La Belle Dame Sans Merci


Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,

Alone and palely loitering?

The sedge has withered from the lake,

And no birds sing.

Oh 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 looked 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 sighed full sore,

And there I shut her wild wild eyes

With kisses four.

And there she lulled me asleep

And there I dreamed - 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

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 withered from the lake,

And no birds sing.


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