La Belle Dame sans Merci

Introduction

"La Belle Dame sans Merci" ("The Beautiful Lady Without Mercy") is a ballad produced by the English poet John Keats in 1819. The title was derived from the title of a 15th-century poem by Alain Chartier called La Belle Dame sans Mercy.[1]

Considered an English classic, the poem is an example of Keats' poetic preoccupation with love and death.[2] The poem is about a fairy who condemns a knight to an unpleasant fate after she seduces him with her eyes and singing. The fairy inspired several artists to paint images that became early examples of 19th-century femme fatale iconography.[3] The poem continues to be referenced in many works of literature, music, art, and film.


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