I was originally going to do a GQ post and ask the origin of this phrase. I’m referring to the Sirens in The Odyssey as “belles dames sans merci” – which I can do because it’s a French essay and it seems appropriate – and I got to wondering whence this phrase cometh*.
So, like any good poster, I decided to do a search (on both Altavista and Google, if you’re curious) before posting. I found both the poem of the same name by Keats, and this essay which mentions the allusions to the Keats poem in James Joyce’s Ulysses.
So, I’m posting for two reasons:
Does anybody know if the Keats poem is the first occurence of this phrase, or if he’s alluding to something else?
Isn’t it weird that I’m using the phrase in reference in to The Odyssey and it figures somewhat prominently in Ulysses?
Thank you, and good night.
[sub]*Is that the proper construction?[/sub]