The Eve of St. Agnes: Stanza 26 - Summary

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Anon his heart revives: her vespers done,
Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees;
Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one;
Loosens her fragrant boddice; by degrees
Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees:
Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed,
Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,
In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed,
But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled.


      When Porphyro saw Madeline in her purest form, he fainted away. She was immensely pure and taintless.

      Very soon he came to his senses and then he began to watch her activities more closely. She had finished her evening prayers. Her hair formerly was decorated with pearls but now she removed them from that place. Her hair thus was pearless. She then removed her jewels one by one. These jewels were warm on account of their touch with her body. She also loosened the bodice full of sweet smell. He then looked to her rich clothes. They too were made a bit loose with the result that they began to touch her knees. Whenever she moved, these loose clothes produced a slight sound. With the losing of her dress, she was half revealed and half concealed. She looked charming like a sea nymph rising from the sea plants. She was still lost in deep thoughts. She was awake physically but she was mentally sleeping over the bed of fancies. She saw a dream in which St. Agnes had come to her bed. She could not decide to look at her because if she saw behind, the charm of the magic would be gone and she would not have the vision of her future husband.

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