La Belle Dame Sans Merci


John Keats

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms!

Alone and palely loitering!

The sedge has withered from the lake,

And no birds sing.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms!

So haggard and so woe-begone?

The squirrel's granary is full,

And the harvest's done.

I see a lily on thy brow

With anguish moist and fever dew,

And on thy cheeks a fading rose

Fast withereth too.

"I met a lady in the meads,

Full beautiful--a faery's child,

Her hair was long, her foot was light,

And her eyes were wild.

"I made a garland for her head,

And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;

She looked at me as she did love,

And made sweet moan.

"I set her on my pacing steed,

And nothing else saw all day long.

For sidelong would she bend, and sing

A faery's song.

"She found me roots of relish sweet,

And honey wild and manna-dew;

And sure in language strange she said,

'I love thee true.'

"She took me to her elfin grot,

And there she wept and sighed full sore;

And there I shut her wild, wide eyes

With kisses four.

"And there she lulléd me asleep,

And there I dreamed--ah! woe betide!--

The latest dream I ever dreamed

On the cold hillside.

"I saw pale kings, and princes too,

Pale warriors, death-pale were they all:

They cried--"La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Hath thee in thrall!'"

"I saw their starved lips in the gloam

With horrid warning gapéd wide,

And I woke, and found me here

On the cold hillside.

"And this is why I sojourn here

Alone and palely loitering,

Though the sedge is withered from the lake,

And no birds sing."


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