200 years ago Keats composed this sonnet after one of his evening visits to Leigh Hunt (when he’d finished work at St Thomas’s Hospital he would often walk the six miles from Cheapside to Hampstead, for evenings of poetical talk).
Keen, fitful gusts are whispering here and there
Among the bushes half leafless, and dry;
The stars look very cold about the sky,
And I have many miles on foot to fare.
Yet feel I little of the cool bleak air,
Or of the dead leaves rustling drearily,
Or of those silver lamps that burn on high,
Or of the distance from home’s pleasant lair:
For I am brimful of the friendliness
That in a little cottage I have found;
Of fair-haired Milton’s eloquent distress,
And all his love for gentle Lycid drowned;
Of lovely Laura in her light green dress,
And faithful Petrarch gloriously crowned.