Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight, Alone and palely loitering; The sedge is withered from the lake, And no birds sing. Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight, So haggard and so woe-begone? The squirrel's granary is full, And the harvest's done. I see a lilly 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 set her on my pacing steed, And nothing else saw all day long; For sideways would she lean, and sing A faery's song. 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. 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 deep, And there I shut her wild sad eyes— So kissed to sleep. And there we slumbered on the moss, 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 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 is withered from the lake, And no birds sing.
John Keats - 1795-1821
To Haydon with a Sonnet Written on Seeing the Elgin Marbles
Haydon! Forgive me, that I cannot speak Definitively on these mighty things; Forgive me that I have not Eagle's wings— That what I want I know not where to seek: And think that I would not be over meek In rolling out upfollow'd thunderings, Even to the steep of Helciconian springs, Were I of ample strength for such a freak— Think too that all those numbers should be thine; Whose else? In this who touch thy vesture's hem? For when men star'd at what was most divine With browless idiotism—o'erwise phlegm— Thou hadst beheld the Hesperean shine Of their star in the East, and gone to worship them.