During a lengthy trip away from his friends and family in the spring of 1817, Keats wrote to his friend John Reynolds a letter that was characteristically warm and lyrical, evocative and arresting, but plangent, too, with longing:

The Wind is in a sulky fit, and I feel that it would be no bad thing to be the favourite 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 <Full> 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. 1