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La Belle Dame Sans Merci

La Belle Dame Sans Merci


by John Keats

La Belle Dame Sans Merci Abandonment Quotes

How we cite our quotes: I cite by line number only.

Quote #1

O what can ail thee, knight at arms,
Alone and palely loitering? (lines 1-2)

The opening image of the poem is the knight looking "pale" and "ail[ing]" while hanging out "alone." Clearly, this guy doesn't want to be alone. Even that opening syllable, "O" suggests emptiness (it looks like a zero).

Quote #2

And no birds sing. (line 4)

Even the birds have abandoned the knight. Poor guy.

Quote #3

O what can ail thee, knight at arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone? (lines 5-6)

As thought the knight needs to be reminded that he's miserable, the opening speaker repeats the same question again in the second stanza, this time commenting on the knight's "haggard" looks.

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