Spring 2004 • Vol. XXVI No. 2 Poetry |

The Composition of ‘The Eve of St. Agnes’ Followed in Mid-April by ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’

Coooee. Mama says what's the point. I guess she has been to town lots longer, like she says, but I don't know. He seems so sweet sometimes. He asked me over yesterday, a sunny day, and Lord—even a bit on the warm side for a change. So we went out back, behind Mr. Brown's garden, to that plot of high grass Mr. Brown says he plans to turn under next month, so he can cultivate some corn. Mr. Dilke says he will give that credence when it's done. Now, Johnny brought this basket filled with a half loaf and some white cheese, and a little jar of brown beer as well. When we sat down in the grass I could tell it was so we could be alone, the grass being a bit higher than our heads. And sure that was fine. Then he pulls a roll of papers tied up with red ribbon from inside his coat, and he says he has something for me. Oh, do you? I say. He asks me do I know the story of St. Agnes' Eve, and I say no—for I could see he wanted to tell it. Of course, every girl learns such stuffings at mother

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