Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lady in the Meads

In our old apartment, there were only three things painted on the walls: In the living room we had two faeries on the wall behind our television. And in our bedroom we had a quote from my favorite poem, "La Belle Dame Sans Merci", painted in gold below an artwork of Hylas and the Nymphs by Waterhouse.

When we moved into the new house, and I hung Hylas and the Nymphs on an existing nail behind the living room couch, Tom started asking me when I was going to paint the quote below it. He was quite happy when I started to work on it this past weekend.

These pictures were shot last night at about midnight-thirty when I finally finished the last line of text. It's not the best lighting, but you know how much I love to catch Corvin in the shots of my updates, and he was sitting beside me on the couch so adorably, I had to get a picture then.

We'll likely be putting iron sconces or something similar on either side of the artwork, but I want to find just the right thing. Any suggestions?

And yes, this is the same font I used on the staircase. It's a beautiful font and very pleasant to paint, and I thought using the same one would make the flow from room to room easier/better.

"La Belle Dame Sans Merci" is a poem by Keats, and although I always thought it was lovely, it wasn't until I started analyzing it further in college that it became my favorite poem and somewhat of an obsession. The vagueness of the narration makes for a story that can be interpreted so many different ways, and I prefer to read it in a way that is sympathetic to the Lady in the Meads.

I hope to soon start on a short story version of the poem that elaborates on the narrative.

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.


  1. So, inquiring minds want to know. What is the Font?

    Oh, also, this lovely and gorgeous.

  2. Ah, Shane of course I forgot to mention!

    The font is "Cardinal" and is available for free download at under their Medieval lettering category.

  3. Gorgeous indeed! A very fine job of lettering. I know it can be tedious to complete. The result after the sconces are added will be awesome!

  4. Thanks Painting Queen! Now, to search high and low for just the right sconces!