07 February 2006

John Keats

On the Sea

It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores,—and with its mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand caverns,—till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.
Often ’tis in such gentle temper found,
That scarcely will the very smallest shell
Be lightly moved, from where it sometime fell,
When last the winds of heaven were unbound.
Ye, that have your eye-balls vex’d and tired,
Feast them upon the wideness of the sea;—
Or are your hearts disturb’d with uproar rude,
Or fed too much with cloying melody,—
Sit ye near some old cavern’s mouth and brood
Until ye start, as if the sea nymphs quired.


[from a letter to the Reynolds sisters, 1817]

Respects to Mrs Dilk saying . . . that had I remained at Hampstead I would have made precious havoc with her house and furniture — drawn a great harrow over her garden — poisoned Boxer — eaten her Cloathes pegs, — fried her Cabbages fricaceed (how is it spelt?) her radishes — ragouted her Onions — belaboured her beet root — outstripped her Scarlet Runners — parlez vous with her french Beans — devoured her Mignon or Mignonette — metamorphosed her Bell handles — splintered her looking glasses — bullock'd at her cups and saucers — agonized her decanters — put old Phillips to pickle in the Brine tub — disorganized her Piano — dislocated her Candlesticks — emptied her wine bins in a fit of despair — turned out her maid to Grass and Astonished Brown — whose Letter to her on these events I would rather see than the original copy of the Book of Genesis.

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