200 years ago Keats wrote an impassioned letter to Miss Brawne after their first meeting in 15 weeks

On Monday 11 October 1819 Keats wrote to Fanny Brawne from College Street, Westminster:

My sweet Girl,

I am living today in yesterday: I was in a complete fascination all day. I feel myself at your mercy. Write me ever so few lines and tell me you will never for ever be less kind to me than yesterday.—

You dazzled me. There is nothing in the world so bright and delicate. When Brown came out with that seemingly true story against me last night, I felt it would be death to me if you ever had believed it—though against any one else I could muster up my obstinacy. Before I knew Brown could disprove it I was for the moment more miserable.

When shall we pass a day alone? I have had a thousand kisses, for which with my whole soul I thank love—but if you should deny me the thousand and first—’twould put me to the proof how great a misery I could live through. If you should ever carry your threat yesterday into execution—believe me ’tis not my pride, my vanity or any petty passion would torment me—really ’twould hurt my heart—I could not bear it.

I have seen Mrs. Dilke this morning; she says she will come with me any fine day.
Ever yours
John Keats
Ah hertè mine!

[The reason for Mrs Dilke accompanying Keats on his next visit to Wentworth Place was to act as chaperone.
The closing quotation is from Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde. The full line runs: ‘Ah hertè mine, Criseyde, O swete fo!’]

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