However, if all else fails, there are some traditional methods for seeking out the Beloved. In England and Scotland, on the Eve of St. Agnes' feast day, girls would fast and go to bed stark naked, believing that they would be granted dreams of a feast with the one they were provedentially fated to wed. Unfortunately, this method does not come without some risks. For instance, in Keats' lengthy poem The Eve of St. Agnes, Madelaine is tricked into believing that the appearance of young man Porphyro is a dream and they end up in indelicate circumstances. We are led to believe that this episode ends in marriage; nonetheless, the poem does seem to suggest that this particular technique has certain drawbacks. On the whole, it may be safer to simply celebrate Saint Agnes' feast day without trying to demand any explicit information from the tricky saint. After all, as anyone with experience knows, Catholic or not, you are least likely to find that special someone when you force the situation. Nevertheless, we have every reason to believe that St. Agnes favors an expedient union with one's Beloved, although her own manner of securing a spouse also implies some danger. Her famous parting words to a reluctant executioner were: "Strike, without fear, for the bride does her Spouse an injury if she makes Him wait."
|Madelaine and Porphyro off to Wed following an Indelicate Situation|
"The Eve of St. Agnes" by William Holman Hunt