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LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI

Oh what can ail thee, knight at arms
Alone and palely loiterung?
The sedge has withered from the lake
And no birds sing.
Oh 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 beatiful-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 fairy’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 lulled me asleep,
And there I dreamed-ah, woe betide!-
The latest dream I ever dreamed
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 withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

This poem is made up of 48 lines which are split into 12 stanzas . Each stanza has four lines. Lines have an irregular length; begin with capital letters and are aligned. There is a regular punctuation, but an irregular rhyme scheme: ABCB-ADED… There are some run-on-lines. There is also a simile and there are some Archaisms. There are many anaphors and some repetitions
This poem is a ballad, that originally was oral, it was transmitted from generation to generation.
The setting is nature during the seasons:
• Autumn and Winter represent the death.
• Spring and Summer represent the rebirth and life.
This poem has a circular structure.

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