The Eve of St. Agnes: Stanza 20 - Summary

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“It shall be as thou wishest,” said the Dame:
“All cates and dainties shall be stored there
“Quickly on this feast-night: by the tambour frame
“Her own lute thou wilt see: no time to spare,
“For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare
“On such a catering trust my dizzy head.
“Wait here, my child, with patience; kneel in prayer
“The while: Ah! thou must needs the lady wed,
“Or may I never leave my grave among the dead.”


      The old woman agrees to do what Porphyro wishes her to do, and she tells him the choice of food and all sorts of delicacies can and will be quickly collected there as it is feast night. She tells him that he will find Madeline’s own lute by the side of her embroidery-frame. There is, she says, no time to waste; she is weak and walk very slowly, hardly venturing to employ her confused head in such a trust for providing amusements. She asks him to wait there and patiently kneel in prayer all that time she is awake.

      Angela was now very eager to co-operate with Porphyro in his plan of winning Madeline as his bride. She said that she would see to it that he got Madeline as his bride, failing which she was prepared to suffer the punishment of eternal death. It is a Christian belief that on the Doomsday, all the dead will rise from their graves and appear for judgment before God. Angela, in order to emphasize her statement, said that her soul would never rise from the grave on the day of resurrection if she did not succeed in uniting the two lovers.

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