The Eve of St. Agnes: Stanza 8 - Summary

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She danc’d along with vague, regardless eyes,
Anxious her lips, her breathing quick and short:
The hallow’d hour was near at hand: she sighs
Amid the timbrels, and the throng’d resort
Of whisperers in anger, or in sport;
’Mid looks of love, defiance, hate, and scorn,
Hoodwink’d with faery fancy; all amort,
Save to St. Agnes and her lambs unshorn,
And all the bliss to be before to-morrow morn.


      Madeline gid participate in the dancing but with vacant eyes and in an indifferent or absent-minded manner. As the hour of mid-night which is sacred to St. Agnes approached, Madeline began to feel anxious and she breathed nervously, because she wanted to retire to herded room so as not to miss the sweet dreams she wanted to She sighed with longing and desire, while the drums were beaten and the music was being played. She was surrounded by the multitude of guests who were talking in whispers, some of them using angry words, other joking and laughing. As it was a large gathering, the guests were in different moods. Some had an expression of love in their eyes; others had hatred in their eyes, and still others looked challengingly, hatefully or scornfully upon one another. There were different passions in the hearts of the guests— love, hatred, hostility, contempt—and these were all reflected in their eyes. Madeline, however, was absolutely unconscious of the feelings and passions of the guests. She was absorbed in his own thoughts of romantic love; her imagination had bewitched her with the sweet vision that she was to see. In fact she was perfectly indifferent to, and unmindful of everything except St. Agnes. St. Agnes’ unshorn lambs, and St. Agnes sweet dreams. It was a practice to dedicate unshorn lambs to St. Agnes, to shear them on the eve of St. Agnes and to spin this wool for St. Agnes’ shrine. Madeline’s whole attention was concentrated on St. Agnes and everything connected with St. Agnes.

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