The Eve of St. Agnes: Stanza 15 - Summary

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Feebly she laugheth in the languid moon,
While Porphyro upon her face doth look,
Like puzzled urchin on an aged crone
Who keepeth clos’d a wond’rous riddle-book,
As spectacled she sits in chimney nook.
But soon his eyes grew brilliant, when she told
His lady’s purpose; and he scarce could brook
Tears, at the thought of those enchantments cold,
And Madeline asleep in lap of legends old.


      Angela laughed in her weak manner, aged as she was, while Porphyro gazed upon her face, unable to understand what she meant. At that time Porphyro was just like a small boy who stares, with a puzzled look, at an aged, bespectacled woman sitting in a chimney corner with a closed riddle-book in her hands. Just as the little boy feels intrigued by that riddle-book and his curiosity is excited by it. so was Porphyro puzzled by Angela’s laughter.
At first Porphyro looked at Angela with a puzzled expression, but when Angela explained Madeline’s purpose that night, he understood the situation. When he learned that Madeline was hoping to dream of her lover that night, his eyes shone brightly. He was actually moved to tears at the thought that Madeline was so simple and innocent as actually to believe in the ancient superstition connected with St. Agnes and to perform the prescribed ceremonies which were supposed to bring a dream of her love to her in her sleep.

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