200 years ago Keats described serene Winchester

On Monday 20 September 1819 Keats wrote to his brother:
“This day is a grand day for Winchester. They elect the Mayor. It was indeed high time the place should have some sort of excitement. There was nothing going on—all asleep. Not an old maid’s sedan returning from a card party; and if any old women have got tipsy at christenings, they have not exposed themselves in the street…
“The side streets here are excessively maiden-lady-like, the door steps always fresh from the flannel. The knockers have a very staid, serious, nay almost awful quietness about them. I never saw so quiet a collection of lions’ and rams’ heads. The doors most part black, with a little brass handle just above the key hole, so that you may easily shut yourself out of your own house. He! he! There is none of your Lady Bellaston ringing and rapping here; no thundering Jupiter-footmen, no opera-treble-tattoos, but a modest lifting up of the knocker by a set of little wee old fingers that peep through the grey mittens, and a dying fall thereof. The great beauty of poetry is that it makes every thing, every place, interesting. The palatine Venice and the abbotine Winchester are equally interesting.”

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