The Eve of St. Agnes

The Reviews

By  S. H. Pearson

      This critique was course-work that I submitted for graded credit also, but loved every minute of it.  Keats is one of the big guns of Romanticism.  He turned phrases like the ones in the King James Bible.   Hence I am convinced that all good poetry comes from God.

    John Keats’ Eve of St. Agnes is rich in imagery.  The vaporous breath rising from the beadsman as he says his Rosary.  The cold stone effigies of the dead lining the corridors of a great house seeming to shiver from even colder mail mesh.  The hunka-hunka burnin’ love in Porphyro’s breast for the sleeping Madeline.  The fragrant food so lovingly spread – you can taste it, smell it.  The climate, the feel of that room.  You can sense it.  Keats puts you there – right where he wants you.  Such is the craft of a good poet.

     And before you know it – you are with the two lovers in a disembodied swoon.  Surpassing all that can be earthly known, bathed in other beam than moon. 

     Keats’ oracular pen bleeds along the arcane, winding paths of the Ancient Wisdom.  To the metaphysicist, there is much substance in this poem beyond what Keats could have known.  Seeing as he could “only guess each sweet” as “from heaven is with the breezes blown.”


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