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John Keats : La Belle Dame Sans Merci

O, what can ail thee, knight at arms,
	Alone and palely loitering?
The edge is 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 lilly on thy brow,
	With anguish moist and fever dew;
And on thy cheek 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 sighed full 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;
Who cry'd—'La belle Dame sans Merci1
	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 has wither'd from the lake,
	And no birds sing. 

John Keats (1795-1821)	P. 1820

 
FOOTNOTES
1 a rough translation gives “The Beautiful Lady Without Pity”
 

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