La belle dame sans merci

par 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 full sore; 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 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 gapèd 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."