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Thursday, 1 October 2009

Suspicion (1820)


File:Pillory Charing Cross edited.jpg

They speak of me as one would speak of a problematic child. This is the sort of insult that only comes to men who are short -- it's hard to be a poet when you're not six feet and a lord. Don't they know I guess what they say when I am absent? People won't admit to me what I know in my heart with an ache like that of a wound, that my illness is in my lung. Fanny smiles at everyone. My brother George has cheated me out of money to throw away on Audubon's leaky steamboats. My doctors take away my food and blood, and my friends consign me to Italy to die without their having to feel it too much.


The Pillory at Charing Cross: Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson, from Ackermann's Microcosm of London (1808-1811)
Morning Dress: from Ackermann's Repository, c. 1820

from TC: Junkets on a Sad Planet: Scenes from the Life of John Keats


human being said...

"Don't they know I guess what they say when I am absent?"

really... don't they?

TC said...


Yes, if they were at all sensitive they would have known that this young man was a chronic willing victim of uncertainty, given to fetching

"From forth the loftiest fashion of his sleep
Guesses at Heaven"

-- so, yes, they would probably have known he would be guessing at everything... perhaps understandably they sometimes found this habit of his distressing, though it's also true that his extreme suspiciousness toward the end of his life was brought on by terminal illness working on his mind -- a sad state of wild guessing at distorted heavens while going through precise hells.