LA BELLE DAME SANS MERcI is a fine ballad poem by John Keats (1795–1821), who was a prominent poet of beauty in the broadest sense of the term. knight with a fairy who was beautiful but who had no mercy for the knight.

a beautiful damsel without mercy, First of all, the poet used these French words of the title in his romance, ‘ The Eve of St Agnes.

This poem was written in 1819 much after ‘ The Eve of St Agnes ‘ in which Keats highlighted the height of the highest love. However, here the love dealt.


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with is just the reverse. It is the treacherous love in all probability to which John’s brother, Tom was subjected. This is corroborated by a number of Tom’s letters found after his death.

The story of this ballad is very interesting. It gives us the feel of the fairy story of charm and the supernatural power that is often said to entice people and lead them to dangers.

A knight loiters by himself on a bleak winter day ‘palely. When asked the reason for his ailment he narrates his sad story that he had met a beautiful girl- a fairy child with long hair and wild eyes.

Themes of La Belle Dame Sans Merci

He loved her and his love didn’t go unresponded. She took him to a cave where she gave him honey wild and manna dew. He kissed her and she loved him. She pulled him to sleep.

He added that when he got up he remembered a dream, in which many lovers like him told him that he was caught in a web of the Dame sans source He found that was true. He was cheated and left in a lurch on the “Cold hill’s side.”

The poem seems to be wrung out of the poet’s aching heart. Here in this ballad simplicity is blended with economy and suggestiveness with masterful skill. The suggestiveness is magical while the verbal restraint is superb.

La belle dame sans merci analysis


Prof Horford is right when he says that this poem is a “masterpiece of horror-stricken retiçence and magical suggestion”.

The story of the poem has been completed with all the artistry at his command, and when we stop reading we are left in the company of the woebegone knight at arms’ on the cold hill’s side.


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