The Eve of St. Agnes: Stanza 23 - Summary

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Out went the taper as she hurried in;
Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died:
She clos’d the door, she panted, all akin
To spirits of the air, and visions wide:
No uttered syllable, or, woe betide!
But to her heart, 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.


      Madeline came out of another part of the building. When she was going to her chamber, she saw the old nurse called Angela trying to seek the staircase in dark. The young girl at once guided her with the light of the silver taper and then she came back to her chamber.

      In this hurry, Madeline lost the balance of her hand and the candle was put off. It then produced smoke but soon it died away in the pale moonlight. Madeline closed the door and then she breathed heavily. She in that position looked like an angel. She was endowed with the power of all sweeping vision. There was the need of absolute silence. Even the slightest sound could create a great danger. External silence could be maintained but it was very difficult for Madeline to silence her heart. It wanted to express itself. It was in a state of violent agitation. It wanted to burst forth and pour out all its feelings as strongly as it could. If she did not express the feelings of her heart, there was the possibility of choking of her heart. She could be compared to that speechless nightingale which puffed its throat to sing but which could not sing to its dumbness. In that case, it was sure to be choked. It would then die one day in its valley, similarly Madeline pined for expression.

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