Blind to the beauties of the surrounding meadows and wooded hillsides, a young knight in polished armour dramatically throws back his arms and appears to surrender himself to the lady bending down from the majestic horse – as if to kiss him. The encounter takes inspiration from Keats' poem of 1819:

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 set her on my pacing steed, And nothing else saw all day long; For side long would she bend, and sing A faery's song.

Frank Dicksee did not depict the dark outcome of the story, which leaves the knight devastated, but focuses the composition on the seductive power of the femme fatale. A fascination with chivalry had existed throughout the Victorian era, but this painting reflects a rising anxiety over gender roles at the turn of the 20th century.