She Walks In Beauty Analysis
She walks in beauty is a short romantic poem written by Lord Byron in 1814. The poem is composed in iambic tetrameter over three stanzas. Lord Byron is widely celebrated for his thoughts on love and romance and he was one of the very few poets who truly understood the significance of purity and true beauty in all its glory. Thought of as one of Byron’s most famous romantic works, it’s a well-known fact that the inspiration for ‘ She walks in beauty ‘ was taken from his very own life.
“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.”
In the very first stanza, the speaker readily draws the reader’s attention to that of a woman, who is so eloquent and elegant in her aura, that not only she looks beautiful, but the beauty itself seems to be embracing her as if she’s walking in it. The speaker compares her beauty to that of a cloudless night sky shrouded in stars. Here we see how, unlike most other romantic poems, there is no mention of the speaker’s own desires about the woman, instead, he tries his best to capture the essence of both her superficial and inner beauty that’s in a harmonic equilibrium between darkness and divinity. Everything that’s great in dark and bright seems to be aligning in her favour; creating such a divine aura that neither the earth nor heaven can deny.
“One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d 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.”
In the second stanza, the speaker amplifies the ideas presented in the opening lines. The woman’s beauty is in such a perfect equilibrium that the speaker feels if a single ray were to be out of place, it would impair the essence of her beauty in its entirety. By nameless grace, he suggests how difficult it is for him to put his thoughts about her beauty in words. The speaker once again brings attention to the contrast of dark and bright in her aura, by saying how her raven tress or dark hair softly lightens up her face. The glow has such a divine serenity to it that it reveals the sweet expressions in her face and the speaker wonders how pure and innocent her thoughts might be. Here we see the speaker’s desire to unravel her inner beauty, transcending her superficial self.
“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!”
In the third and last stanza, the speaker once again speaks of her expressive eloquent aura, and how even in sadness, she seems to be calm and serene, indicating that she is someone who has learned to embrace the purity in both darkness and divinity and how it has made her mind to be at peace with itself. She is someone who can bring out the best in both worlds, she is someone the speaker imagines true and pure virtue must look like. Her inner serenity reflects off her outward beauty, and with a heart full of innocence and love, she is the perfect representation of all that’s true and divine.
Darkness has always been associated with sadness, grief, fear, and all that’s evil or unwanted while Light has been associated with beauty, divinity, and purity. In She walks in beauty, Lord Byron demolishes those primitive thoughts and expresses his opinion on how darkness and light both comprise true beauty in a harmonic equilibrium. His take on beauty in such a way is not only bold and unprecedented but also one of the deepest takes in defining beauty without objectifying the essence of it. Darkness is not something that is opposite to beauty, but it is something that accentuates the very essence of purity in combination with light. In such a way, the poem reflects off the reader’s persona and forces them to see beauty and romanticism in a whole different way, making She walks in beauty one of the most impressive pieces of writing in English Literature.