On 26 July 1817, a renewed sales push started for ‘Poems by John Keats’

From The Times, Saturday 26 July 1817:

“Just published, in post 8vo, price 6s. boards,
“What more felicity can fall to creature
“Than to enjoy delight with Liberty!”
Spenser. –Fate of the Butterfly.
Also, price 1s., A Proposal for putting Reform to the Vote throughout the Kingdom. By the Hermit of Marlow.
Printed by C. and J. Ollier, Public Library, Welbeck-street, Cavendish-square.”

[The Hermit of Marlow was Shelley.]
Around this time Keats and John Hamilton Reynolds met and read Shakespeare together on Hampstead Heath.

200 years ago, Leigh Hunt continued his review of ‘Poems by John Keats’

On Sunday 6 July 1817, in the Examiner, Leigh Hunt continued his review of Poems by John Keats (which he had started five weeks earlier). In this part of the review he complained of Keats’s ‘tendency to notice everything too indiscriminately and without an eye to natural proportion and effect’. He was a fine one to talk.

200 years ago, Leigh Hunt wondered where “Junkets” was

On Tuesday 1 July 1817, Leigh Hunt wrote to Charles Cowden Clarke, wondering what had happened to “Junkets” (his nick-name for John Keats): ‘I suppose Queen Mab has eaten him.’
Leigh Hunt had returned to London on 25 June (after staying with Shelley in Marlow for four months). In fact, Keats was at Well Walk, Hampstead, working on Endymion.

200 years ago, ‘The Examiner’ printed the first part of its review of Keats’s first book

On Sunday 1 June 1817, ‘The Examiner’ printed the first part of the ‘review’ of ‘Poems by John Keats’. After an introduction, the article (by Keats’s friend and mentor Leigh Hunt) failed to mention either Keats or his poems.

200 years ago, Keats met Mrs Isabella Jones and ‘warmed with her’

On Sunday 25 May 1817 (Whit Sunday), Keats met Isabella Jones at Bo-Peep (now St Leonards-on-Sea). He would later tell his brothers that he had ‘warmed with her … and kissed her’. So this was more than just sitting in the sunshine together, as this poem (which is associated with her) suggests:

You say you love; but with a voice
Chaster than a nun’s, who singeth
The soft vespers to herself
While the chime-bell ringeth —
O love me truly!

You say you love; but with a smile
Cold as sunrise in September,
As you were Saint Cupid’s nun,
And kept his weeks of Ember.
O love me truly!

You say you love; but then your lips
Coral-tinted teach no blisses
More than coral in the sea —
They never pout for kisses —
O love me truly!

You say you love; but then your hand
No soft squeeze for squeeze returneth,
It is like a statue’s, dead —
While mine to passion burneth —
O love me truly!

O breathe a word or two of fire!
Smile, as if those words should burn me,
Squeeze as lovers should — O kiss
And in thy heart inurn me!
O love me truly!

200 years ago Keats gave his new publishers a progress report

On Friday 16 May 1817, Keats wrote to Taylor & Hessey, thanking them for sending him a £20 advance for his new poem ‘Endymion’:
“I went day by day at my Poem for a Month — at the end of which time the other day I found my Brain so overwrought that I had neither Rhyme nor reason in it…
“This Evening I go to Canterbury — having got tired of Margate… At Canty I hope the Remembrance of Chaucer will set me forward like a Billiard-Ball.”

200 years ago Keats wrote of the eighth deadly sin

200 years ago, on Sunday 11 May 1817, Keats wrote to Benjamin Robert Haydon:
‘I have a horrid Morbidity of Temperament which has shown itself at intervals – it is, I have no doubt the greatest Enemy and stumbling block I have to fear… There is no greater sin after the 7 deadly than to flatter oneself into an idea of being a great Poet.’

200 years ago Keats wondered why he should be a poet

On Saturday 10 May 1817, Keats wrote to Leigh Hunt from Margate:

‘I went to the Isle of Wight, thought so much about poetry, so long together that I could not get to sleep at night; and, moreover, I know not how it was, I could not get wholesome food. By this means, in a Week or so, I became not over capable in my upper Stories, and set off pell-mell for Margate, at least 150 Miles, because, forsooth, I fancied that I should like my old Lodging here, and could contrive to do without Trees. Another thing, I was too much in Solitude, and consequently was obliged to be in continual burning of thought as an only resource…
‘I have asked myself so often why I should be a poet more than other men, seeing how great a thing it is.’

John Keats: Part of a letter to Leigh Hunt (who was staying with the Shelleys in Marlow) 10 May 1817.
Keats had stayed in Margate the previous summer. Each time he encountered a block while he was writing Endymion, he moved. So the poem which he began in Carisbrooke continued in Margate, Canterbury, Bo-Peep, Hampstead and Oxford, and was eventually completed (six months later) at Box Hill in Surrey.

Image: ‘Picture of Margate’ by W. C. Oulton | Margate History