La Belle Dame Sans Merci. A Ballad - John Keats
La Belle Dame Sans Merci. A Ballad
- John Keats
Recurring theme = death/decay
"Alone and palely loitering?"
Looks like death - questions leads onto story
"And no birds sing."
Lack of life, devistation of life
Keats feels sorry for knight, he identifies with him - Keats is ill and knight's in emotional decline
Repetition - highlight misery
The squirrels granary"
metaphor for life's gifts
"And the harvest's done"
Omnious tone, Winter = death
knight becoming part of winter
Physical fading of his strength
"Withered from the lake"
Winter - cold/sad - season of death
"A faery's child"
Lady referred to as fairy - fantasy
"Her hair was long"
"Her eyes were wild"
Power of 3, shocking
"I made a garland for her head"
Romantic, Loves/cares for her - controlling
"I shut her"
still believes he's in control -
"She lulled me asleep"
"and there i dreamed - ah! woe betide!"
woke from dream and is horrifed
his last ever dream? repetition of 'dream' - strange
"Made sweet moan"
Sexual - pleasure? discomfort?
"I set her on my pacing steed"
- euphemism - she's an object to him
"all day long"
- obsessive, lost touch with reality
- Changing herself for him
Reference to bible
she speaks a language he can't identify but can understand it - something not natural or right - sinister
"Her foot was light"
Vulnerability - takes advantage of her
"She did love"
She appreciated the gifts
"I see a lily on thy brow"
Lily = hope for future - Spring, symbol of death
"I love thee true"
ambiguous, knight isn't convinced
"She took me to her elfin grot"
Lady's territory, she's in control - role shift
"she wept and sighed full sore"
guilt/grief she knows he'll suffer - she truly loved him?
sinister - cave
"La Belle Dame sans Merci"
- realises he's in danger
"I saw their starved lips in the gloam"
- dead men warning him of her
stayed there - waiting for sad future? believes she's coming back? he's already dead?
"And no birds sing"
repetition from beginning = cyclical - realise he's lonely
1848 - published
Keats was ill when written
Died at 25 from TB
- used at funerals
Repetition in second stanza
ABCB - regular
Love portrayed as emotionally destructive
Written in one sitting
'The Beautiful Women no Mercy'