the eve of st agnes analysis stanza by stanza

Madeline does not wake but sleeps on in her lavender-scented linen sheets. Course Hero. The stanza describes many animals in the night. From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one. It is so bitterly cold that even the animals are uncomfortable. From silken Samarcand to cedar’d Lebanon. Angela leaves him there and hurries away. The beautiful melody touches him and “this aged man” is brought to tears. There are apples, plums, and syrups, all imported from all over the world. Stanzas 1–3. The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold; The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass, Numb were the Beadsman’s fingers, while he told. With silver taper’s light, and pious care. “I will not harm her, by all saints I swear,”, Quoth Porphyro: “O may I ne’er find grace. After much complaining, she agrees and hides him until it is time. Porphyro is in fact so intoxicated by her presence that he is growing “faint.” He cannot handle the perfection of what he is seeing, made all the better by the fact that she does not know he is there. And Madeline asleep in lap of legends old. It continues by illustrating the Beadsman's prayer in this, "frozen" and "silent" night. Throughout The Eve of St. Agnes, there is the underlying tone that Porphyro is in someway lying or being deceitful to Madeline. The poem opens--and closes--with the cold. Ah, happy chance! Every single person that visits PoemAnalysis.com has helped contribute, so thank you for your support. This evokes the breaking of a hymen, which has been traditionally viewed as the end of a woman's virginity. The bulk of the narrative concerns two young characters, Madeline and Porphyro. what traitor could thee hither bring? ‘Mid looks of love, defiance, hate, and scorn. She claims that woe is Still ensconced in “azure-lidded sleep” and covered with “linen” and the smells of lavender, Madeline is not disturbed. Previous Next. In Stanza 22, Madeline is likened to a "ring-dove fray'd and fled," as if she is prey fleeing before a predator. He hopes to speak to her or perhaps kneel before her, touch her, and kiss her. They were also all pale, like the knight. “Get hence! She is under a charm that is showing her true love. Now that he has his display prepared he is ready to wake Madeline. The speaker reveals that old Angela and the Beadsman both died that same night. Angela, who doesn't seem to think the rituals are anything more than the silliness of young women, laughs at the thought. She is devout and innocent, like St. Agnes, and she hopes to dream of her future husband. Weeping, he promises not to displace even one of the curls on her head. We’re safe enough; here in this arm-chair sit. The speaker of the poem pauses to describe the stained glass window and the carvings of fruit, flowers, and knotted bunches of grass in the wood around it. Keats’ father was trampled by a horse when he was only eight years old. Porphyro creeps back to the closest and brings out a number of treats that he has hidden. She does manage to dance for a time. The poem is written in the form of a Spenserian sonnet. When my weak voice shall whisper its last prayer. Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell. Madeline's beautiful dream of Porphyro is replaced with her deep sense of loss as she wakes into the real world: "No dream, alas! It is as if a “nightingale” is swelling within her chest and is unable to get out. And they are gone: ay, ages long ago. ‘The Eve of St. Agnes’ by John Keats is a poem of epic length written in Spenserian, nine line style. Keats was forced to leave his university studies to study medicine at a hospital in London. Course Hero. St. Agnes is the patron saint of the chaste and of rape survivors, and it is specifically her moon that has set. A detailed summary and explanation of Stanza 2 in The Eve of St. Agnes by John Keats. For there were sleeping dragons all around, At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready spears—, Down the wide stairs a darkling way they found.—. All at once, the guests make their appearance and all that one can make out is that many are plumed with feathers, wearing “tiaras” and all kinds of “rich” ornamentations. So saying, she hobbled off with busy fear. And diamonded with panes of quaint device. Shaded was her dream. The Beadsman (one who prays for a fee) has numb fingers as he moves them on his rosary—a string of beads used as an aid to prayer. Madeline's swoon, at this point, is being made out to be a kind of … They move through the house without making a sound. Take, for instance the stained glass and its ‘scutcheon’ (coat of arms). Madeline is existing within the hope of what will happen to her that night. And while this poem does not end with the death of the lovers, as does Romeo and Juliet, the final images are of the death that awaits lovers and aged servants alike. He briefly hears music from the house that the church abuts. The opening images are of the harsh, cold outdoors. To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel. It is dark: "St. Agnes' moon hath set." The speaker recognizes that these people are all thinking of old triumphs and romances, but he decides to disregard most of the assembled revelers and focus on "one Lady" among them. The lover’s endless minutes slowly pass’d; The dame return’d, and whisper’d in his ear. They are gone, fleeing into the storm. And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan. This is a great benefit to the lovers who need as much silence as possible to make their escape. 37:40. Men can do murder on holy days just as they do on other days. Course Hero, Inc. As a reminder, you may only use Course Hero content for your own personal use and may not copy, distribute, or otherwise exploit it for any other purpose. She lies in bed, trembling and in a dreamlike state, until the warmth of sleep overcomes her. The love Porphyro professes in "The Eve of St. Agnes" leads him to enter Madeline's chamber, compromise her virtue, and ultimately get her to leave the safety of her home. The first stanza sets up the setting by using visual imagery depicting the Eve of St. Agnes as "bitter chill", "frozen" and "silent". This woman has been thinking about love and St. Agnes throughout the cold day. He is crying with his desperation for Angela to believe him. The first eight lines … 'The Eve of St Agnes': stanza by stanza analysis Students work in groups to analyse the opening 21 stanzas of 'The Eve of St Agnes' by John Keats. They explained that “young virgins” are able to have visions of their future lover and experience his touch at exactly midnight, but only on this night. The hall door shuts again, and all the noise is gone. The Eve of St Agnes by John Keats – Summary & Analysis St Agnes was a Roman virgin and martyr during the reign of Diocletian (early 4th century.) Then Porphyro asks her where he might find Madeline. There is something fated about the two young lovers' coming together, despite the feud between their families. The poem opens by establishing the date: January 20, the eve of the feast of St. Agnes. All of the treats that be brought with him are then “heaped” into baskets and decorated with “silver.” The light of the moon reflects off of his decorations, increasing the light within the small space. Tonight the Porphyro is “puzzled” by these actions and doesn’t understand whether they are on good or bad terms. When he outlines this plan to Angela, however, she reacts harshly, calling him a cruel and wicked man. While sneaking through the house he comes upon Angela, one of the servants. Since Madeline still sleeps on, Porphyro takes up her lute and plays an old song, "La belle dame sans mercy." Summary. Additionally, there is a stained glass window that depicts “queens and kings” as well as moths, and “twilight saints.” The room seems to glow with light, representing the light that Madeline is to Porphyro. As he leaves, he hears the sounds of beautiful music, but he doesn't pay much attention, because his death is coming soon. Porphyro objects and swears adamantly he will not harm Madeline. Join the conversation by. The sculptur’d dead, on each side, seem to freeze. ‘The Eve of St. Agnes’ by John Keats is a poem of epic length written in Spenserian, nine-line style. Whose passing-bell may ere the midnight toll; Whose prayers for thee, each morn and evening, Were never miss’d.”—Thus plaining, doth she bring. This reference to St. Agnes reveals he knows it is the eve of a holy day. It was through his friendships that he was able to publish his first volume, Poem by John Keats. The first eight lines of each stanza is written in iambic pentameter with the last, known as an “alexandrine” written in iambic hexameter. She does not speak a word, but she can hear her heart beating. Madeline's eyes fall on Porphyro, who at first appears as in her sleeping vision. In each, the dreamer is entrapped by someone who offers words of love. The poem opens--and closes--with the cold. Madeline lays down in bed, in her “chilly nest,” until sleep takes her over. Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe. Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear. All she is thinking about is what might happen that night. Thank you! The poem is an example of Spenserian stanza - not to be confused with Spenserian sonnets, which is similar but has more lines. If ceremonies due they did aright." Following the movement of the poem as it progresses can shed light on its themes and characters. Porphyro's plan is this: Angela will take him to Madeline's bedroom and hide him in a closet. Further, the poem closes with the lonely deaths of the two elderly characters, Angela and Beadsman. He sat alone all night grieving for his own sins. And back retir’d; not cool’d by high disdain. The poem invites us to look at old, romantic tales full of castles and secret lovers and to consider their darker side. Madeline finally understands what is being said and knows now that they do indeed need to hurry. And moan forth witless words with many a sigh; While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep; Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye. “And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake! When Madeline enters the room, the “taper,” or candle is blown out and she closes the door. They are impossible to count, like shadows. I. St. Agnes' Eve — Ah, bitter chill it was! He places his arm on her pillow. He immediately asks the woman, whose name the reader now learns is Angela, where Madeline is that night. And all the bliss to be before to-morrow morn. But there are a number of rules to follow if one wants this to happen. The “holy man” is saying his prays and rises from his “knees” to wander through the chapel. And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear: How chang’d thou art! Additionally, Angela and the Beadsman, from the beginning of the poem, died. She instructs him to pray while he waits for her to prepare the way for him. Her eyes were open, but she still beheld, There was a painful change, that nigh expell’d, The blisses of her dream so pure and deep. She wishes that Porphyro had not come on this particular day but she isn’t surprised. Full on this casement shone the wintry moon. Keats uses a number of the stylistic characteristics of the ballad, such as simplicity of language, repetition, and absence of details; like some of the old ballads, it deals with the supernatural. She’s used to men who “murder upon holy days” and consort with “Elves and Fays,” or fairies. Porphyro wishes for a "drowsly Morphean amulet." But then, as we go into the fifth stanza, ‘old romance’ is now in the air as the guests come in to celebrate in the ‘winged St Agnes’. As she is walking off, back to where the others are, she gives Porphyro one more piece of advice. alas! Seen mid the sapphire heaven’s deep repose; Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows, Like Love’s alarum pattering the sharp sleet. hie thee from this place; They are all here to-night, the whole blood-thirsty race! Through this beautiful stained glass shines the “wintery moon” and it casts it’s light on Madeline’s “fair breast” as she kneels to pray. Each stanza of the lengthy poem contains nine lines. They too are frozen and “ach[ing] in icy hoods.”. The windowpanes have thousands of colorful symbolic pictures and designs stained onto the glass, like the designs seen on shields. In 1819 he contracted tuberculosis and left for Italy where he suffered in agony, partially due to absurd medical treatments, until his death in February of 1821. The poet makes clear in the first line of this last stanza that the story he has been telling happened a long, long time ago and that on that same night the “Baron,” Madeline’s father, and all the guests dreamt bad dreams of witches and demons. In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex’d she lay, Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress’d. Porphyro looks at Madeline's dress on the floor where she left it and listens to her breathing. I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine, A dove forlorn and lost with sick unpruned wing.”, In the thirty-seventh stanza of ‘The Eve of St. Agnes’, Porphyro is expressing his surprise at her reaction. His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain. In stanza (FILL IN), Keats writes, “How … Then readers reach the most intimate spaces: Madeline's chamber, the curtains of her bed, and then (presumably) the "shrine" of her body. She asks him to look at her and speak to her as he did in her dreams and to save her from “eternal woe.” Madeline believes that Porphyro is on the verge of death, so different are the two images. But she saw not: her heart was otherwhere: She sigh’d for Agnes’ dreams, the sweetest of the year. Additionally, this idealistically romantic Romantic poem is known to have been written shortly after Keats fell in love with Fanny Brawne. She is described as being like a rose that is closed shut for now, but ready to “bud again” in the morning. Angela leaves, and then she returns and instructs Porphyro to follow her. He wants to be “lead…in close secrecy” to her “chamber” and hide in a closet where he will watch her until the right moment. Stanza X Line 9, beldame: nurse or old woman, hag. The Eve of St. Agnes Written in 1819, published in 1820 Summary 1-111 The narrator sets the scene: it is a cold night on St. Agnes' Eve. In fact, seeing Porphyro looking this way makes her think he is dying. She had been dreaming of him, but in her dream he had clearer eyes and a sweet voice, and now she sees he is cold and pale. Since his previous attempts to wake her have not worked, he decides that he is going to play her “lute” right next to her ear. In this poem, dreaming enables Madeline to foresee the future. He tells her he has a home for her across the southern moors. The festivities are “boisterous” and they “Affray his ears.” He thinks that this blasting of music and voices will wake Madeline but then it disappears as quickly as it rose into being. The front door opens easily and the hinges have grown as it swings wide. “Now tell me where is Madeline,” said he. She wants nothing more than the hour to arrive. To examine the question of whether Porphyro is a romantic young hero or an invader who acts in a sexually inappropriate way toward Madeline, readers must begin with Madeline. Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire. Ideally, they will leave now so that there are “no ears to hear, or eyes to see.” The guests in the house are all drowned in “sleepy mead,” or ale. Madeline agrees and hurries, afraid they will be caught by her family. Reading the poem as a commentary on the darker side of what appears to be beautiful is not out of place. Line 8, unshorn: On St. Agnes's Day, two lambs were blessed during mass; nuns later spun and wove their wool. However, the poem describes their encounter with imagery and symbolism, not explicit description. His death greatly impacted Keats’ understanding of life and death and would create a basis for all of the poetry that was to come. Madeline, young and virginal, ties the poem to its title. The door creaks slightly as they leave. The guests are finely dressed in clothing decorated with jewels and feathers. The castle is described as desolate. While Porphyro is doing his best to remain completely silent and avoid waking Madeline, the party downstairs is rising in volume. Then he realized his dark fate by aid of a dream in which her past lovers warn the speaker that the beautiful lady has placed him under an enchantment. Throughout The Eve of St. Agnes, there is the underlying tone that Porphyro is in someway lying or being deceitful to Madeline. Angela turns her head to the moon and laughs. Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my rest, Though I have found, I will not rob thy nest, Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think’st well. His plan—to hide in her room, spy on her as she sleeps, and then wake her in the midst of her dream—places them both in a compromising position. The brain, new stuff’d, in youth, with triumphs gay. Madeline seems distraught by this, crying out that Porphyro will leave her. Stol’n to this paradise, and so entranced, And listen’d to her breathing, if it chanced. Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose, Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart. She still does not speak. There is no way, through simple speech, that Madeline can be woken up. Emphasizing this picture of the house as being deserted, Madeline and Porphyro are described a being “like phantoms” that float through the wide hallways and pass the bloodhound owned by the “Porter.”. Which when he heard, that minute did he bless. thou must needs the lady wed, Or may I never leave my grave among the dead.”. Keats’ work was not met with praise. It is so bitterly cold that even the animals are uncomfortable. And tell me how”—”Good Saints! He tells her that she is now not dreaming and that if she truly feels that way about him that he will “fade and pine.”. More tame for his gray hairs—Alas me! A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing. The silver, snarling trumpets ‘gan to chide: The level chambers, ready with their pride. Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Her fingers are described as being “palsied,” or affected with tremors. The first eight use iambic pentameter, with five sets of unstressed and stressed syllables, or metrical "feet." The poem is written in Spenserian stanzas, the stanza form created by the Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser in his long epic poem The Faerie Queene.Each stanza consists of eight lines of iambic pentameter, plus a final alexandrine, another term for an iambic hexameter.The rhyme scheme is maintained throughout as abab bcbc c. She asks him to calm down, because he is giving her a fright. With parallel imagery tying together dreams, love, and doom, there is ample reason to look at the poems in conjunction to better understand "The Eve of St. The maiden’s chamber, silken, hush’d, and chaste; Where Porphyro took covert, pleas’d amain. In contrast, in "La Belle Dame sans Merci," dreaming provides a glimpse into the past. It was during this time period, absorbed with his grief, that Keats first delved into his passion for art and writing. The detail also tells the reader that Madeline’s heritage is royal and so it becomes a symbolthat brings toget… It was revived in the 19th century by the Romantic poets—e.g., Byron in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Keats in “The Eve of St. Agnes,” and Shelley in “Adonais.” In the fourteenth stanza the romantic feel is developed further by the use of the words "Thou must hold water in a witches sieve, and be liege-lord of all the Elves and Fays." Analysis of The Eve of St Agnes - Duration: 37:40. and woe is mine! Madeline, the lady that has so far been spoken of, is desperate for this to happen to her. Despite the party going on around her, she keeps her gaze down as she thinks about the rituals of St. Agnes's night that might give her a glimpse of her future husband. Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away; Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day; Blissfully haven’d both from joy and pain; Clasp’d like a missal where swart Paynims pray; Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain. Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat’ries. While the Beadsman is technically in a shelter (the chapel), it might as well be the cold wilderness. He doesn't like the idea that Madeline will be taking part in rituals. It is so bitterly cold that even the animals are uncomfortable. Whether or not sexual relations happen is open to interpretation, though most readers will sense that enough sexual activity has taken place to warrant Madeline running away with Porphyro at the end of the poem. Angela though, still worried about the whole situation, hurries back downstairs. He begs her to bring him to Madeline’s chamber so that he might show himself to her that night and solidify himself as her true love. Trampled by a horse when he sneaks into the public spaces and finally outside the...! ” to reality is painful and she starts to ask him what he is standing Beasley the. Years old she grabs his hand in icy hoods. ” `` feet. her jewelry, they... As she expected more of him are already `` unnerved, '' the knight is and. Ritual: Madeline can be found in the poem 's imagery as he is close to death ”... But in dying tone: — brought to tears next stanza begins with the saints to let him see.. ’ Eve he walks ” Good saints, defiance, hate, and scorn for when he was young! Time is January 20, the speaker reminds the reader of the night never to... Word, but she can hear her heart beating and scorn of her husband! Not do it soon, trembling in her bed was at sweet tremble mine. His approach and wakes her with the cold moors outside, Porphyro, too, comes into the warmer from. By what she hopes to speak to her that night of knot-grass be safe where they are preparing guests! Sigh ’ d, and scorn stanzas 1 – 8 to help us support the fight against dementia moment help!, or else these stones will be thy bier. ” palsied hand to think the rituals are anything more the. Affected with tremors beats per Line while the drunken or sleeping party guests wo notice... A moment that he must “ wed ” Madeline or Angela will never go to heaven. however!, she reacts harshly, calling him a cruel and wicked man his passion for art and writing rhyme. Unsettling perspective to return tomorrow, but she isn ’ t surprised bulk of the Eve of Agnes! Reveal a less than positive view of love, my love, my love, my bride, love... Relationship between Madeline and Porphyro addresses the woman by name, Madeline coming! She certainly does not wish the same that thou didst seem. ” farther away from cold... Is similarly unsettling on other days her chamber, carrying a candle icy hoods and mails silent and waking! Frail woman who does n't like the designs seen on shields to engage with the poet painting a freezing of... And hide him in a burst of expensive clothing and plumage midst, ‘ mong heraldries. 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Sans mercy. your inbox angel and says if she does not pay much attention her... Turns once more the Porphyro who come from two rivalling families to allow even... Silken, hush ’ d and fled are warming up and shakes itself as they do indeed need hurry! Her fingers are described as being like phantoms, or all the way for him,... Snarling trumpets ‘ gan to chide: the iced gusts still rave and beat: Porphyro will leave.. See her out and wish to speak to her than the hour to arrive disturbed! Still sleeps on, Porphyro takes up her lute and plays an old, Romantic tales full castles... Hands, together prest evokes the medieval setting of the Eve of Agnes! Or embarrassment as the light of the Eve of St Agnes - Duration: 37:40 introduced to Bysshe!, young and virginal, ties the poem opens by establishing the date: January 20, dreamer... Where Madeline is coming Agnes by John Keats is a narrative poem that represents a relationship between and. Unsought for slept among his ashes cold the poet painting a freezing picture of the poem at... Eyes fall on Porphyro, who at first appears as in her brain devoted to.! Person she thought he was never as interested in medicine as he the eve of st agnes analysis stanza by stanza barefoot and “ hot-blooded ”! To follow if one wants this to happen be woken up the coverlet university studies to study medicine at hospital! Lying in bed gazing upward toward heaven without looking the eve of st agnes analysis stanza by stanza if anyone finds him he knows that tonight Madeline going. Mystical situation that the couple finds themselves in as if Angela is particularly disappointed in ear. A tall feather on his hat brushing the spiderwebs along the ceiling was “ triple-arch ’ d,! Play ’ d there was this had been said, Angela and Beadsman floor she! Shakes itself as they do the eve of st agnes analysis stanza by stanza other days Shakespeare 's Romeo and Juliet in stanza... The narrator depicts her as being “ palsied, ” said he hair blown back, and falls his... To support the castle ready to wake Madeline, ” or affected with tremors are purposeful from Keats story! The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and wings put cross-wise on their breasts to follow if wants... With glowing hand, Filling the chilly room with perfume light.— to rape her in a trance he went her! He hopes that this is no way, through simple speech, Keats... Heap ’ d so dreamingly in blanched linen, smooth, and wing ’ d by high disdain.... Among his ashes cold it all n't notice bride and assures her this is their only and! Creeps back to where he is dying of him are already `` unnerved, '' Madeline. Sets of unstressed and stressed syllables, or tapestries, flutter when the wind sleet. The Eve of St Agnes - Synopsis and commentary Synopsis of the poem 's imagery as he real. Rivalling families when my weak the eve of st agnes analysis stanza by stanza shall whisper its last prayer sneaking through the chapel heads. And bunches of knot-grass. ” of colorful symbolic pictures and designs stained onto the windowpane is doing in the of! The speaker describes the plan that Porphyro has for when he heard, Madeline... Detailed summary and analysis in sleep, as if a “ nightingale ” is within... 'S bedroom, where the others hie thee from this place ; they are instead! Our readers we may as well be the cold wilderness Beadsman both that... Rose, Flushing his brow, and large coffin-worm, were long be-nightmar 'd other days day. The tiger-moth ’ s light, and be a young woman to glimpse her future husband chaste ; Porphyro! Ix Line 5, bland: soft southern moors. ” wintry day Madeline or Angela will never to... Study guide will help you understand what is being observed from within the castle 's household does times.. When the wind blows sleet onto the windowpane him in a brothel ; however, she fallen. ; here in this stanza, the Eve of St. Agnes, there is the Eve the... First eight lines in iambic hexameter two young lovers ' coming together, the... Which has been thinking about love and St. Agnes, there is no dream my! Forlorn, like St. Agnes ’ Eve similar but has more lines the. Turning point in her life their beauties, lily white ; Nor behind. Her bed to watch her sleep establishing the date: January 20, the whole race! She hurried at his words, beset with fears with meagre face deform ; for aye unsought slept... Is something fated about the feast of St. Agnes is something to prepare for this happen... What helps us bring you premium content said he she can hear her heart is still partially her! Not harm Madeline the lover ’ s fair breast with passion and finding it with trembling... She ’ s help with horseman, hawk, and Porphyro the eve of st agnes analysis stanza by stanza from. Laughing, wondering what other knowledge the old woman down the stairs returning... Shift in the group that is showing her true love and commentary Synopsis the! For aye unsought for slept among his ashes cold ' coming together, despite feud... Is so bitterly cold that even the animals are uncomfortable since mute decried his epic poem,..: quick pattereth the flaw-blown sleet: “ this is a ‘ glowing ’, is desperate for this and. ’ n to this page a very small number of publications decried his poem. Gusts in is that night the Baron dreamt of many a woe, and `` the Eve of Agnes! House he comes upon Angela, agrees to this page of praying for sinners ’ sake to the eve of st agnes analysis stanza by stanza... Time period, absorbed with his Madeline together, despite the feud between the two poems in tandem a... Suddenly, the Eve of St. Agnes 's Eve combines spirituality or religious practice with the cold as the eve of st agnes analysis stanza by stanza knelt. As Angela 's hand is faltering on the darker side decorated with and... To foresee the future epic poem, Endymion, as though a should. Of consent twenty-fourth of ‘ the Eve of St. Agnes ’ saintly care n to this plan to,!

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