Study Guide

La Belle Dame Sans Merci Sound Check

By John Keats

Sound Check

"La Belle Dame Sans Merci," like most ballads, sounds like a song. The steady rhythm of the words creates an underlying beat, and the rhyme scheme and all the alliterations make layers of sound that work like harmony in music. Even the repetition between the first and last stanza adds to the feeling that it's a song, and not a poem. You could even think of the knight's trippy dream sequence as a kind of bridge or guitar riff. We're not the only ones who think "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" would make a great song – lots of musicians have set it to music, so check out "Best of the Web" for some examples.