Sunday, March 13, 2016

La Belle Dame sans Merci

glorious Spring is around the corner, I hope, and soon we will be painting 'pisanki' aka Easter eggs  while perhaps watching the films on Passion or the death and resurrection of Jesus - my favorite one is titled 'Passion of the Christ' directed by Mel Gibson.
Ad rem, the Winter or the time of death, in Mother Nature, is coming to an end... so a little poetry and art of the Pre-Raphaelite movement - XIX century British artistic movement - to close, hopefully quickly, the season of cold and snow, to open into the season of love and ... well, some sorrow and longing for one  :) .
The poetry - 
John Keats, great hero of the Romantic English poetry, wrote this beautiful poem - la Belle Dame sans Merci - while 400 years earlier a French poet Alain Chartier wrote a poem under the same title, yet of a different story, also depicted by one of the Pre-Raphaelites (of the second wave), i.e., the famous Lord Leighton.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered 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 cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful,a fairy’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 lullèd 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 gapèd 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.

Frank Dicksee, also a Pre-Raphaelite painter, created this canvass, for us to admire and to dream a bit ( perhaps ).


Dicksee also apinted this animated Medieval-like scene

and I found this one, painted by a Polish artist  Zdzislaw Walczak, showing a more Polish version (a winged hussar) of the subject matter depicted by maestro Dicksee. Copyright by Zdzislaw Walczak.


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