200 years ago Keats had to choose between two Poisons

On Monday 31 May 1819 Keats wrote more about being a ship’s doctor—to Sarah Jeffrey, whom he hadn’t seen for over a year:

“I was making a day or two ago a general conflagration of all old Letters and Memorandums, which had become of no interest to me…
“I have the choice as it were of two Poisons (yet I ought not to call this a Poison) the one is voyaging to and from India for a few years; the other is leading a fevrous life alone with Poetry—This latter will suit me best; for I cannot resolve to give up my Studies…
“My Brother George always stood between me and any dealings with the world. Now I find I must buffet it—I must take my stand upon some vantage ground and begin to fight—I must choose between despair and Energy—I choose the latter—though the world has taken on a quakerish look with me, which I once thought was impossible.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *