done, should I ever be able to do it. On my soul, there should be some reward for that continual agonie ennuyeuse. I was thinking of going into Hampshire for a few days.”

On Monday 14th January 2019 at 6pm Matthew Coulton will give a reading of Keats’s ‘The Eve of St Agnes’ at The Art Gallery, Guildhall, Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HH. Admission free.

The Keats bicentenary diary 1819/2019 is on sale at Keats House, Keats Grove, London NW3 2RR, price £15.

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