I have this moment received a note from Haslam in which he expects the death of his Father - who has been for some time in a state of insensibility - his mother bears up he says very well - I shall go to town tomorrow to see him. This is the world - thus we cannot expect to give way many hours to pleasure - Circumstances are like Clouds continually gathering and bursting - While we are laughing the seed of some trouble is put into the wide arable land of events - while we are laughing it sprouts it grows and suddenly bears a poison fruit which we must pluck - Even so we have leisure to reason on the misfortunes of our friends; our own touch us too nearly for words. Very few men have ever arrived at a complete disinterestedness of Mind: very few have been influenced by a pure desire of the benefit of others - in the greater part of the Benefactors to Humanity some meretricious motive has sullied their greatness - some melodramatic scenery has fascinated them - From the manner in which I feel Haslam's misfortune I perceive how far I am from any humble standard of disinterestedness - Yet this feeling ought to be carried to its highest pitch as there is no fear of its ever injuring Society - which it would do I fear pushed to an extremity - [...] I have no doubt that thousands of people never heard of have had hearts completely disinterested: I can remember but two - Socrates and Jesus - That he was so great a man that though he transmitted no writing of his own to posterity, we have his Mind and his sayings and his greatness handed to us by others. It is to be lamented that the histroy of the latter was written and revised by Men interested in the pious frauds of Religion. Yet through all this I see his splendour.
From a letter to George and Georgiana Keats