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Contents > Author > John Keats > La Belle Dame sans Merci 1795- 1821
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John Keats
La Belle Dame sans Merci
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O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has wither?d 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 look?d 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 sigh?d fill sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.


And there she lulled me asleep
And there I dream?d?Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream?d
On the cold hill side.


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 starv'd lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill's side.


And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither?d from the lake,
And no birds sing.




 

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