Shelley and John Keats had a cordial relationship, but were never close friends. Each read the other’s work, but did not particularly admire it. When Shelley received Keats’s final collection in late 1820 he did not think much of most of the poems. The odes, ‘Lamia’, ‘Isabella’, ‘The Eve of St. Agnes’ he considered ‘insignificant enough’ and ‘worth little’. He did, however, think highly of the unfinished ‘Hyperion’. ‘I dare say you have not had time to read it’, he wrote to Peacock, ‘but it is certainly an astonishing piece of writing, and gives me a conception of Keats which I confess I had not before’.
In 1858 E.J. Trelawny recalled identifying Shelley’s body from an edition of Sophocles in one jacket pocket and a copy of Keats’s poems in the other, ‘doubled back, as if the reader, in the act of reading, had hastily thrust it away’.