Study Guide

The Eve of St. Agnes Stanza 21

By John Keats

Stanza 21

So saying, she hobbled off with busy fear.
The lover's endless minutes slowly pass'd;
The dame return'd, and whispser'd in his ear
To follow her; with aged eyes aghast
From fright of dim espial. Safe at last,
Through many a dusky gallery, they gain
The maiden's chamber, silken, hush'd, and chaste;
Where Porphyro took covert, pleas'd amain.
His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain.

  • Angela comes back and leads Porphyro to Madeline's room, terrified the whole time that somebody's going to catch them.
  • Finally, they reach Madeline's room, which is quiet and "chaste." It may seem funny to personify a room, but you can think of it as both setting the mood and as also describing Madeline herself, a virgin.Ā 
  • Porphyro hides himself and is super-happy about things ("pleased amain"), while poor Angela comes in, in a fair amount of distress (the "agues" in her brain refer to shivering or fluttering from illness).