Saturday, 9 February 2013

La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
    Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
    And no birds sing.

Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
    So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
    And the harvest's done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
    With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
    Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
    Full beautiful - a faery's child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
    And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
    And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
    And made sweet moan.

I set her on my pacing steed,
    And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
    A faery's song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
    And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said -
    'I love thee true'.

She took me to her elfin grot,
    And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
    With kisses four.

And there she lulled me asleep
    And there I dreamed - Ah! woe betide! -
The latest dream I ever dreamt
    On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
    Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried - 'La Belle Dame sans Merci
    Hath thee in thrall!'

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
    With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
    On the cold hill's side.

And this is why I sojourn here
    Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake, 
    And no birds sing.

- John Keats


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  2. I love the poem so much! :) I am not sure if the knight regret what happened to him, but if I were him, I would not regret it... Because I believe that every man in the world should do the same as the knight did----letting himself be thrall to his lady :) :)

    Here in the Philippines, there are many Western men who married Filipina women.. And when such men are asked why do they marry Asian women, they mostly say that they like Asian women better because Asian women are the ones who are more willing to stay at home and serve and care for their husbands... They say that they like Western women less, because Western women have a more independent mind and would not be too willing to stay at home, caring and doing things for the husband...

    But I really can't imagine why these Western men who marry Asian women think that way :( ... I could never quite relate to their desire for a wife serving and caring for the husband.. I think it should rather be the opposite: The gentleman should serve his Lady, and do many things in her favor, just like the old knights in the age of chivalry did!!!

    What do you think, do you agree with me? Or should I be "in flow with the times?" ... For me, whatever are the beliefs of a certain time---they don't matter. What matters is only that which is ideal...

    Ramon :)

    1. This poem is obviously very idealistic in it's view of 'lovers'. I guess the answer is: will we ever know whether there ever were 'damsels in distress' or was it just a fabricated, chauvinistic image created by the age, or created by future ages looking back on the age?
      I think it may have been more myth than truth. Though there were knights, I don't think every possible woman needed saving!

      I believe husbands and wives should serve one another out of love, you will know when it is right, because you won't even realise that what you just did was 'serving', you didn't have to think about it. When it becomes a competition or an assessment, than it isn't honest serving any more.

      But we are equal beings, none more weak than the other, we need each other and should be willing to help each other.

    2. I think that the extent to which the stories of damsels in distress have been escalated are definitely fabricated and that knights and knighthood was completely chauvinistic but thats the point. If you asked a girl now if she wanted a chauvinistic man they would say of course not, but if you asked them if they wanted a knight they would say definitely. I dont consider the two to be related. This poem takes a whole different spin on this though. I find it almost opposite of the time period norm in which this poem takes place. I see it as a reverse role in the sense that the woman is kinda saving the man instead of the normalcy of the knight saving the damsel in distress. I Think this poem illustrates the need for a woman in a mans life. I think it shows the the fragility of man, and contradicts what the stereotypical man is. I mean the world defines a man nowadays as someone who needs to be self reliant and dependent only on himself whereas this poem basically just says, heres a man before a woman(lonely), heres the man with the woman (in love and bliss) and heres a man after the woman, (lonely and despair). God created Man, Then the woman because he knew that man would need a woman. Adam and Eve.

  3. Thank you for your reply :)
    I think there were no damsels in distress, and that it was just a romantic idea for literature :)

    You're right, it is not honest serving anymore if one assesses it, or compete for it..
    But sometimes it makes me sad because most of the times, husbands try to dominate their wives... And those couples who are reported to be very good couples are the husbands and wives who were always willing to compromise and never dominate the other :)

    So I agree with what you wrote that we are equal beings, needing each other and should help each other...and serve each other out of love :)

    I always love your idealist views :) Sometimes when you state your idealist views, I think of heaven instead of earth. :) It's so wonderful talking to you, because I am mostly idealistic too, but most of the times I can't avoid knowing about vainly practical I always wonder whether my idealistic ideas actually happen in the world for the majority of people, or if at least there is one soul who also think of such ideas... So it's so nice knowing that there is you, who share the same ideals :) I like your world! :) :)

    1. The real test begins when one finds oneself in the position to begin to live upon your own ideas and opinions of what you think life should be. We have every right to believe in them, to create these places, if when the time comes we can do it ourselves.
      I do know a few (though I should like to say lots) couples who are still wonderfully in love, devoted to one other and I see that it is those that give to each other, those that are not afraid by sharing their troubles. Those that listen. Those that are just there for you through it all. Constant, doesn't necessarily mean constantly in sight or touch, but constant in understanding and care.

  4. Thank you for your reply again!!!! :)

    I am so glad knowing that there are lots of people you know who are so devoted to each other, in love, and constantly care for each other :) When I was a very small child and my parents were having a row, my uncle told them that the most important person in one's life should be one's spouse...I then wondered whether it was true, because it sounded so romantic to me, but since I was a very small child and had no experiences to prove my uncle's statement, I stopped thinking of it...

    But now I'm starting to realize that my uncle is right. Of course a brother, sister, best friend, parents, friends and relatives could sometimes be there for a person when he's at his darkest moments... But these people have their own lives and own cares..and these people cannot even be in a "shared-life" relationship with the person... Such a shared-life relationship could only be shared with one's spouse...

    And for me, one's relationship to one's spouse is sacred...because it is the relationship that we choose. A person cannot say "I'm so blessed because I chose my father and mother to be my parents" or "I'm so blessed because I chose my brothers and sisters to be my siblings." But one can say "I'm so blessed because I chose those person to be the one whom I would live with my whole life." :)

  5. * I mean "this" person, not "those"...

    "I'm so blessed because I chose this person to be the one whom I would live with my whole life."

  6. Thank you a lot for your words about we having every right to believe in our idealistic thoughts, to create those places... :)

    Sometimes when people tell me that I should be more realistic, I feel so sad..They always tell me that my idealistic thoughts are so far-fetched and very unlikely to happen :(
    But I always remember a certain passage that I've read from one of the Narnia books, "The Silver Chair" ...
    In that passage, they were caught by the witch and she produced a very hypnotic smoke around the room while she was playing music, so that they would forget about Narnia and Aslan and all the fair things in the world...The witch were brain-washing them into believing that they've merely dreamed or made-up all fair things and Aslan, and Narnia. But one of them was strong in faith, and said these words:

    "Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things----trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia"

    So sometimes when people laugh at my far-fetched idealistic thoughts, I always feel that my ideal world is a lot more important to me, than the practical and vain things of reality...
    And I hope you have an idea how happy I am to have met a Kindred Spirit who shares the same idealistic thoughts, and making my ideal world seem comfortably possible, and real :)

    1. I agree with you Ramon! That passage from the silver chair is beautiful and so very true. You must think of that when people say you are not 'practical'. But the world would never change or people would never achieve great things if first they didn't have the dream to imagine a world they thought was better. All great movements begin with a dream. Never forget that Ramon.

  7. Thank you again for your reply, dearest Joanna! :)

    Sometimes even if I always think of that passage from the Silver Chair, I still felt isolated and alone in my dreams---because there is no one else who shares the same dreams with me :(

    But everything changed when I read your post about the things you'd do if you're Queen for a day :) I've read many things there that are also my dreams! :)

    So are those all the things that you dream of, or do you have other dreams that you want to come true?? :)

    One of my dreams is that Europe would be able to preserve (and also advance) its culture... I do not have the same dream for the United States, because for me, it is alright if the United States is colonized by so many different cultures.. The United States only preserve (or sometimes they don't even preserve it) culture that dates back only to the 1700's or 1800's...
    But Europe's culture is much more sacred and ancient, and it is so sad that it is disappearing because of the migrations of so many different peoples from so many parts of the world that causes multiculturalism :(

    England, for example, has a very rich culture.. From the times of the Britons, to the Roman times, to the Anglo-Saxon times, Viking times, Anglo-Norman times, and the chivalrous Middle Ages, and the Renaissance, and many more times!!!
    It's so sad that all of these are being swept away because of the influence of other people's cultures :(

    So it is my dream that one day England and Europe should be free, and not only free, but would be able to once again advance its culture through out the world..
    And another important dream for me is that Europe should stop the secularization, and would start having strong faith in God again...

    Do you have dreams like these? :)

  8. Hi Joanna,
    I truly love this Blog.
    I sent you a private message on your Youtube page
    in which I wrote my impressions in richer detail and
    also attached a poem of mine. I'd be delighted to receive
    your reply.

    Best regards!