John Keats Writing Styles in La Belle Dame sans Merci

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"La Belle Dame sans Merci" is a ballad, an old form of verse adapted for singing or recitation. The ballad form originated in the days when most poetry was memorized rather than written, and the typical subject matter of the ballad reflects a folk sensibility. Ballads are usually narrative, or storytelling, poems, and early ballads often addressed themes important to common people: love, courage, the mysterious, and the supernatural. Though the ballad is generally rich in musical qualities such as rhythm and repetition, it often portrays both characters and events in highly dramatic but simplistic terms.

Additional characteristics of the typical ballad include a set rhyme scheme and alternating line lengths. Formally, the ballad stanza is a quatrain, or a group of four lines, in which the first and third lines contain four stressed syllables while the second and fourth lines contain three stressed syllables. "La Belle Dame sans...

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This section contains 212 words
(approx. 1 page 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.