40 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2015
    1. "La belle dame sans mercy:"


      • Keats created the name of this song from a medieval poem; Alain Chartier's 1424 "La Belle Dame sans Mercy"
                   * Love lyric involving a female protagonist who wasn't overly seductive nor did she use magic to trick or deceive
                             *She is considered to be merciless because she refuses to be seduced by her lover's pleas 
                  * Poem contains mostly dialogue between the female protagonist and her lover; pattern of communication resurfaces in "The Eve of St. Agnes" after Porphyro plays the song for Madeline
      • Keats would write a poem of the title "La Belle Dame sans Merci" a few months after completing "The Eve of St. Agnes". This poem is pulled from a variety of sources from SPenser's "Fairy Queen", The Ballad of Thomas the Rhymer, and ballads from Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.
    2. And they are gone: ay, ages long ago370 These lovers fled away into the storm. That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe, And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm, Were long be-nightmar'd. Angela the old Died palsy-twitch'd, with meagre face deform; The Beadsman, after thousand aves told, For aye unsought for slept among his ashes cold.

      They leave the house in a state of sleep, almost like pausing reality. Could be perceived as Madeline and Porphyro running away and leaving everyone else to deal with the consequences. Notice how the two most religious features in the poem die, could be a way to emphasize young foolish love breaking free of the constraints of religion and what is socially acceptable.

    3. Into her dream he melted, as the rose320 Blendeth its odour with the violet,— Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows Like Love's alarum pattering the sharp sleet Against the window-panes; St. Agnes' moon hath set.
      • In this version, shows reality (frost-wind blows) or outer sanctum of the poem threatening to interfere but both refuse to see or acknowledge reality. Showing them decidedly turning away from reason and the "right" and christian decision (using the tampered dream as a sign of good blessings for their union and breaking the Christian traditions of St. Agnes Eve) and following their hearts. *Alarum is an old spelling of the word "Alarm"
    4. The boisterous, midnight, festive clarion, The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarionet, Affray his ears, though but in dying tone:—260 The hall door shuts again, and all the noise is gone.

      The real world threatening to breech into the core plot of the poem but Madeline remains asleep, refusing to let reality interfere with her dream. Interesting to note that these loud noises don't wake her but later when Porphyro whispers in her ear and plays instruments softly not only does she wake up but before she does his actions help shape her dream while outside noises from the party do not.

    5. O for some drowsy Morphean amulet!

      Another drug reference this time used in context with magically and mythical themes (amulet meaning a sleep-producing charm or spell). also referencing the abnormality of Madeline's sleep.

    6. poppied warmth of sleep oppress'd Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away

      Drug reference that could be implying an unnaturally deep sleep.

    7. on her silver cross soft amethyst,

      Could also be playing on the theme of paganism invading on Christianity. Or of young foolish love invading on established authority and pushing aside conventions held by the rest of society.

    8. vespers

      Evening prayers

    9. Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest,220 And on her silver cross soft amethyst,

      Rose and violet. either imagery to enhance the dream-like quality of the piece or signs to show the "rightness" of their union. Notice how her cross turns purple which could be a sign from God approving of the match which is what both want.

    10. As though a tongueless nightingale should swell Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell.

      Could be an allusion to a story in Metamorphoses, where Philomel is raped by her sister's husband who then cuts her tongue out to keep her from telling what he's done. She manages to weave her story and make herself understood to her sister and when the husband is about to kill both women, they are metamorphosed into a nightingale and a swallow.

    11. Never on such a night have lovers met,170 Since Merlin paid his Demon all the monstrous debt.

      Most likely from an episode in the Arthurian legends in which Merlin loses his life when a conniving woman named Vivian turns one of his own spells against him.

    12. So woful, and of such deep sorrowing,160 That Angela gives promise she will do Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe.

      Foreshadowing. Because Angela is helping Porphyro to deceive Madeline, she is helping them to avoid the consequences of their actions and will die later on in the poem as a way to show the reader that by helping them avoid the consequences, she takes on the consequences of the real world herself.

    13. St. Agnes! Ah! it is St. Agnes' Eve— Yet men will murder upon holy days: Thou must hold water in a witch's sieve,120 And be liege-lord of all the Elves and Fays, To venture so: it fills me with amaze To see thee, Porphyro!—St. Agnes' Eve! God's help! my lady fair the conjuror plays This very night: good angels her deceive! But let me laugh awhile, I've mickle time to grieve.

      Contradictory because Angela is telling Porphyro that today should be a holy day but men can and have deceived on sacred days as if it means nothing special. She talks about using trickery and manipulation of God and His wishes to get the outcome Porphyro needs for Madeline to believe that they should be together and that it is the right, Christian thing to do.

    14. Oh leave me not in this eternal woe, For if thou diest, my Love, I know not where to go." [101]XXXVI. Beyond a mortal man impassion'd far At these voluptuous accents, he arose, Ethereal, flush'd, and like a throbbing star Seen mid the sapphire heaven's deep repose Into her dream he melted, as the rose320 Blendeth its odour with the violet,— Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows Like Love's alarum pattering the sharp sleet Against the window-panes; St. Agnes' moon hath set.


      1. In 1819, Keats suggested alterations to Stanza 36 and the two proceeding lines. *See, while she speaks his arms encroaching slow, Have zoned her, heart to heart, - loud, loud the dark winds blow!

      XXXVI: For on the midnight came a tempest fell; More sooth, for that his quick rejoinder flows Into her burning ear; and still the spell Unbroken guards her in serene repose. With her wild dream he mingled, as a rose Marrieth its odour to a violet. Still, still she dreams, louder the frost wind blows.*

      1. This version was rejected because many believed it made the poem too sexually explicit.
      2. the verson currently printed gives the reader a sense of Porphyro becoming a part of Madeline's dream to fulfill it as an innocent experience.
  2. Nov 2015
    1. Porphyro

      Porphyria is also associated with the creation of vampire legends; although there is little evidence to support this. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2398345/

    2. Porphyro,


      • could be associated with Porphyria which is disease around the time of King George who became insane and blind as the disease progressed.
    3. A cruel man and impious thou art:

      Pagan for interrupting christian rituals. Shows that Porphyro can be a portrayal of paganism intervening on Christianity. He is unwelcome in the christian frame of reference.

    4. Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose, Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart Made purple riot:
      • Keats uses purple and rose(pink) as a way to show the intertwining of the Porphyro and Madeline characters.
      • Made purple riot use of synesthesia
    5. God's help! my lady fair the conjuror plays This very night: good angels her deceive

      Madeline is using magic by believing and following in the rituals.

    6. He found him in a little moonlight room, Pale, lattic'd, chill, and silent as a tomb.

      Keats playing with temperature to show that this stanza is a frame for the main action of the poem; helps set the scene but is distanced from the main point.

    7. Gossip

      Godmother or old friend

    8. Buttress'd from moonlight

      Sheltered from the moonlight; which shown later seems to be the only thing that can cut through the layers of the poem and show reality to the characters and readers

    9. heart on fire

      shows a dramatic raise in temperature; points out that this is the center of the piece and what the rest of the poem revolves around; Madeline and Porphyro's love.

    10. Porphyro

      closely related to purple which appears throughout the poem.

    11. her lambs unshorn


      • Agnes means lamb in Roman (chaste in Greek). it was common practice to bring lambs into church on St. Agnes' Eve and shear them as a form of tribute/worship.
    12. Hoodwink'd with faery fancy; all amort,70 Save to St. Agnes

      Entirely oblivious or dead to the world around her. Blindfolded from reality.

    13. Young virgins might have visions of delight

      Shows a sense of irony because only good, chaste Christian girls can preform this ritual but the point of the ritual is to have an erotic dream with who they believe their future husband will be. Shows that Madeline is a good christian she who is also young and in love but wants a sign to show her if it is pious for her to pursue her romance

    14. already had his deathbell rung

      foreshadowing the Beadsman's fate.

    15. St. Agnes' Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!

      St. Agnes' Eve is on January 21st which would be in the middle of winter. Keats also uses temperature as a way to distinguish the layers of the poem. The beadsman is on the outer fringe of the plot ; there to provide a sense of the importance of religion in this time period. also gives the poem an older feel since the position of beadsman was used primarily in Scotland in earlier centuries.

    16. At length burst in the argent revelry, With plume, tiara, and all rich array, Numerous as shadows haunting fairily The brain, new stuff'd, in youth, with triumphs gay40 Of old romance

      Keats associates the party guests with objects and shadows to show their insignificance to the main point of the poem. He casts reality into shadow and allows for the reader to get a sense of how Madeline sees the world; as background noise. Also skews reality to allow for the legend of St. Agnes will seem more plausible and possible to the reader.

    17. ST. AGNES


      • Martyred in 304 A.D. in Rome at 13 yrs old for refusing to sacrifice to the pagan gods by losing her virginity to rape. She was tortured and received several marraige proposals to make her comply but she refused to renounce Christianity and was either beheaded and burned or stabbed. She is the patron saint of virgins, engaged couples, and chastity.
    18. Beadsman


      • A pensioner provided for by a benefactor in return for prayers, especially one living in an almshouse.
  3. Oct 2015
    1. The Mariner, whose eye is bright,   Whose beard with age is hoar,620  Is gone: and now the Wedding-Guest   Turn'd from the bridegroom's door.     He went like one that hath been stunn'd,   And is of sense forlorn:   A sadder and a wiser man625  He rose the morrow morn.

      Shifts from the mariner to an un-named narrator to provide the reader with a sense of completion and to show how the mariner's story affects those who he tells it to. Also shows a change in the wedding-guest from a skeptical person to one that easily believes in things that can't really be proven.

    2. And horror follows. For can it be a ship that comes onward without wind or tide?

      Lends a sense of the surreal to the piece. This question foreshadows to the reader that this ship is not there to save them and most likely is a way to further punish the men for their crime against the bird. It makes the reader think of the probability of a ship moving with no force acting on it and could also be a way for the reader to see how mad the crew has become since it is almost impossible for a ship in those days to travel without any wind or tide to carry them; yet the crew still easily believes that a ship could appear and hopes that it will save them.

    3. The ancient Mariner inhospitably killeth the pious bird of good omen

      Reinforces the idea of superstitions and the ability to easily believe by calling the bird pious and a good omen. It gives the reader a better understanding of the death of the Albatross. It adds to the story in a way that leads the reader to believe that the bird was killed unjustly and that maybe the ancient mariner was unbalanced in the past from years on sea and not just from the one experience.

    4.  As if it had been a Christian soul,  65  We hail'd it in God's name.

      Simile comparing the Albatross with Christianity and a good omen of God. It reinforces the epigraph at the beginning which basically sums up to "I can easily believe.". Coleridge is showing not only that sailors are a superstitious group but also that when people are in a crisis it is easier to have faith in the seemingly unlikely.

    5. This sentence shifts from the past to the present of this piece. Coleridge uses it to show the disorientation of the Mariner. It serves as a focal point for the reader to be able to recognize how affected he is by the traumatic experience that the listener has to interrupt the Mariner's rambling so he can proceed with what happened to the bird.

  4. Sep 2015
    1. blushes

      Means a glance, glimpse, blink, look. By using this word specifically instead of saying 'look' or another more common synonym, Blake emphasizes the infatuation the narrator feels for Mary. It portrays her as a young modest girl who wouldn't dream of being the center of attention. this word choice adds to how she is previously described and reinforces that innocent image to the reader.

    1. Impatient for the night, and seems to push Her brother down the sky.

      referring to Diana's twin Apollo, also known as a sun god who rides his chariot across the sky to bring light and daytime. Barbauld uses the roman references not only whimsically to further illustrate the calming, mystical, and almost other-worldly feel of the poem but also as a transition of time to move the poem gracefully into the time of meditation where things like Gods and how the universe really works can be contemplated without the distractions of the day.