Study Guide

The Eve of St. Agnes Stanza 31

By John Keats

Stanza 31

These delicates he heap'd with glowing hand
On golden dishes and in baskets bright
Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they stand
In the retired quiet of the night,
Filling the chilly room with perfume light.—
"And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake!
Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite:
Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes' sake,
Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache."

  • So now that he's got everything ready, he's got to wake up Madeline. He knows that she's gone to bed hoping for a vision of him, and so he's making it happen—he figures that she's going to wake up, see him and this carefully-arranged feast, and think that ritual worked.
  • Again with the metaphorical angel language: he calls Madeline his "seraph," which is the highest order of Christian angels. She even represents heaven itself to him. He then calls himself her "eremite," which is a Christian hermit—a guy who lives totally solo and worships God (or, in this case, Madeline) in seclusion.
  • He closes the stanza by saying that either Madeline's gotta wake up or he's going to go to "drowse"—meaning that either way, he's going to get to her, whether she awakens or stays in her "wakeful swoon." We think Madeline needs to have a sit-down with Porphyro wherein she explains the concept of boundaries.