La Belle Dame sans Merci Essay

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In the following except, Hirst illustrates how Keats intertwines the diverse elements of "La Belle Dame sans Merci."

With an inimitable magic Keats depicts another cheated soul in "La Belle Dame sans Merci." Flight into visionary experience and back again is expressed by means of the well-known motif (to be used once more in Lamia) of a mortal's ruinous love for a supernatural lady: a knight encounters and falls in love with a beautiful "fairy's child", dreams in her "elfin grot" of "pale kings, and princes" and "Pale warriors", and wastes away "On the cold hill's side." The poet may have dashed off this masterpiece of the literary-ballad genre straight into the journal-letter on 21 April 1819, which gives us the version usually preferred to the one printed in Hunt's Indicator in May 1820. (The latter, among other things, substituted "wretched wight" for the "knight at arms" of the first line...

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This section contains 1,507 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the La Belle Dame sans Merci Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
La Belle Dame sans Merci from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.