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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

John Keats: The Eve of St. Agnes

The Eve of St. Agnes. Madeline undressing
painting by Sir John Everett Millais
no copyright infringement intended

Looking for the same word I was searching on Browning's poetry I am now browsing the poem of John Keats. I wouldn't give here the full text this time, there are 42 Spenserian stanzas. You will find them at this web address in a nice edition. It's The Eve of St. Agnes, based on the αιρεσις that a girl could see her future husband in a dream if she performed certain rites on the eve of St. Agnes (wiki). Well, in the poem Madeline loves Porphyro, who happens to belong to a rival family (kind of Romeo and Juliet). In the original version of his poem, Keats emphasized the young lovers' sexuality, but his publishers, who feared public reaction, forced him to tone down the eroticism (wiki) - PC was operating in the old times too, it seems.

(John Keats)

(John Everett Millais)

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