The Eve of St. Agnes: Stanza 41 - Summary

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They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;
Like phantoms, to the iron porch, they glide;
Where lay the Porter, in uneasy sprawl,
With a huge empty flaggon by his side;
The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide,
But his sagacious eye an inmate owns:
By one, and one, the bolts full easy slide:—
The chains lie silent on the footworn stones;—
The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groan.


      This stanza describes the various stages of the lover’s hazardous journey through various rooms into the hall, from thence to the iron gate and out into the storm. Noiselessly like spirits they stepped into the wide hall which had been the scene of dancing and merry-making. From the hall, they walked silently to the iron gate under the enclosure. At the gate lay the gate-keeper, dead drunk, with his limbs stretched on the ground in an awkward manner, and with a large vessel from which he had drunk wine and which was now empty. The bloodhound, however, was watchful and alert. He got up and shook his body (as is the habit of dogs). But he was intelligent enough to recognize Madeline and so he remained quiet. The lovers noiselessly unbolted and unchained and unlocked the door and opened it. As the door turned upon its hinges, it produced a groaning sound but it did not wake up the porter.

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