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Who is La Belle Dame? - handcrafted silver and gemstone jewelry to inspire and entrance
"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.""
La Belle Dame Sans Merci"
~John Keats 1819

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Who is La Belle Dame?

La Belle Dame Sans Merci is a fairy maiden from a poem by John Keats, who lures princes and knights to their demise with her beauty. It has always been one of my favourite poems from the Romantic Era, and when I was trying to think of a name for my jewelry collection I could think of no better image of feminine power and allure than that of La Belle Dame. She is the ultimate seductress.

Although I do not reccomend seducing countless numbers of knight-at-arms and princes to an untimely demise, I do think that La Belle Dame does have something to impart us. She is powerful. She is in complete possession of her beauty, and of herself. She is not the damsel in distress. A grain of that siren lives inside all women, waiting to be found.

In my design I seek to draw that part of women to the surface. That knowledge that we are all beautiful, we all can be seductive. Moreover, we are in posession of our own beauty, of our own lives, and how we wish to use them. I wish every piece to be a reflection of the wearer's personality, to give them the confidence to realise their uniqueness - to possess it, to wear it with certainty.

 La Belle Dame Sans Merci
John Keats

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

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms!         5
  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,         10
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,         15
  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.         20

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,         25
  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 fill sore,         30
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
  With kisses four.

And there she lulled me asleep,
  And there I dream’d—Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream’d         35
  On the cold hill’s 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!”         40

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,         45
  Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither’d from the lake,
  And no birds sing.

Jewelry design, photos, and text Copyright 2004, Kimberly McIntyre - de Montbrun
La Belle