Isabella and the pot by John William Waterhouse in the year 1907. Isabella and the Pot of Basil is a scene from John Keats's poem Isabella, or the Pot of Basil, originally written by Giovanni Boccaccio in the 14th century. The Florentine maiden Isabella is in love with Lorenzo, who works as a clerk for her two merchant-brothers. They murder the young man and bury him in a forest, but he appears to Isabella in a vision and tells her where to find his corpse. She exhumes his head and hides it in a pot of sweet basil, sustaining the increasingly vigorous plant with her tears, a particularly intimate form of the feminine element of water.