Giggle-worthy Keats. AKA, Purplue!!!

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

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Giggle-worthy Keats. AKA, Purplue!!!

Postby SnuggleKeats » Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:13 am

When I read these, I literally fell off my bed laughing. It's easy to forget from the mature intelligence of his body of work how young he was, but when you think about it, these two aren't necessarily that different from something a modern college-age boy might tell his friend while he's randomly drunk. With randomness being the source of with nowadays, I loved these:

"The fault is in the Quill. I have mended it and still it is very much inclin'd to make blind e's. However these last lines are in a much better style of penmanship though a little disfigured by the smear of black currant jelly, which has made a little mark on one of the Pages of Brown's Ben Jonson, the very best book he has. I have lick'd it but it remains very purple. I did not know whether to say purple or blue, so in the mixture of the thought wrote purplue which may be an excellent name for a colour made up of those two, and would suit well to start next spring."

And this mental image, ohmygod, I couldn't breathe, I was laughing so hard:

"My dear Fanny, I am ashamed of writing you such stuff, nor would I if it were not for being tired after my day's walking, and ready to tumble into bed so fatigued that when I am asleep you might sew my nose to my great toe and trundle me round the town like a Hoop without waking me."

And this made me laugh simply because it's so Wildean, pre-Wilde:

"Now why did you not send the key of your Cupboard, which I know was full of Papers? We would have lock'd them all in a trunk together with whose you told me to destroy, which indeed I did not do for fear of demolishing Receipts, there not being a more unpleasant thing in the world (saving a thousand and one others) than to pay a Bill twice."



Anybody have any other tasty tidbits from the letters, or any random anecdotes along these lines? I'd love to know them!
"Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry."
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Re: Giggle-worthy Keats. AKA, Purplue!!!

Postby Malia » Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:56 pm

Hey SnuggleKeats :) You do a great job of highlighting Keats's sense of humor--and he had a notorious sense of humor! I think sometimes, because much of his life was so tragic, we forget that Keats enjoyed a good joke (especially a practical joke) and had a weakness for puns (both good and bad!).
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Re: Giggle-worthy Keats. AKA, Purplue!!!

Postby SnuggleKeats » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:51 pm

Exactly! All the tragedy does tend to overshadow the fact that he really was pretty hilarious. If you have ANY other funny Keats bits, I really really would love to hear them.
"Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry."
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Re: Giggle-worthy Keats. AKA, Purplue!!!

Postby Saturn » Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:32 pm

I love things like this.

Great thread SnuggleKeats, and a warm welcome to you by the way.

While not exactly hilarious, this always makes me smirk:

“We hate poetry that has a palpable design upon us—and if we do not agree, seems to put its hand in its breeches pocket. Poetry should be great & unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one’s soul, and does not startle or amaze it with itself but with its subject.—How beautiful are the retired flowers! how would they lose their beauty were they to throng into the highway crying out, ‘admire me I am a violet! dote upon me I am a primrose!”
To J. H. Reynolds, 3 Feb 1818.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Re: Giggle-worthy Keats. AKA, Purplue!!!

Postby SnuggleKeats » Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:59 pm

Saturn wrote:I love things like this.

Great thread SnuggleKeats, and a warm welcome to you by the way.

While not exactly hilarious, this always makes me smirk:

“We hate poetry that has a palpable design upon us—and if we do not agree, seems to put its hand in its breeches pocket. Poetry should be great & unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one’s soul, and does not startle or amaze it with itself but with its subject.—How beautiful are the retired flowers! how would they lose their beauty were they to throng into the highway crying out, ‘admire me I am a violet! dote upon me I am a primrose!”
To J. H. Reynolds, 3 Feb 1818.


Thanks for the welcome, and GOD, yes, that's one of my favorites, as well - a more humorous showing of his ability to identify with everything and take part in its existence. One bit I found in the Gittings bio always made me smile:

"The tide! The tide!" he would cry, as a wave of wind came billowing across the surface of the land.
"Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry."
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Re: Giggle-worthy Keats. AKA, Purplue!!!

Postby dks » Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:14 am

:oops: I should hide my face for being so absent...yes, welcome SnuggleKeats--life has, for the past year or more, taken me by the neck scruff and yanked me forward with such ridiculous velocity that I rarely get the heavenly opportunity to be here much--in this sanctuary that is this forum...how I miss everyone here!

I just had to reply to your post--your initial thread incited me to respond since you touched on some aspects of him which I researched heavily while writing my thesis: one is his genius ability for empathic projection--that singular talent for becoming the object of poetry itself and annhilating his own identity in the process; there is a moment from his early school days as was witnessed by Clarke among others--the look on him when he read the Classics and how he hoisted himself and squared up his shoulders while repeating the line "sea-shouldering whales!" That line in one of the epics struck him, as it enabled him to feel the sea on his shoulders as the whales did in the passage...

...another such aspect you touch on quite well with your chosen letter excerpt is the jelly smudge incident--the whole "purplue" moment--not only does it showcase his beguiling sense of humor and rapier wit, but also his synaesthetic mind--notice how he commingles with veritable ease the sense of taste and color...I posit that he harbored no fewer than 3 or 4 different types of synaesthesia--and that he knew he had it, but did not know (as no behaviorist did at the time) what to label it--and so he described it, if you will, in the best way possible through some of the most delicious, palatial moments in poetry and truly the most sensorial and unique moments of poetic prose in his letters...

I have scrounged up one of my own favorites--from a letter to Fanny Keats, of course, where he exhibits that dead pan humor in a tender attempt to amuse his baby sister--it showcases so much of his wit, humor and unaffected synaesthesia alongside his endearing paternal sense of protection for little Fanny:

The delightful Weather we have had for two Months is the highest gratification I could receive--no chill'd red noses--no shivering--but fair atmosphere to think in--a clean towel mark'd with the mangle and a basin of clear Water to drench one's face with ten times a day: no need of much exercise--a Mile a day being quite sufficient. My greatest regret is that I have not been well enough to bathe though I have been two Months by the sea side and live now close to delicious bathing--Still I enjoy the Weather--I adore fine Weather as the greatest blessing I can have. . . . I should like now to promenade round your Gardens--apple-tasting--pear-tasting--plum-judging -- apricot-nibbling -- peach-scrunching -- nectarine-sucking and Melon-carving. I have also a great feeling for antiquated cherries full of sugar cracks--and a white currant tree kept for company. I admire lolling on a lawn by a water lillied pond to eat white currants and see gold fish: and go to the Fair in the Evening if I'm good. There is not hope for that--one is sure to get into some mess before evening.

*Squeals of delight* Ah!! He is perfect!!! Is he not??!!
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Re: Giggle-worthy Keats. AKA, Purplue!!!

Postby Raphael » Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:45 pm

The delightful Weather we have had for two Months is the highest gratification I could receive--no chill'd red noses--no shivering--but fair atmosphere to think in--a clean towel mark'd with the mangle and a basin of clear Water to drench one's face with ten times a day: no need of much exercise--a Mile a day being quite sufficient. My greatest regret is that I have not been well enough to bathe though I have been two Months by the sea side and live now close to delicious bathing--Still I enjoy the Weather--I adore fine Weather as the greatest blessing I can have. . . . I should like now to promenade round your Gardens--apple-tasting--pear-tasting--plum-judging -- apricot-nibbling -- peach-scrunching -- nectarine-sucking and Melon-carving. I have also a great feeling for antiquated cherries full of sugar cracks--and a white currant tree kept for company. I admire lolling on a lawn by a water lillied pond to eat white currants and see gold fish: and go to the Fair in the Evening if I'm good. There is not hope for that--one is sure to get into some mess before evening.

*Squeals of delight* Ah!! He is perfect!!! Is he not??!!


Totally perfect he was! I like that letter- seen it quoted in the Cootes biography. I would like to read all his letters- must get some editions.What great company John must have been.I find the poem Sharing Eve's Apple funny and sexy; all those blushes and innuendos!
My fave lines are:


And if you smile the blushing while,
Then maidenheads are going.


There's a blush for won't, and a blush for shan't,
And a blush for thought and a blush for naught,
And a blush for just begun it.


There's a sigh for yes, and a sigh for no,
And a sigh for I can't bear it!
O what can be done, shall we stay or run?
O cut the sweet apple and share it!
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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