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La Belle Dame Sans Merci

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by

Peter DeJonge

on 28 April 2010

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Transcript of La Belle Dame Sans Merci

La Belle Dame Sans Merci a ballad by John Keats Reading the Poem 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 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; 10
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, 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 faery'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 lullèd 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
Thee hath in thrall!" 40





I saw their starv'd lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gapèd 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. What’s wrong, knight?
You’re so alone and woeful.
Trees are dying
And the birds have stopped singing.




Oh, what is wrong?
You’re so distressed and tired.
The squirrel has collected its food,
And the harvest is over.




I see a flower on your forehead
Wilting with sweat and anxiety,
And on your cheeks a fading rose,
Withering as well.




I met a lady in the meadow,
The image of beauty,
Her hair was long and step was quiet
And her eyes were wild.






I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too and a belt of flowers.
She looked at me lovingly
And made sweet moan.




I set her on my horse
And I only saw her throughout the day
She would dance and sing
Sweet songs.




She found edible, tasty roots
Along with honey and delicious dew
And then she spoke a foreign language
Which I took to mean “I love you”



She took me to her home
And there she cried and sighed
I stopped her eyes from crying
With four kisses.





There I fell asleep.
And had a dream- how terrible!
The most detailed dream I ever had
Taking place on a cold hill side.




I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors also, everyone death-pale
They cried- “La Belle Dame sans Merci
You are a powerful enslaver!”




I saw their dried lips in the twilight,
All shouting their awful warning
And I awoke and found myself here,
On the cold hill’s side



And this is why I rest here
Alone and woeful,
Though the trees are dying
And no birds sing.
Full transcript