The Eve of St. Agnes: Stanza 5 - Summary

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At length burst in the argent revelry,
With plume, tiara, and all rich array,
Numerous as shadows haunting fairily
The brain, new stuffd, in youth, with triumphs gay
Of old romance. These let us wish away,
And turn, sole-thoughted, to one Lady there,
Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry day,
On love, and wing’d St. Agnes’ saintly care,
As she had heard old dames full many times declare.


      At length the multitude of guests walked into the hall in a splendid procession. The knights looked handsome with feathers worn in their headdresses while the ladies looked lovely with their jeweled crowns. The richly and brightly dressed men and women in the hall presented a fascinating spectacle. In fact they looked like the knights and ladies of romances which are so eagerly read by young man whose minds are therefore full of the heroic adventures and victories of chivalrous knights. The whole crowd of merry-makers like a procession of airy images of knights and ladies which haunt the mind of a young man who has read many romantic stories, of chivalry.

      The poet wants us to forget the crowd of merry-makers in the and to pay our attention single mindedly to one particular lady there. This lady was a virgin. She had spent the whole of that cold day (20th January) meditating upon love and upon St. Agnes who looks after the welfare and safety of virgins, She had often geard from the lips of old women a legend connected with St. Agnes Eve. The reference is to the superstitious practices and beliefs connected with St. Agnes eve as described in the next stanza.

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