The Eve of St. Agnes: Stanza 9 - Summary

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So, purposing each moment to retire,
She linger’d still. Meantime, across the moors,
Had come young Porphyro, with heart on fire
For Madeline. Beside the portal doors,
Buttress’d from moonlight, stands he, and implores
All saints to give him sight of Madeline,
But for one moment in the tedious hours,
That he might gaze and worship all unseen;
Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss—in sooth such things have been.


      In this restless state of mind, Madeline, although she intends to retire to her bedroom every moment, still stays on. In the meanwhile, her lover, young Porphyro, with heart burning with love has come, after crossing the moors (wastelands covered with heather). To conceal his presence, he is standing, apart from the moonlight and in the shadow of the buttress (inclined walls). All the time, he is supplicating the saints to grant him a sight of Madeline only for a moment, so that he might gaze at her and worship her in secret, unnoticed by anyone; and it is just possible that he may get an opportunity of speaking her, of kneeling before her and touching her and even the supreme bliss of kissing her. He knows that such things have happened in fact in the past.

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