Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Poem 7

La Belle Dame sans Merci

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 woebegone?
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 sight full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.

"And there she lulled me asleep,
And there I dreamed, Ah Woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dreamt
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
Hat 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's side.

"And this is why I sojourn hehre,
Alone and palely loitering;
Though the sedge is withered from the Lake
And no birds sing."

~John Keats

The second and fourth lines of each stanza should be indented, but I can't make indentation happen on Blogger. Also, "lulled" and "gaped" should have an accent above them and therefore should be read "lull-ed" and "gap-ed".

Top picture by Sir Frank Dicksee, bottom picture by John William Waterhouse. The Pre-Raphaelites had a lot of fun with this poem! (I personally think the way the knight's arms are stretched out in the first picture looks really funny, but maybe that's just me.)

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