La Belle Dame Sans Merci

by John Keats

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,

Alone and palely loitering;

The sedge is withered from the lake,

And no birds sing.

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,

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 the cheek a fading rose,

Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meadows

Full beautiful, a faery’s child;

Her hair was long, her foot was light,

And her eyes were wild.

I set her on my pacing steed,

And nothing else saw all day long;

For sideways would she lean, and sing

A faery’s song.

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.

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 gazed and sighed deep,

And there I shut her wild sad eyes —

So kissed to sleep.

And there we slumbered on the moss,

And there I dreamed, ah woe betide,

The latest dream I ever dreamed

On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings, and princes too,

Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;

Who cried — “La belle Dame sans merci

Hath thee in thrall!”

I saw their starved lips in the gloam

With horrid warning gaped wide,

And I awoke, and found me here

On the cold hill side.

And this is why I sojourn here

Alone and palely loitering,

Though the sedge is withered from the lake,

And no birds sing.

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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