Book of Comfort 6

Here's another all-time favourite Keats poem, 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' - it's a poem that's best read aloud, as it has a wonderful rhythm...

Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has wither'd 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 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 looked at me as she did love, 
And made sweet moan.

I sat 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 a 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 dream'd - Ah, woe betide,
The latest dream I ever dream'd
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 gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here
On the cold hill side.

And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge has wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.

I was thrilled to find THE perfect images in my extensive stash... It is the mix of words, images, the memories they evoke - the very 'known-ness' of the words - that bring me comfort... 

What brings you warm comfort as we, in the northern hemisphere, tip into the darkly cold half of the year?


  1. Warm comfort, as we tip into dreary November, and slide into the cold of winter.....

    The warming, coziness of home... Hot food bubbling in the crock pot all day... Something baking in the oven... Lights on early... Curtains closed, the same... Lots and lots of faerie lights... An evening fire in the fireplace, until it is too cold, to be worth it.... A warm blanket by my favorite chair, to throw over my legs, when reading... Lots and lots of delicious books, beside my chair...

    All creature comforts, it seems. :-)

    Autumn blessings,
    Luna Crone

  2. Lovely, Claire!

    I have to agree with all the things that Luna mentions in her comment...except that we don't have a fireplace! I love the early nights that fall and winter bring! xx

  3. I love J.W. Waterhouse's painting of La Belle Dame. She wears her heart in her sleeve.