La Belle Dame Sans Merci is a lyrical Romatic ballad written by poet Johhn Keats, published in 1819. Employing colloquial langauge, Keats tells the story of a young knight, 'haggard and woe-begone', who stumbles upon a beautiful, faery-like woman during the winter or late autumn month.
The poem begins with the speaker asking a knight why he was loitering alone, and notes that he has a lily on his brow, beads of sweat and a paleness in his cheeks. The knight begins to tell his story. The knight fell in love with a mystical woman, a "faery's child". He made garlands and bracelets for her, and all day saw nothing but her. After they made love, he ate the wild food given to him by the woman and went to sleep. When he woke up, he was on a cold hillside along with other men who looked pale and starving. These men, upon seeing the knight, stated "La belle dame sans mercy, hath thee in thrall!"
La Belle Dame Sans Merci is a short Romantic poem which deals with the themes on supernatural beings, the pains of love and the theme common among the Romantic poets, that is, femme fatale.