Study Guide

The Eve of St. Agnes Stanza 30

By John Keats

Stanza 30

And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,
In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender'd,
While he from forth the closet brought a heap
Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd;
With jellies soother than the creamy curd,
And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon;
Manna and dates, in argosy transferr'd
From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one,
From silken samarcand to cedar'd Lebanon.

  • Porphyro apparently takes this whole midnight snack thing really seriously: he ditches the Ramen and Twizzlers and instead lays out a spread of delicious delicacies. 
  • How delicious? So delicious that it's not even clear it's real: for instance, "manna" doesn't refer to a specific food; it was famously the food that God supplied the Israelites to sustain them through their travels through the deserts. The list of foods doesn't end up reading as "Mmmm, yes, I would definitely order that if I saw it on a menu" so much as it does "Oh, look, a collection of totally disparate but really rare, expensive and possibly divine foods." The Keats Cookbook: probably never gonna happen.
  • Some quick definitions for those who missed some of the lingo: 
  • A quince is a small, yellow, apple-type fruit, and the "gourd" probably refers to a melon, not a squash.
  • "Argosy" is a merchant ship, which would bring all of these delicacies from abroad.
  • Fez, in Morocco, was famous for sugar, and "Samarcand" was the old word for current-day Damascus, which produced fine silk. Finally, Lebanon was a supplier of—you guessed it—really nice cedar.