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   English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
535. La Belle Dame Sans Merci
 
John Keats (1795–1821)
 
 
‘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!        5
  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,        10
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,        15
  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.        20
 
‘I set her on my pacing steed
  And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
  A fairy’s song.
 
‘She found me roots of relish sweet,        25
  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,        30
And there I shut her wild, wild eyes
  With kisses four.
 
‘And there she lulle´d me asleep,
  And there I dream’d—Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream’d        35
  On the cold hill’s 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!”        40
 
‘I saw their starved lips in the gloam
  With horrid warning gape´d wide,
And I awoke and found me here
  On the cold hill’s side.
 
‘And this is why I sojourn here        45
  Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither’d from the lake,
  And no birds sing.’
 

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