A Garland of Poems

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 lulled me asleep,	
  And there I dream’d, 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;	
Who 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 wither’d from the lake	
  And no birds sing.