Keats and Chapman refuse to leave you in peace

by Marie Marshall

1Keats and Chapman2 were having a friendly game of quoits one day. They were neck-and-neck on points, each being as good as the other at the sport. Chapman, desperate to pull ahead, flung his penultimate quoit to the furthest peg, and ringed it perfectly. He drew back to let fly his last missile, when Keats stopped him.

“Tell you what, old man,” he said, “if you can pull that shot off again, we’ll say you double your tally and win outright. But if you miss, your score is wiped out to zero. What say, old sport?”

Chapman agreed, and put his entire skill and effort into the last pitch. The quoit sailed through the air in a perfect parabola. It struck the peg, spun on its side, and for a moment teetered there. Keats and Chapman held their breath. If the quoit fell one way, it would decide the match for Chapman, if the other, Keats.

The quoit fell. It almost circled the peg. It fell to the side.

“Unrequoited. Love,” said Keats.

Once more Chapman had to go and lie down in a darkened room for a while.