Text of poem
Genre: narrative poem.
Form, meter, and rhyme scheme: 42 Spenserian stanzas.
1. Compare this poem with other narrative poems (like "The Ancient Mariner," "Fra Lippo Lippi," or "Tintern Abbey" — or just for fun, take a look at some of Robert Burns's poems, like "The Cotter's Saturday Night" or "Tam O'Shanter"). By definition, they all tell stories; how much else do they have in common? Do you get the sense that these poems all have more or less the same end in view, since they are of the same type, or do they differ pretty profoundly?
2. W.B. Yeats once described Keats as "a boy with his face pressed to the window of a sweet-shop," and descriptions of food are common in his poetry. What specific purpose is served by the rather luxurious description of "dainties" in stanzas 30 and 31?
3. In the first few stanzas, our point of view is moved around in a rather sophisticated way. Trace the shifts in viewpoint.
4. When do we get the "argument" of the poem, i.e., at what point are we told the premise?
5. In Stanza 24 Keats moves to a description of the casement in Madeleine's room. Why insert this description at this particular point in the narrative?
Incorporated in the Victorian Web July 2000
Last modified 24 September 2015