Saturday, July 28, 2007


Henry Maynell Rheam
There are some ladies that enthrall me. Some are fey, some are legend, and some are real, living women. "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" (beautiful woman without pity) is one:



By John Keats

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
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 fill 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’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!”

I saw their starved 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.


Miss Robyn said...

today, I am doing something special in my garden and this poem gave me some ideas!
as I read it, I imagined the faery child and could see a doll manifesting in my minds eye xo
Daisy would have loved that you posted a poem.... oneday, maybe we could continue on her poetry blog..

Rowan said...

This is a poem I've never read before although I've always known the title. It's rather lovely though very sad - I wonder what happened to the knight in the end?

Carole Burant said...

I'd never read this poem before, very touching it is!! I read it 3 times to let all the words sink in..I've printed it out now because I thought it was so beautiful! xox

gma said...

I too love poetry and reading.
Some of those words take my breath away. I want to get Celtic 366 also. Right now I have started reading Susan Vreeland (since you recommended her) Girl in Hyacinth Blue. The story of a Vemeer painting.

Naturegirl said...

This touched me deeply as did the image as I have wept after the loss of one of my felines.. a prince to me.
Poetry always means something different depending on the mood one is in when reading...I suppose like looking at art..everyone sees what you want to see.hugs NG

Lisa Oceandreamer Swifka said...

This is beautiful yet sad. i use to read poetry and write poetry constantly. Sadly I haven't in some time and feel perhaps it is time. I have a book of Mary Oliver's I need to sit with.
There is so much I read here that strikes me and yet i feel at a loss for all I do not know, nor have read. The re-education of Lisa is a process and the first is getting my concentration back to pour through the books awaiting me.
Thank you for you!