Poem of the day

La Belle Dame Sans Merci
by John Keats (1819-1891)

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 fairy’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 fairy’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 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 starv’d 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.

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