The Eve of St. Agnes: Stanza 3 - Summary

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Northward he turneth through a little door,
And scarce three steps, ere Music’s golden tongue
Flatter’d to tears this aged man and poor;
But no—already had his deathbell rung;
The joys of all his life were said and sung:
His was harsh penance on St. Agnes’ Eve:
Another way he went, and soon among
Rough ashes sat he for his soul’s reprieve,
And all night kept awake, for sinners’ sake to grieve.


      The poor Prayers-man, while he turns through a little door and scarcely advances a few steps, hears the joyous notes of the music and he foolishly think that the music is meant for him and feels elated and soothed. But, says the poet, the death-bell of this poor man was already rung and he was destined to die in a short time. All the joys of his life were past and gone and it was his hard lot to do harsh penance for the salvation of those who paid him, by keeping vigil (awake) all night and praying for the expiation of their sins.

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