La Belle Dame sans Merci ~ in painting, poem, and song!

 La Belle Dame sans Regrets by Sting (sung in French -- makes sense, no?)

 Portrait of John Keats

 La Belle Dame sans Merci (The Beautiful Lady Without Mercy) by John Keats
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 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 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.
Alain Chartier by Sir Edmund Blair-Leighton

Although, this version is the most well known  written by John Keats, La Belle Dame sans Merci dates back to the 15th century when poet Alain Chartier (1385-1430) wrote the original version about a lover who is rejected by the woman he loves and dies of grief. La Belle Dame sans Merci was very popular amongst the courtiers and ladies of the court of Charles VII. 

 The most popular, romantic and idealized representation of Chartier and Keats' La Belle Dame sans Merci by Sir Frank Dicksee

La Belle Dame sans Merci by Arthur Hughes

La Belle Dame sans Merci by Sir Joseph Noel-Paton

 La Belle Dame sans Merci by Henry Maynell Rheam

Second version of La Belle Dame sans Merci by Henry Maynell Rheam


Hermes said…
What a beautiful post and never heard that music before. That poetry is so lovely
Kevin Marsh said…
Hello Kimberly,

What a lovely song and some interesting paintings.
It would be good to hear it sung in French!
Kimberly Eve said…
Thank you both for stopping by and commenting. Why not add some beautiful music, within the same theme, while you are looking at gorgeous paintings! Very cheeky Kevin ;)

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