O sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Every thing is spoilt by use:
Where’s the cheek that doth not fade,
Too much gazed at? Where’s the maid
Whose lip mature is ever new?
Where’s the eye, however blue,
Doth not weary? Where’s the face
One would meet in every place?
Where’s the voice, however soft,
One would hear so very oft?
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth.
Let, then, wingàd Fancy find
Thee a mistress to thy mind:
Dulcet-eyed as Ceres’ daughter,
Ere the God of Torment taught her
How to frown and how to chide;
With a waist and with a side
White as Hebe’s, when her zone
Slipt its golden clasp, and down
Fell her kirtle to her feet,
While she held the goblet sweet,
And Jove grew languid.—Break the mesh
Of the Fancy’s silken leash;
Quickly break her prison-string,
And such joys as these she’ll bring.—
Let the wingàd Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home.

639   Stanzas

IN a drear-nighted December,
   Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne’er remember
   Their green felicity:
The north cannot undo them,
With a sleety whistle through them;
Nor frozen thawings glue them
   From budding at the prime.

In a drear-nighted December,
   Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne’er remember
   Apollo’s summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
   About the frozen time.

Ah! would ’twere so with many
   A gentle girl and boy!
But were there ever any
   Writhed not at passàd joy?
To know the change and feel it,
When there is none to heal it,
Nor numbàd sense to steal it,
   Was never said in rhyme.

640   La Belle Dame sans Merci

‘O WHAT can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
   Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge is wither’d from the lake,
       And no birds sing.

‘O 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 cheek 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 look’d 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 sideways would she lean, 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 sigh’d full sore;
And there I shut her wild, wild eyes
       With kisses four.

‘And there she lullàd me asleep,
   And there I dream’d—Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream’d
       On the cold hill’s side.

‘I saw pale kings and princes too,
   Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
Who cried—‘‘La belle Dame sans Merci
       Hath thee in thrall!’’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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