The Eve of St. Agnes: Stanza 31 - Summary

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These delicates he heap’d with glowing hand
On golden dishes and in baskets bright
Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they stand
In the retired quiet of the night,
Filling the chilly room with perfume light.—
“And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake!
“Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite:
“Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes’ sake,
“Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache.”


      Porphyro collects all these delicacies, with his hand which is burning with love, on golden dishes and bright baskets made of twisted silver. They look like offerings to his goddess. These delicacies appear lavishly magnificent in the quiet of the far advanced night and fill the room with a mild perfume.

      This is a passionate speech made by Porphyro to his sleeping beloved whom he addressed as his love and as his sweet, beautiful angel. He wanted her to wake up now. He called her his goddess whose worshipper or priest he was. He asked her in the name of the gentle saint, Agnes, to open her eyes, adding that if she did not wake up, he would faint by her bed-side because he was feeling a pain in his heart caused by the intensity of his passion for her. Porphyro’s passion had become an agony to him now and Madeline alone could soothe or clam him. (It should be noted that Porphyro is several times described as on the verge of fainting. The lovers in Keats’s poems are generally of the swooning type, so intense is their passion. There is almost an element of morbidity in the passion of these lovers.

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