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The Other Correct Answer Is: John Keats
, you are correct. You are even more correct, possibly, than you know. Here is the first part of a letter from Keats to Reynolds, written on the Isle of Wight, noting that every prospect pleases, especially that of the sea, and including in the letter itself a copy of the inspired-by-Wight Vectensian verse "On the Sea":
Carisbrooke April 17 th 1817
My dear Reynolds,-
Ever since I wrote to my Brothers form Southhampton I have been in a taking, and at this moment I am about to become settled, for I have unpacked my books, put them into a snug corner - pinned up Haydon - Mary Queen Scotts, and Milton with his daughters in a row. In the passage I found a head of Shakspeare which I had not before seen. It is most likely the same that George spoke so well of; for I like it extremely. Well - his head I have hung over my Books, just above the three in a row, having first discarded a french Ambassador - now this alone is a good morning's work.
Yesterday I went to Shanklin, which occasioned a great debate in my Mind whether I should live there or at Carisbrooke. Shanklin is a most beautiful place - sloping wood and meadow ground reaches round the Chine, which is a cleft between the Cliffs of the depth of nearly 300 feet at least. This cleft is filled with trees & bushes in the narrow parts; and as it widens becomes bare, if it were not for primroses on one side, which spread to the very verge of the Sea, and some fishermen's huts on the other, perched midway in the Ballustrades of beautiful green Hedges along their steps down to the sands. - But the sea, Jack, the sea - the little waterfall - then the white cliff - then St. Catherin's Hill - "the sheep in the meadows, the cows in the corn."- Then, why are you at Carisbrooke? say you - Because, in the first place, I should be at twice the Expense, and three times the inconvenience - next that from here I can see your continent - from a little hill close by, the whole north Angle of the Isle of Wight, with the water between us. In the 3rd place, I see Carisbrooke Castle from my window, and have found several delightful wood-alleys, and copses, and quick freshes. As for Primroses - the Island ought to be called Primrose Island: that is, if the nation of Cowslips agree thereto, of which there are diverse Clans just beginning to lift up their heads and if an how the Rain holds whereby that is Birds eyes abate - Another reason of my fixing is that I am more in reach of the places around me - I intend to walk over the Island east - West - North South - I have not seen many specimens of Ruins - I dont think however I shall ever see one to surpass Carisbrooke Castle. The trench is o'ergrown with the smoothest turf, and the Walls with ivy - The Keep within side is one Bower of ivy - a Colony of Jackdaws have been there many years. I dare say I have seen many a descendant of some old cawer who peeped through the Bars at Charles the first, when he was there in Confinement. On the road from Cowes to Newport I saw some extensive Barracks which disgusted me extremely with Government for placing such a Nest of Debauchery in so beautiful a place - I asked a man on the coach about this - and he said that the people had been spoiled - In the room where I slept at Newport I found this on the Window "O Isle spoilt by the Milatary!" I must in honesty however confess that I did not feel very sorry at the idea of the Women being a little profligate - The wind is in a sulky fit, and I feel that it would be no bad thing to be the favorite of some Fairy, who would give one the power of seeing how our Friends got on, at a Distance - I should like, of all Loves, a sketch of you and Tom and George in ink which Haydon will do if you tell him how I want them - From want of regular rest, I have been rather narvus - and the passage in Lear -"Do you not hear the sea?"- has haunted me intensely.
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 mov'd for days from where it sometime fell,
When last the winds of Heaven were unbound.
Oh ye! who have your eye-balls vex'd and tir'd,
Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;
Oh ye! whose ears are dinn'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 quir'd -
Primroses, and cowslips, and "the sea, Jack, the sea."