The Eve of St. Agnes: Stanza 18 - Summary

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“Ah! why wilt thou affright a feeble soul?
“A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing,
“Whose passing-bell may ere the midnight toll;
“Whose prayers for thee, each morn and evening,
“Were never miss’d.”—Thus plaining, doth she bring
A gentler speech from burning Porphyro;
So woful, and of such deep sorrowing,
That Angela gives promise she will do
Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe.


      This is a pathetic speech from Angela. Porphyro had threatened to plunge in the midst of his enemies if she refused to carry out his plan. So she asked him why he was trying to frighten a poor frail, old woman who was suffering from palsy and who was no longer fit to live. She said that she might die that very night, before mid-night in fact. Her death-bell might ring any time because she had not long to live now. She told him that she had always been his well-wisher and that she had regularly prayed for his welfare, night and day. Therefore she appealed to him not to frighten her.

      This time the passionate Porphyro spoke in such an intensely pathetic and heart-rending manner that Angela was deeply moved. She could not bear to see him so miserable. So, she promised to carry out her plan, whether good befell her or evil. She said that whatever the consequences—good or bad—she would do as he bade her.

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