Charles Cowden Clarke wrote to Monckton Milnes in August 1848 to congratulate him on his biography: ‘It is a worthy tribute to his genius’. In time, however, Cowden began to feel the need for a second, or even a ‘better’, life of Keats. Milnes had inevitably diluted and hedged Clarke’s opinions in his biography. In contrast, Clarke’s recollections of Keats, cherished ‘with a feeling that only comes short of idolatry’, as he put it himself, offered a more vivid and less apologetic picture. Clarke played a crucial role in introducing Keats to liberal or radical politics and in effectively moulding him into a ‘Cockney poet’. Clarke appears to have kept an eye on Keats for the six years between school and the preparation of his 1817 poems, intervening subtly in Keats’s friendship with Felton Mathew to recall Keats to politically committed writing. Consequently, Clarke’s ‘Recollections of Keats’ are strikingly warm, admiring and even hagiographic.