[A happy family] by Edward Henry Wehnert (1813–68). Wood engraving. The Eve of St. Agnes, p. 30. Wehnert adds a Victorian happy ending, which the final stanza of the poem pointedly does not. Recent critics have emphasized the brutal ending of the poem that presents the sad, lonely deaths of those who helped the lovers escape and that leaves the fate of Madeline and Porphyro a mystery:

And they are gone: ay, ages long ago
These lovers fled away into the storm.
That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe,
And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form
Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm,
Were long be-nightmar'd. Angela the old
Died palsy-twitch'd, with meagre face deform;
The Beadsman, after thousand aves told,
For aye unsought for slept among his ashes cold.

[Text of entire poem]

Image capture, formatting, and text by George P. Landow [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Internet Archive and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. ]


Keats, John. The Eve of St. Agnes. Illustrated by Edward H. Wehnert. London: Joseph Cundall/Samson and Low, 1856. Internet Archive. Web. 19 October 2012

Last modified 5 October 2015