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Paintings › View › La Belle Dame Sans Merci (study) 1893   
The Lady of Shalott [looking at Lancelot] (study) (1894)
. The Lady of Shalott [looking at Lancelot] (study) (1894)
St Cecilia (1895)
. St Cecilia (1895)
A Hamadryad (1895)
. A Hamadryad (1895)
Pandora (1896)
. Pandora (1896)
Hylas and the Nymphs (study 2) (1896)
. Hylas and the Nymphs (study 2) (1896)
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  bullet  1893 . Oil on board on panel
  bullet  Private Collection
Actual Size (W x H): 30.5cm x 35.5cm [ 12.02" x 13.99" ]
John William Waterhouse: La Belle Dame Sans Merci (study) - 1893 John William Waterhouse: La Belle Dame Sans Merci (study) - 1893

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View the finished painting

"Chance Meeting"
She sits upon her queenly throne of leaves and twigs entwined just pondering, her lot in life of casting spells that bind

Her little chin rests in soft hand her eyes gaze through the wood she spies a stranger riding by in armour, cloaked with hood

She rises slowly from her seat and steps upon the dew pausing, to deceive with song her victim in her view

But as she casts her first few notes she tips her head to side and questioning, if what she does is evil in its guide

To bind a heart within a spell of useless wandering appeared to her, a waste of breath so she refused to sing

She a nymph of wondrous beauty with hair of spider silk her skin so pearly white and soft bathed in pure mothers milk

He a knight of a table round astride a flaxen steed bound for the Castle Camelot upon path, called good deed

Her clothing quite diaphanous floating, there on the breeze her gaze bewitching as she peeks around the huge oak trees

The gentle knight sat on his steed his silver hood in hand and wiping sweat across his brow he gazed upon the land

Yet all at once, as his head turns and eyes lock in a stare united they both lose their hearts this day in woods so bare

Then as he drops his form to ground she slips around a tree and runs to him with open arms her true love given free

She will not cast her deadly spell upon this man today she needs his love within her life yet blind to what she’ll pay

The Hunter rules the forest green antlered head is shaking how could she know, she broke the rules faerie world is quaking

All life is still within these woods awaiting for the axe of Hunter’s anger to come down upon the lover’s backs

But sight unseen with not a care the two knelt in the wood and as he held her graceful hand he vowed the love he could

For waiting on his vast estates his wife of years that bind her goodness playing with his guilt their vows upon his mind

To find a love within the woods upon this special day would have to last forever more because he can not stay

He jumps astride his battle steed and reaches down to hold the tiny hand of his true love finds only air that’s cold

With sight unseen the Hunter stalks and when knight’s back is turned the nymph is pulled beneath the earth her lesson to be learned

The Hunters’ stomping back and forth the nymph weeps in her hands as she doth beg to be returned to follow knight to lands

The nymph will take a human form paying with her powers but that alas, is price to pay for love’s stolen hours

Returning to the misty glade released from Nether World frantically searching, for her love unsure where he was hurled

Until a sound heard ‘neath the trees a moan of such vast pain her love lies broken, crying there his tears like pouring rain

And as she called him “Gentle knight?” with voice as soft as fur he turns to her with tear streaked face his eyes do not know her

For when she took her human form it also broke the spell that love cast on the handsome knight this day upon the dell

She offers him her hand to hold and shoulder for to weep and when he touches her once more he finds their love so deep

Within the two of them has formed a lasting and true love two lives are bound with honesty a gift from God above

By Nina Harrington © 2004

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