'Merlin's Debt in Keats's "The Eve of St. Agnes', Lines 170-71

Hawlin, Stefan (2019) 'Merlin's Debt in Keats's "The Eve of St. Agnes', Lines 170-71. Notes and Queries, 264 (2). 00-00. ISSN (Online) 1471-6941 (Print) 0029-3970 (In Press)

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Abstract

This article looks in detail what has long been regarded as a crux of meaning in Keats's 'The Eve of St. Agnes': the last two lines of stanza 19, i.e. lines 170-71: 'Never on such a night have lovers met, / Since Merlin paid his Demon all the monstrous debt'. Early commentators, including Leigh Hunt, admitted to finding the basic meaning of the comparison here baffling, and modern commentators often note the lines as 'puzzling', uncertain, or ambiguous. The article proposes a clear reading of the lines, and begins to trace some of its implications in terms of how we read the poem as a whole.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Keats; 'The Eve of St. Agnes'; Romantic poetry; interpretative crux; 1819; stanza 19
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: School of Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature
Depositing User: Stefan Hawlin
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2019 10:30
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2019 10:30
URI: http://bear.buckingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/292

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