200 years ago Keats described his witty friends’ personalities

On Monday 17 January 1820 Keats wrote to his sister-in-law Georgiana:
“I know three witty people all distinct in their excellence — Rice, Reynolds, and Richards. Rice is the wisest, Reynolds the playfullest, Richards the out-o’-the-wayest.
The first makes you laugh and think, the second makes you laugh and not think, the third puzzles your head.
I admire the first, I enjoy the second, I stare at the third.
The first is claret, the second ginger-beer, the third crême de Byrapymdrag.
The first is inspired by Minerva, the second by Mercury, the third by Harlequin Epigram, Esq.
The first is neat in his dress, the second slovenly, the third uncomfortable.
The first speaks adagio, the second allegretto, the third both together.
The first is Swiftean, the second Tom-Crib-ean, the third Shandean.
And yet these three eans are not three eans but one ean.”

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