OLDIE PODCAzT 127: The Eve of St. Agnes and a Bleak Midwinter

A friend reminded me today – this dark dark day – that it is the “Eve of St. Agnes Day”.  I am quite devoted to St. Agnes, and I have 1st class relic of her.

My friend reminded me today because he wanted me to repost an old PODCAzT that I made some years ago, in which I read the poem by Keats, “The Eve of St. Agnes“.  I also look at Christina Rossetti’s “In the bleak midwinter”, which has been beautifully set to music.

I, fan of poetry that I am, read out Keat’s poem, 42 Spencerian stanzas.  It is torrid and lush, with marvelous moments and imagery, imbued with the revival of romantic, courtly love which was coming back into vogue in the early 19th century.

The poem takes inspiration from a superstition, which I explain in an introduction.

The Eve of St Agnes would inspire the Pre-Raphaelites, as a matter of fact.

Speaking of Pre-Raphaelites, one of their circle, was Christina Rossetti.

It seems appropriate today, as we enter into a bleak and “dark winter”, to hear this lovely poem.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Gab says:

    As it is already St Agnes Feast day here, the following is the Introit which is rather pertinent:
    ”Sinners wait to destroy me, but I pay heed to Your decrees, O Lord. I see that all fulfillment has its limits; broad indeed is Your command”.

    Surely something to remember in the days ahead.

    And the Preface from the Gregorian Sacramentary (which is no longer used):

    ” It is truly right . . . Eternal God solemnly to call to mind the day consecrated by the martyrdom of Blessed Agnes, who, despising the delights of earthly nobility, merited a heavenly dignity ; who, contemning the desires of human society, was admitted to fellowship with the Eternal King, and,
    accepting a precious death by overcoming the frailty of her sex in confessing Christ, was made at the same time worthy to be conformed to His Eternity and Glory. Through Whom,” etc.

  2. Kathleen10 says:

    Thank you, beautifully read.

  3. samwise says:

    Fr Z, will you be returning to St Agnes in St Paul to find your mojo? Mgsr Schuler had plenty to spare…

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