Written by John Keats on April 17, 1817, "On the Sea" was inspired by the line
from King Lear, "Do you not hear the sea?". Keats had gone to
the Isle of Wight to begin work on Endymion, and wrote this sonnet as well.
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 moved for days from whence it sometime fell,
When last the winds of heaven were unbound.
O ye who have your eyeballs vext and tir'd,
Feast them upon the wideness of the sea;
O ye whose ears are dinned 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.