The Eve of St. Agnes: Stanza 40 - Summary

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She hurried at his words, beset with fears,
For there were sleeping dragons all around,
At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready spears—
Down the wide stairs a darkling way they found.—
In all the house was heard no human sound.
A chain-droop’d lamp was flickering by each door;
The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and hound,
Flutter’d in the besieging wind’s uproar;
And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor.

Summary

      Madeline hastily rises at Porphyro’s words. She is full of fear as she is surrounded by armed watchmen, as fierce as the mythical dragons guarding Chastity. They find a dark way down the broad stairs. There was no human sound in all the house. A lamp hanging from a chain is casting a dim, fitful light by each door. The tapestry (hanging screens hung round walls of rooms) richly embroidered with hunting scenes is fluttered by the assailing wind, and the long carpets are puffed up by the wind sweeping over the floor.

      The lovers passed through several doors and crossed several rooms. On the walls of the rooms hung tapestries into which the figures of riders, hawks and hunting dogs had been worked as an adornment. But as the wind blew with great force, the tapestries swung to and fro. Likewise, the long, thick carpets were tossed up by violent gusts of wind.

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