Summer 2007 • Vol. XXIX No. 3 Nonfiction |

This Mortal Body

Yet can I gulp a bumper to thy name,—O smile among the shades, for this is fame! 1. On June 22, 1818, two years to the day before he sat in Leigh Hunt's living room having his one and only tea with the Gisbornes, John Keats and his brother George and his brother's bride, Georgiana, along with Charles Brown, boarded the Prince Saxe Cobourg Liverpool coach, bound west-northwest through "Stony-Stratford, Lichfield, and the Potteries." It was a Monday morning, and they left just before noon, expecting to arrive in the port of Liverpool thirty-two hours later. They all probably rode on the top of the coach, both for the view and the reduction in expense. In all likelihood, top-heavy, too, was the boot of the coach, since George and Georgiana carried with them their worldly possessions—as much, at least, as could be sensibly borne across the Atlantic to the interior of America. George was dressed like any early eighteenth-century English gentleman—high-collared waistcoat, b

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Stanley Plumly’s most recent book of poems is Orphan Hours (W.W. Norton, 2012). His collection Old Heart won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Paterson Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2015, his book of prose The Immortal Evening won the Truman Capote Prize for Literary Criticism. Plumly is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland. In 2010 he was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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By Stanley Plumly

Yet can I gulp a bumper to thy name,—O smile among the shades, for this is fame! 1. On June 22, 1818, two years to the day before he sat […]

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