The Eve of St. Agnes: The poem, the history
St. Agnes is the patron saint of virgins, martyred at the hands of the Romans around 304 A.D. at the tender age of
thirteen. In olden days it was believed that if a girl performed certain rituals on The Eve of St. Agnes, the 20th
of January, her future husband would appear to her.
In 1820 the immortal English Romantic poet John Keats published his controversial and dramatic narrative poem,
The Eve of St. Agnes, well known to most students of English literature. Set in Renaissance times, it is the thrilling
and sensuous story of Madeline and Porphyro, two courageous young lovers willing to defy patriarchal tyranny, an ancient
blood feud, and mortal danger to escape a tragic fate, willing to risk everything for their love and the promise of
a life together. Could it be that the power of their love and their connection with one another is so deep and so
strong that it will bring them together in a future time and place? Perhaps more than once? Here begins their journey
France, middle of the 15th century: Madeline, lovely daughter of a powerful nobleman, must attend a great feast in
her father’s castle, a masked ball to entertain the most eligible noblemen among whom her father plans to choose a husband
for her. Her heart, however, already belongs to Porphyro, the passionate and daring son of her father’s avowed enemy and
the one suitor who is forbidden to come, but fortunately, she has a resourceful ally in her old nurse, Angela.
On the night of the feast, The Eve of St. Agnes, Porphyro arrives in disguise, braving a castle full of men, including
Madeline’s kinsmen, who would murder him on sight if they recognized him. Angela, who desires Madeline’s happiness above
all else, helps Porphyro, leading him secretly to Madeline’s chamber where his love lies sleeping, having carefully
observed the midnight rites of St. Agnes. Their passion is consummated, and while the revelers lie deep in a drunken
sleep, Madeline and Porphyro make their escape from the castle, galloping away into the coming dawn and the pages of
legend. But does their story end there?
London, 1819: Madeline and Porphyro return as Charlotte Pemberley and Col. Brendan Morrissey in Regency England
where their tragic pasts bring them together only to be torn apart by an untimely death.
Greenwich Village, New York, and England, present time: Now as Jennifer Cosgrove and Dr. Paul Emerson, Madeline
and Porphyro find one another once more but almost lose the link that binds them as they struggle to overcome the past
which haunts them.
Why The Eve of St. Agnes? As a child I began remembering episodes from my past lives, and after years of study I
began teaching reincarnation and karma. With a love of romance and history, I fell in love with Keats’ beautiful poem as
a teenager, and many years later it came back to me while my mother was dying, animating me to channel all my feelings
into the kind of thrilling and inspirational story I like to see/read. According to surveys by Pew Research Center,
Gallup, and others, some 25 percent of the Western world shares my belief and interest in reincarnation. I have lovingly
written The Eve of St. Agnes screenplay and novel for them.