spenserian stanza

anonymous asked:

How should I go about analyzing St Agnes Eve by Keats?

ultimately it’s a poem where description trumps narrative. the characters and plot are less important than the sensual imagery. the medieval setting and its character archetypes are vehicles to emphasize the romantic atmosphere that the poem creates.

the structure is also going to be important here. spenserian stanzas are meant to be languid and drawn-out in pace. it’s an international choice that lets the poem linger in its sensuality.

let me know if you have any specific questions!


This is a 1609 edition copy of the incomplete epic poem The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser. It is one of the longest poems in the English language and is notable for its verse form known as the Spenserian stanza. The Faerie Queene contains allegories to praise Queen Elizabeth I, who favoured the piece resulting in a  £50 annual stipend for Spenser. This work would be his most famous. 

Call No: RAR PR 2358 AI 1609

O guardian angel, one of lives past:
Safeguard your immortal soul from distress
I plead, I beg of you, remain steadfast;
As ships at night anchor to the essence
And sailors halt their daily consciousness.
Hold close your eternal hour, and depart,
Refrain from mortal coil – you are boneless;
Me, a wrecked wretch of rambling ruined art –
Yet your bleeding wings wrap around my beating heart.
—  i will be your ruin , e.k.
“Interlude Epilogue”

Do you, dear reader, sense something amiss

In these five stories?  There’s no need to fret.

The earth abounds in spiders!  Please dismiss

The thought that they were heralds of some threat

Or blessing.  They are simple and quite set

In spinning ways.  Perhaps some wondrous mind

Might kiss their thoughts and, in psychic duet

See through their eyes as they spin silken traps to find

The truth of each child – nonsense!  Who would be inclined…?

Here’s a new form for me: a Spenserian stanza!  But seriously, who would be inclined, or capable?  It would have to be someone with a mind so powerful that they could, I don’t know, vanish before your eyes just by thinking themselves away to another world…

 (This was something I wrote as an addon to a college paper about the Faerie Queen.  It was inspired by the beautiful picture on the Alabaster Dragon Magic card.  Also, (even though I don’t expect anyone to) don’t steal this; it’s been published. It’s illegal and stuff.)

        Draconis Sanctus



In the birth of seasons ‘neath melting snow
A dragon lifts her head, shaking off sleep

Her eyes like sapphires, sparkling and bold
She licks her lips pensive of what to eat

Up heaves her body, stretching stiff physique
With great maw wide, she seeks to devour
In the reflection of the babbling creek
Ivory scales, like the whitest flower
She drinks from the river over which she towers



Hungry, the pearled dragon turns full right
Hearing the movement of a timid deer
The dragon snorts; the deer freezes with fright
As the white dragon grins from ear to ear
The hind sinks to its knees, weary with fear
As dagger teeth soon bare in a hurry
The brush behind the deer, the dragon bites
And chews sweet fruits, the hind needn’t worry

This dragon is gentle as the first snow’s flurry



Full sated, the pretty dragon turns ‘round
mindful of the shy deer, her tail unwinds
Into the fresh sunlight without a sound
She goes, a dragon unnaturally kind
Virtuous, purest of heart, soul and mind

Mother of forest kin, sister to clouds
With wings that glimmer and with starlight shine
Fond and confident, but never too proud
Senseless violence, to her, was ne'er allowed



It happened then, that a cruel, evil heart
heard news of a dragon with holy scales
Giddy with vice, further did he impart

To slaughter this beast and furnish his maille
with the finest of this sweet dragon’s scales
King of lands to the south, this vile man
Bids those for this task who will not grow pale
when faced with a dragon but ‘stead demand

Its death and take its coat for the King’s selfish plan.





So it is that our dragon is aloft
When she sees from the clouds, a group of men

With sword and stave and mace they laugh and scoff
Boasting how they’ll invade the dragon’s den
Linger, pounce and strike it once and again

Distressed, the gentle dragon weeps and sighs

Her tears dropping below to the swart men
They look up and cannot believe their eyes
At the awesome hue of the dragon’s underside



With a sigh of resolve, the dragon swoops
back to the ground and spreads her wings to slow
She docks with grace, after turning a loop
And folds back her white sails which seem aglow

Saddened eyes blink at the men still below

“With so much malice thou comes now to me

But why?  Have I wronged you? This I don’t know,”

The gentle dragon murmurs patiently

While her cruel assassins regard her thoughtfully


Such virtue and love the dragon exudes

Confused the men lay down their arms and pride
They do not wish to be so excluded
And come to rest by the white dragon’s side

By her pure Love are they so pacified

The holy dragon unfolds snow-white wings

Across the men and herds she them inside
She parts scaled lips and so quietly sings

Charms the men to sleep, and then, swift, takes she to wing


The king soon learns of his men’s failing deeds
Ten serfs he kills, so mad with rage is he
Determined to punish them he proceeds

to call upon a monstrous, wicked sea

of demons, a most vile sorcery

For learned in the dark arts was this king
The summoned imps gather in inquiry
To what plan their master is concocting
Impatient for the havoc they should be causing


Away he sends his minions to provoke
The holy dragon from her steadfast home
He bids them to bite, rip, claw, tear and choke
the throbbing life from that gentle beast’s bones
To shed her blood amidst her shrieks and moans
And added he to these bloodthirsty brutes
To stop not at the sweet dragon alone

But murder those who did not contribute
Namely the failing soldiers he’d once thought astute

(I never did get a chance to complete it. :/)

Stanza 4

Yet there, in sleep, my woes did seek me still,

   And in my dream I lied on my front yard,

   Disturbed, I was, but knew not what made ill,

   I tried to stay awake to see the stars,

   To watch the comets shower flames bizarre,

   Indeed it was relayed to be superb,

   A stunning cosmic scene of great regard,

   Alas, against my will my vision blurred,

I fell to slumber, sealed my fate to be deterred


Emotions running at pressures so high

You know I don’t need a white picket fence

It’s when you don’t say much I hear your lies…

How I learned to listen through silence

Afraid, I see it… how your face grows tense

It’s not the jump but the fear of falling.

These games we play that simply make no sense

Will leave behind an even greater sting

But face it; we all just yearn a sense of belonging