200 years ago Keats was worried about his younger brother’s health

On Monday 3 November 1817, Keats wrote to Benjamin Bailey:

‘My brother Tom looked very unwell yesterday, and I am for shipping him off to Lisbon. Perhaps I ship there with him.’

Tom Keats would live for another 13 months, but tuberculosis meant he was unwell for most of them. The brothers never made the journey to Lisbon, but in September 1820 Keats would be ‘shipped off’ to Rome in the vain hope of curing the same disease (which he had probably caught when nursing Tom).

[Photograph by Anne Stringfellow.]

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