Tag Archives: John Keats

“La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” 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 sideways would she lean, 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 gazed 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 dreamed
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 gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill side.

And that is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.



Illustration by Frank Rogers.


“This Living Hand, Now Warm and Capable,” by John Keats (read by Eric Robert Nolan)

I was looking around the web for a Halloween poem to record (it’s a bit tricky, as they have to be in the public domain), and I found this very short poem by John Keats.  Its imagery makes it somewhat Halloweenish, I suppose.  I hope that you enjoy it.

If you do like this one, then stop by tomorrow for my reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”


“The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!” by John Keats

“The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!”

by John Keats

The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!
Sweet voice, sweet lips, soft hand, and softer breast,
Warm breath, light whisper, tender semi-tone,
Bright eyes, accomplish’d shape, and lang’rous waist!
Faded the flower and all its budded charms,
Faded the sight of beauty from my eyes,
Faded the shape of beauty from my arms,
Faded the voice, warmth, whiteness, paradise –
Vanish’d unseasonably at shut of eve,
When the dusk holiday – or holinight
Of fragrant-curtain’d love begins to weave
The woof of darkness thick, for hid delight,
But, as I’ve read love’s missal through to-day,
He’ll let me sleep, seeing I fast and pray.




Portrait by William Hilton, circa 1822

As if Benedict Cumberbatch weren’t cool enough already …

… his reading of John Keats’ “Ode To A Nightingale” is goddam phenomenal.

Seriously.  Listen to it.  It’s the first piece featured in the below BBC America article, “10 British Actors Read 10 British Poems,” which was sent along to me by a close friend. (October 2nd was National Poetry Day in England.)

If you became a fan of Cumberbatch, as I did, because of his role as the (ostensibly) detached “Sherlock,” it can seem strange hearing him do such an emotional reading here.