08 August, 2016


Happy Monday dear readers, today we are meeting to discuss yet another beautiful poem by one of the most talented poets of all time:

Today we are reading


Let's get to know John Keats:
John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) was an English romantic poet. As a child he lost his two parents, constantly relocated and eventually ended up in Rome. Keats dead at a very young age of only 25 from tuberculosis. Keats was exceptionally sensitive and had a unique way of seeing things. A really heartbreaking fact is that during his short life his poems were not accepted by critics and no one believed Keats to be a poet. In a letter to his friend and love Fanny Brawn he wrote that he will die without leaving a mark in the world. Little did he know that now he is one of the most studied and quoted poets of all time.

 La Belle Dame sans Merci

  O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered 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 looked 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 sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild, wild eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lullèd me asleep,
And there I dreamed—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;
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 withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

I did a paper on John Keats for my literature class back in my University days, and I remember thinking that his person made even my deepest emotions come to life with the way he expressed himself in his poems. To me Keats's creations are so majestic that I can't find another word for them except - beautiful! If we move to discuss the meaning of this poem I actually agree with scholars and other reviews that it shows a circle since the two lines of first and last columns are the same, however I have my own opinion on what the circle is. To my mind the never ending circle Keats tries to imply in this ode is the circle of heartbreaking love. The way he shows how the silent narrator falls in love with the belle dame and how she treats him and cares for him and how then kills him, just screams tragic love to me and how we fall for that love over and over again. Even the name - la belle dame sans merci  - we don't need to take it literally, the belle dame can be love itself, enchanting us and then killing us over and over again. Oh Lord, I am a sucker for these type of poems! So let me know if you liked the poem too and what you think it represented! :)

What did you think of LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI?