When was the last time you thought about a person who lights up your life? When was the last time you dedicated a piece of visual or lyrical art to his or her indispensable presence in your life? Chances are it’s probably been a while; especially with how monotonous life has been, appreciating the people around you becomes a little difficult. That is why today we are bringing an enchanting piece of poetry to your life – She Walks In Beauty by the celebrated poet Lord Byron.
The poem is a stunning lyric that focuses on feminine beauty and how outer beauty is a direct manifestation of the inner goodness that a person possesses and we feel it apt to introduce this delightful piece in our ‘15 Days of Fabulous Poetry.’
She Walks In Beauty by Lord Byron is one of the most famous works of George Gordon a.k.a. Lord Byron from the year 1814. Although it is believed to be inspired by an event of Byron’s life and is widely regarded as a love poem, there isn’t any clear declaration of love in the poem. In the most basic essence, the poem has an obvious note of deep affection for the muse of the poet and predominantly contains intense appreciation for the female figure as a symbol of purity and innocence.
Before we delve into the beauty that is this poem, let’s take a look at the person who wrote this poem.
Lord Byron Biography
One of the most flamboyant, fashionable, and notorious poets of the major English Romantic era was George Gordon a.k.a. Lord Byron. He was one of the leading figures of the Romantic Movement. Aside from being a poet, he was also a peer and politician and was a revolutionary in the Greek War of Independence. He was a multi-faceted personality, finding expression in all sorts of poetry – ode, satire, verse narrative, lyric, historical tragedy, dramatic monologue, etc. written in Spenserian stanzas, heroic couplets, blank verse, and vigorous prose.
He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential. Among his best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage; many of his shorter lyrics in Hebrew Melodies also became popular.
George Gordon Noel Byron was born in 1788 in London to Captain John Byron and his second wife Catherine Gordon. At the age of 10, his great uncle, the ‘’wicked’’ Lord Byron died, thus making Gordon the sixth Baron Byron of Rochdale in Nottinghamshire. He had a strained relationship with his mother. Although, it is said that she was a staunch supporter of her son and tried her best to keep her son in luxury despite struggling with numerous debts left by her then late husband.
As he grew, Byron delved into poetry and his first few books were self-published with several types of poetry like satires and heroic couplets. Alexander Pope was a great model for Byron throughout his career which is seen in a few of his poems. By 1807, Byron was a published poet.
He became a celebrity with the publication of the first two cantos of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage in 1812. On the initiative of the composer Isaac Nathan, he produced in 1814–1815 the Hebrew Melodies, including what became some of his best-known lyrics, such as “She Walks In Beauty” and “The Destruction of Sennacherib”. In 1816, due to his separation with his wife Annabella and the subsequent rumors about his relationship with his half-sister Augusta, he left England and never returned.
Most of his poetry he wrote after he left England. He traveled through Belgium and Italy before going to Greece and partaking in the Greek War of Independence. He was a prominent figure in politics too which influenced some of his poetry like ‘Song for the Luddites’ and ‘The Landlord’s Interest’. However, during his time in Greece, he contracted a violent fever and passed away in 1824.
Now that we’ve taken a look at his life, let’s immerse ourselves into one of his most famous works – She Walks In Beauty.
She Walks In Beauty Poem
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
She Walks In Beauty Summary
She Walks In Beauty by Lord Byron is a classic poem that describes the beauty – inner and outer – of a female. Although the poet is clearly fixated on the female figure and her outward appearance, there is an underlying acknowledgment of an inner spiritual core where pure thought and innocence reside. It’s a flowing, musical lyric poem initially written as a song by Byron. The lines explore the idea of a female’s physical appearance being dependent on her inner psychical state.
The poet compares a beautiful woman to the clear night sky with bright shining stars where the dark and light come together to enhance her beauty, giving her an ethereal, heavenly appearance and enhancing her beauty. He says that her appearance is so exquisite that it is difficult to put it in words. However, it is evident in the way her hair caresses her face and the way her emotions play out on her face, allude to the purity and preciousness of this woman.
Lord Byron also expresses his appreciation for the woman by talking about how her smiles and glowing self insinuates at a virtuous personality and that she possesses a peaceful mind and an innocent loving heart. These descriptions point towards the amount of attention the poet has paid the woman and showcases the admiration he feels for the unknown woman.
She Walks In Beauty Theme and Analysis
She Walks In Beauty is a rhyming lyric of 3 equal stanzas with 18 lines in total. It has a rhyme scheme of ababab which complements the idea of harmony and balance as noticed in the poem. It also is composed in iambic tetrameter which lends a certain rhythm to the lyric. The poem also deals with several themes throughout, with the main ones being beauty, harmony, and the difference between inner and outer beauty.
As the title suggests, ”She Walks In Beauty” is a poem that praises a woman’s beauty. More specifically, it presents that beauty as a kind of harmony that is as perfect as it is rare. Indeed, that’s the main point of the poem—that this particular woman’s beauty is practically unparalleled because of the exquisite harmony and visual balance of her looks. Beauty, the poem thus suggests, is perfection achieved through harmony. And as the poem progresses, it makes clear that this harmony is delicate and fragile—potentially altered by even the smallest of changes.
It is also worth noting how Lord Byron has played with the theme of duality throughout the poem. Darkness usually associates with mystery or fear whereas light, as a contrast, is an implication of purity and goodness and beauty and love. The beauty in “She Walks in Beauty” depends on both light and dark, bringing them together in harmony. This is a poem that cherishes physical beauty and perfection. In the figure of the woman that it addresses, it sees an unparalleled example of perfect beauty and seeks to explain it, even though it may prove impossible to characterize its “nameless grace,” as a type of rare harmony that brings together light and dark.
While the poem primarily focuses on physical beauty, it also explores the relationship between inner and outer beauty throughout. The first half of the poem talks about physical beauty and helps the reader realize how rare and powerful this woman’s beauty is. However, in the second half of the poem, along with physical beauty, the poet also discusses the relationship between the outer loveliness and inner beauty.
In the speaker’s opinion, outer beauty is a reflection of inner beauty—and both are in harmony with one another. Outer beauty becomes a symbol of inner beauty. Indeed, this inner beauty enhances outer beauty because, if the outer beauty is linked to the woman’s facial expressions, these expressions are the result of inner emotions.
The poem is a beautiful piece of literature and all the underlying themes to this piece of art make it a beautiful read. It helps us realize and appreciate the inner and outer beauty of the people around us and makes us feel thankful for their presence in our lives.
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