Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Eve of St. Agnes, stanza six, words by Keats

"The Eve of St. Agnes" is a long poem (42 stanzas) by John Keats which was first published in 1820. As I've recently posted words for woman and maiden, I thought I'd feature a stanza from this fine poem. This is stanza 6 (or VI in Roman numerals).
They told her how, upon St. Agnes’ Eve,
Young virgins might have visions of delight,
And soft adorings from their loves receive
Upon the honey’d middle of the night,
If ceremonies due they did aright;
As, supperless to bed they must retire,
And couch supine their beauties, lily white;
Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.
Keats based his poem on the superstition that a girl could see her future husband in a dream if she performed certain rites on the eve of St. Agnes.

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