What this blog is and how to use it

This blog contains poems that have caught my attention over the years. Many of the poems I've discussed and explored with 16 -19 year old students in my capacity as lecturer in English.

Browse the list of poems by scrolling down the page or read the titles of poems or names of poets in the sidebar 'Poem Titles and Poets'. Then click on the title or poet.

Monday 8 June 2020

La Belle Dame sans Merci by John Keats


O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
     Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge is 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 cheek 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 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 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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