Booklicious: Keats Love Letter Goes Up for Auction

January 31, 2011


The tender romance between John Keats and Fanny Brawne has touched the hearts of lit lovers for generations, and now a love letter from the poet to his fiancĂ©e written during his fatal illness is to be put up for auction. At the time Keats wrote the note, he was still living next door to Fanny but was too sick to have visitors. He wrote that he would instead kiss her signature rather than risk infecting her, adding that good health would be his heaven. A year later, he was dead. 

My dearest Fanny

The power of your benediction is not of so weak a nature as to pass from the ring in four and twenty hours – it is like a sacred Chalice once consecrated and ever consecrate. I shall Kiss your name and mine where your Lips have been – Lips! why should a poor prisoner as I am talk about such things. Thank God, though I hold them the dearest pleasures in the universe, I have a consolation independent of them in the certainty of your affectation. I could write a song in the style of Tom Moores Pathetic about Memory if that would be any relief to me. No. It would not be. I will be as obstinate as a Robin, I will not sing in a cage. Health is my expected heaven and you are the Houri – this word I believe is both singular and plural – if only plural, never mind – you are a thousand of them.

Ever yours affectionately
my dearest

The letter is estimated to be worth £120,000 and goes on auction this March at Bonhams in London.


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