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Keats - A Romantic Poet: Keats and Other Artists

Comic Book La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Keats' poem  "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" has inspired Pintrest memes, fan fiction, and this comic book version  poem by Julian Peters

Keat's Influence on Countee Cullen


Harlem Renaissance figurehead Countee Cullen was educated on the Romantic Poets.  At NYU, he was so enamored of Keats’ work, Cullen chose that topic for his thesis.  Keats’ embrace of the joy and suffering of being human resonated with the young Cullen. A discourse emerged between Cullen and poets like Langston Hughes, who wrote of the African-American experience in the jazz cadences and common dialect that Hughes saw as giving an authentic voice to  African Americans.  Cullen, although he wrote in stark terms about the black experience and racism, saw no conflict in writing sonnets and the style of formal poetry that he learned to love in school.  He further felt it important to demonstrate that black poets could master that received tradition.

Rachel Carlson's Epigraph in "Silent Spring"

Rachel Carson used Keats’ poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci as inspiration for the title  - Silent Spring - of her ground-breaking expose’ on the consequences of pesticide use.  The front page epigraph: …and no birds sing.


More "Works Inspired by John Keats!"

John William Waterhouse's "La Belle Dame Sans Merci", 1893

La Belle Dame Sans Merci

La Belle Dame Sans Merci

By John Keats

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 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 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 gazed 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 dreamed
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all:
They cry'd - "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 side.

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