Sonnet to Keats

Thomas & Hessey published Endymion

Thomas & Hessey published Endymion

Today’s post goes back almost 200 years to a sonnet that was sent to Keats in an anonymous letter that also enclosed a £25 note.  The letter was sent from Teignmouth by a “Mr P Fenbank” to the booksellers Taylor & Hessey of Fleet street, London, who had published Endymion.

It is believed that the letter and sonnet were written by Marianne Prowse, one of Keats’ friends in Teignmouth, under the pseudonym of “P Fenbank”.

Sonnet to Keats
(Attrib. Marianne Prowse?)

Star of high promise! Not to this dark age
Do thy mild light and loveliness belong:
For it is blind, intolerant, and wrong,
Dead to empyreal soarings, and the rage
Of scoffing spirits bitter war doth wage
With all that, bold integrity of song :
Yet thy clear beam shall shine through ages strong,
To ripest times a light and heritage
And those breathe now who dote upon thy fame,
Whom thy wild numbers wrap beyond their being,
Who love the freedom of thy lays, their aim
Above the scope of a dull tribe unseeing,
And there is one whose hand will never scant,
From his poor store of fruits, all thou canst want.

Want to know more?  Check out:

Marianne Prowse …..
Brittlebooks (p298-9) …..

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