Vocabulary and Allusions

Stanza 1
      Line 5, beadsman: pauper paid to pray for patron; the name "beadsman" refers to the beads of a rosary.

Stanza II
      Line 7, Orat'ries: oratories or chapels

Stanza V
      Line 1, argent: silver

Stanza VI
      Line 8, require: ask of, beseech

Stanza VII
      Line 4, sweeping train: long dress trailing on the floor

Stanza VIII
      Line 4, timbrels: tambourine or small hand drum
      Line 7, hoodwink'd: blinded or deceived
            amort: as if dead, listless
      Line 8, unshorn: On St. Agnes's Day, two lambs were blessed during mass; nuns later spun and wove their wool.

Stanza IX
      Line 5, buttress'd: hiding in the shadows of the buttress, a projecting structure to support the castle

Stanza X
      Line 9, beldame: nurse or old woman, hag

Stanza XI
      Line 2, wand: staff or stick
      Line 5, bland: soft

Stanza XII
      Line 6, Gossip: a confidant or confidential friend

Stanza XIV
      Line 3, sieve: bewitched so that it held water
      Line 4, fays: fairies
      Line 9, mickle: much

Stanza XV
      Line 7, brook: hold back

Stanza XVI
      Line 9, bear them: defy them

Stanza XVII
      Line 3, passing-bell: death knell, rung when someone dies
      Line 5, plaining: lamenting or sorrowing

Stanza XIX
      Line 9, Since...debt: Perhaps the Demon was the temptress Vivien, who trapped Merlin in a tree (in some versions of the story, a cave) after learning his magic. Or this may refer to Merlin as the son of a demon; in another version of Arthurian legend, Merlin disappeared in a storm which he had called up with a spell.

Stanza XX
      Line 2, cates: delicacies
      Line 3, tambour frame: embroidery frame, shaped like a drum or tambourine

Stanza XXI
      Line 8, amain: exceedingly
      Line 9, agues: shaking, from cold; a chill

Stanza XXII
      Line 1, Balustrade: bannister
      Line 4, taper's: candle's
      Line 9, frayed: frightened

Stanza XXIII
      Line 6, voluble: beating audibly

Stanza XXIV
      Line 1, casement: window
      Line 2, imag'ries: designs
      Line 7, heraldries: emblems indicating genealogy
      Line 9, scutcheon: shield

Stanza XXV
      Line 2, gules: the name for red in heraldry
      Line 3, boon: favor
      Line 6, a glory: a halo

Stanza XXVII
      Line 7, clasped...pray: This line is ambiguous. It may mean "kept shut as a Christian book would be where pagans pray" or it can be read as meaning "held protectively as a believer among unbelievers."

      Line 7, fear: a frightened person

Stanza XXIX
      Line 5, Morphean: pertaining to Morpheus, the god of sleep
            amulet: charm to sleep.

Stanza XXX
      Line 2, lavander'd: perfumed with lavander
      Line 4, gourd: melon
      Line 5, soother: smother
      Line 6, tinct: tinctured
            lucent syrops: clear syrups
      Line 7, argosy: merchant fleet or a large merchant ship
      Line 8, Fez: commercial city, associated with sugar, in Morocco
      Line 9, Samarcand: city in Russia noted for its silks
            Lebanon: famed for its cedar wood

Stanza XXXI
      Line 6, seraph: angel
            eremite: hermit

Stanza XXXII
      Line 1, unnerved: weak (from intense emotion)
      Line 5, salvers: trays
      Line 7, redeem: set free
      Line 9, woofed: woven

      Line 4, 'La belle dame sans merci': 'the beautiful lady without mercy,' a poem by the medieval poet Alain Cartier

Stanza XXXIV
      Line 6, witless: uncomprehending

Stanza XXXV
      Line 7, complainings: laments

Stanza XXXVI
      Line 7, solution: fusion or mixture
      Line 8, Love's alarum: Love's or Cupid's warning

      Line 2, flaw-blown: gust-blown or wind-blown
      Line 9, pruned: bedraggled , looking wet and soiled as if dragged

      Line 2, aye: forever
      Line 3, vermeil: vermillion
      Line 9, infidel: unbeliever, non-Christian

Stanza XXXIX
      Line 2, haggard: wild
            seeming: appearance
      Line 7, Rhenish: Rhine wine
            mead: fermented drink made of malt and honey

      Line 7, arras: tapestry
      Line 8, aves: the prayer, Hail Mary, from its Latin name Ave Maria

Stanza XLI
      Line 3, Porter: gatekeeper

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