La Belle Dame Sans Merci

  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight, 
Alone and palely loitering;
The sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
And the harvest's done.

I see a lilly 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 set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long;
For sideways would she lean, and sing
A faery's song.

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.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew;
And sure in language strange she said,
I love thee true.
And there we slumbered on the moss, 
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;
Who 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 side.

And this is why I sojourn here
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing. 
 
Poem by John Keats. 
Paintings by Frank Dicksee, Frank Cadogan Cowper, John William Waterhouse
For a great analysis of the poem, read here: 
http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/belle.html  

Returning to Narnia

My parents had a wonderful old cedar closet in their bedroom. It was so large that you could climb inside it and close the doors. After I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at the age of seven or so, that’s exactly what I did. I had yet to grow so tall that I couldn’t tuck my knees under and stare out through the crack in the doors. Try though I might, I could never seem to find the way to Narnia. I would bump around my way through the dark, intoxicated with the smell of cedar, half suffocated in the folds of rayon and silk and wool, to rap and tap on the back of the closet.

 

I never found my way through the wardrobe, never met Mr. Tumnus by the lamp post, never chased a talking lion through the woods. And no, I was never Queen of Cair Paravel.

 

But to this day, occasionally, when I glimpse the wardrobe, which now stands in my own bedroom…I can’t help but wonder if today is the day I’ll return to Narnia.

Do you Believe? – The Cottingley Fairies

July of 1917 – Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright produce photographs that they claim to be irrefutable proof of the existence of fairies.

Arthur Conan Doyle, famed author, was fascinated with spiritualism and the idea of the unseen and unknown. He completely believed the authenticity of the photographs, even in the face of widespread skepticism.

The girls maintained for years that the photographs were real. Only late in life did they admit that it was a fanciful prank. Even then, Frances said she believed in the final photograph. She never stopped saying that they had seen and played with the fairies.

“The recognition of their existence will jolt the material twentieth century mind out of its heavy ruts in the mud, and will make it admit that there is a glamour and mystery to life. Having discovered this, the world will not find it so difficult to accept that spiritual message supported by physical facts which has already been put before it” – Arthur Conan Doyle

[From Wikipedia.org] Elsie maintained it was a fake, just like all the others, but Frances insisted that it was genuine. In an interview given during the early 1980s Frances said:

It was a wet Saturday afternoon and we were just mooching about with our cameras and Elsie had nothing prepared. I saw these fairies building up in the grasses and just aimed the camera and took a photograph

1st Photo – Frances and the Fairies
Elsie and the Winged Gnome
Frances and the Leaping Fairy
Fairy Offering Posy of Harebells to Elsie
Fairies and their Sun Bath – the fifth and final image

Though these fairies are paper, do you believe?

Read more about the Cottingley fairies here: Cottingley.net – The Cottingley Fairies