"La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad"
by John Keats (1795-1821)


1   Ah , what can ail thee, wretched wight, 
2      Alone and palely loitering; 
3   The sedge is wither'd from the lake, 
4      And no birds sing. 


5   Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight, 
6      So haggard and so woe-begone? 
7   The squirrel's granary is full, 
8      And the harvest's done. 


9   I see a lilly on thy brow, 
10      With anguish moist and fever dew; 
11   And on thy cheek a fading rose 
12      Fast withereth too. 


13   I met a lady in the meads 
14      Full beautiful, a faery's child; 
15   Her hair was long, her foot was light, 
16      And her eyes were wild. 


17   I set her on my pacing steed, 
18      And nothing else saw all day long; 
19   For sideways would she lean, and sing 
20      A faery's song. 


21   I made a garland for her head, 
22      And bracelets too, and fragrant zone; 
23   She look'd at me as she did love, 
24      And made sweet moan. 


25   She found me roots of relish sweet, 
26      And honey wild, and manna dew; 
27   And sure in language strange she said, 
28      I love thee true. 


29   She took me to her elfin grot, 
30      And there she gaz'd and sighed deep, 
31   And there I shut her wild sad eyes--- 
32      So kiss'd to sleep. 


33   And there we slumber'd on the moss, 
34      And there I dream'd, ah woe betide, 
35   The latest dream I ever dream'd 
36      On the cold hill side. 


37   I saw pale kings, and princes too, 
38      Pale warriors, death-pale were they all; 
39   Who cry'd---"La belle Dame sans merci 
40      Hath thee in thrall!" 


41   I saw their starv'd lips in the gloam 
42      With horrid warning gaped wide, 
43   And I awoke, and found me here 
44      On the cold hill side. 


45   And this is why I sojourn here 
46      Alone and palely loitering, 
47   Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake, 
48      And no birds sing.