by: John Keats (1795-1821)

      H, what can ail thee, wretched wight,
      Alone and palely loitering?
      The sedge is wither'd 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 thy cheek a fading rose
      Fast withereth too.
      I med 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 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 look'd 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, wild eyes--
      So kiss'd to sleep.
      And there we slumber'd on the moss,
      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 Merci,
      Hath thee in thrall!'
      I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
      With horrid warning gapèd 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 wither'd from the lake,
      And no birds sing.

'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' is reprinted from English Poems. Ed. Edward Chauncey Baldwin. New York: American Book Company, 1908.




[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z ]

Home · Poetry Store · Links · Email · © 2002