Notes on 'The Eve of St Agnes' Stanza XXI-XXV

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Preview of Notes on 'The Eve of St Agnes' Stanza XXI-XXV

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Stanzas XXI ­ XXV in Detail
XXI
So saying, she hobbled off with busy fear.
The lover's endless minutes slowly pass'd;
The dame return'd, and whisper'd in his ear
To follow her; with aged eyes aghast
From fright of dim espial. Safe at last,
Though man a dusky gallery, they gain
The maiden's chamber, silken, hush'd, and chaste;
Where Poprhyro took covert, pleas'd amain.
His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain.
XXII
Her falt'ring hand upon the balustrade,
Old Angela was feeling for the stair,
When Madeline, St. Agnes' charmed maid,
Rose, like a mission'd spirit, unaware:
With silver taper's light, and pious care,
She turn'd, and down the aged gossip led
To a safe matting. Now prepare,
Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed;
She comes, she comes again, like ring-dove fray'd and fled.
XXIII
Out when the taper as she hurried in;
Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died:
She clos'd of the door, she panted, all akin
To spirits of the air, and visions wide:
No uttered syllable, or, woe betide!
But to her heart was voluble
Paining with eloquence her balmy side;
As though a tongueless nightingale should swell
Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell.
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XXIV
A casement high and triple-arch'd there was,
All garlanded with carven imag'ries
Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass,
And diamonded with panes of quaint device,
Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes,
As are the tiger-moth's deep-damask'd wings;
And in the midst, `mong thousand heraldries,
And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings,
A shielded scutcheon blush'd with blood of queens and kings.…read more

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