La Belle Dame sans Merci – or The Beautiful Lady Without Mercy – is an 1819 poem by John Keats. One hundred and forty-three years later, it would provide the inspiration for one of the environmental movement’s seminal texts: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.
A full version of Keats’ poem – which includes the line that led to the naming of Carson’s book, “The sedge is wither’d from the lake, And no birds sing” – can be found here.
The video below is narrated by the actor Ben Whishaw.
For more information on National Poetry Day, see here.