La Belle Dame Sans Merci

John Keats

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 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 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 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
Thee hath 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——