Archive for the ‘Romantic Poetry’ Category

Today marks the Eve of St. Agnes, when a maiden may, after performing a defined bedtime ritual, dream of her future lover.

It was 200 years ago, in 1819,  that John Keats wrote his poem about the bitter chill night of January 20. It’s a tale of a lover risking all to gaze upon his beloved, with a happy ending when Madeline and Porphyro flee away into the night.

St. Agnes’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
       The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
       The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass,
       And silent was the flock in woolly fold….
a British Red Cross Christmas Card

Sheep in their woolly fold

It’s to be a cold cold night here in Toronto, but the snow has stopped, and the sky is clear, so perhaps we’ll see the full moon and lunar eclipse, perfect for Saint Agnes’ Eve (in the poem, a storm blows up later in the night).

My own copy was printed by my brother Pat on his home printing press in 1974.

The Eve of Saint Agnes, from The Daly Press

Saint Agnes’ Eve– ah bitter chill it was!


So take down your copy of Keats from the shelf, or find the poem here, or find the audio here. Then curl up by the fire and enjoy.

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