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.
O soft embalmer of the still midnight!
Shutting with careful fingers and benign
Our gloom-pleased eyes, embower’d from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine;
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close,
In midst of this thine hymn, my willing eyes,
Or wait the amen, ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities;
Then save me, or the passèd day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes;
Save me from curious conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards,
And seal the hushèd casket of my soul.