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Francis T. Palgrave, ed. (1824–1897). The Golden Treasury. 1875.

John Keats

CXCIII. La Belle Dame Sans Merci

“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.”