The poet of “She Walks in Beauty,” Lord Byron, is famous for his romantic poems. Byron was attracted to both men and women and was said to have been in a relationship with both genders throughout his life (Kelly). “She Walks in Beauty” is a poem about Byron’s long-distance relative whom he admires for her beauty.
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He was said to have gone to a party and seen a woman in grief, who turned out to be his cousin, and wrote a poem about her beautiful appearance the very (delete) next day (Kelly). Because of Byron’s love affairs, it is interesting to see his view on beauty as explained through his writings. In “She Walks in Beauty,” Byron uses poetic devices such as strong imagery, personification, alliteration, rhyme, and meter by comparing the light and dark to represent the beauty that comes from both the external and internal qualities in the woman whom he admires.
The poet of “She Walks in Beauty,” Lord Byron, is famous for his romantic poems. Byron was attracted to both men and women and was said to have been in a relationship with both genders throughout his life (Kelly). “She Walks in Beauty” is a poem about Byron’s long-distance relative whom he admires for her beauty. He was said to have gone to a party and seen a woman in grief, who turned out to be his cousin, and wrote a poem about her beautiful appearance the very (delete) next day (Kelly). Because of Byron’s love affairs, it is interesting to see his view on beauty as explained through his writings.
In “She Walks in Beauty,” Byron uses poetic devices such as strong imagery, personification, alliteration, rhyme, and meter by comparing the light and dark to represent the beauty that comes from both the external and internal qualities in the woman whom he admires. In “She Walks in Beauty,” Lord Byron describes the woman’s appearance and how she is so beautiful compared to the balance of the light and dark by using strong imagery.
The woman’s beauty lets the light and dark to come together, allowing the light to shine on her external features and the darkness to represent her inner features. Although it is not for sure that the woman was in grief because she was wearing a “black spangled gown” at the party, it is stated that Byron thought of a starry night when he saw her (Reisman). Byron describes a night full of stars and compares the woman’s beauty to the night (Reisman).
The light and dark which Byron describes in the woman’s beauty creates a “tender light” (Byron line 5). The light that he describes is a light that is pictured during the night. Byron explains the woman’s beauty and softness like the beauty and the light from the stars (Byron). The night can be pictured as a flawless evening filled with stars that can be compared to an ideal woman. In the first line of the second stanza, Byron writes “one shade the more, one ray the less,” explaining that this darkness and lightness were not equivalent, but still creates a balance to her beauty (Byron line 7).
She would only be “half impaired,” but still looked brilliant (Byron line 8). Even the combination of the “shade” and “ray,” creates a steadiness in this woman. Byron suggests that the combination of the light and dark in this woman creates something that is greater than the two combined. Her dark, “raven tresses” and her “serenely sweet” face complement each other and creates a piece that holds the opposites well together (Reisman).
Byron’s outstanding comparisons correspond to this woman’s electrifying features. His use of imagery allows the reader to picture the woman’s external features like her dark hair and expressive face, with a soft impression surrounding her. Conversely, Byron uses personification to prove beauty is originated from an inner source. For example, personification is used multiple times in the first stanza of the poem to emphasize the beauty of the woman. Like the “tender light” described earlier, is a gift from heaven that shines a light on the woman’s features (Byron line 5).
The “tender light” is what can be felt, and light is what can be seen. Personification is also used in the last verse, “Which heaven to gaudy day denies” (Byron line 6). In this line, Byron allows “heaven” to have emotions. Byron uses this technique to highlight the unique qualities the woman holds that make her charming. In the same way that the lines of the poem run-on to force the lines to come together, this woman joins darkness and light in her features. It is also important to notice that the connection can be seen in her aspect and her eyes (Needler). Another poetic device Byron uses is alliteration.
Eyes are usually associated with an external element and Byron uses alliteration to determine the beauty’s source; “Where thoughts serenely sweet express/ How pure, how dear their dwelling place,” this line focuses on the woman’s thoughts (Byron lines 11-12). The reiteration of the “s” sound is calm and clear; it highlights how pure the woman’s mind is. The phrases “cloudless climes,” “starry skies,” and “day denies” are also used to call attention to the dark and light images (Byron lines 2 and 6). These are key techniques Byron uses to represent the woman’s inner source of beauty.
Byron uses rhyme as well as other techniques (delete) to build “She Walks in Beauty” with the comparison of the light and dark imagery. In the first stanza, there is a set of rhymes that exist in the lines such as “night,” which rhymes with its opposites “bright,” “light,” and continues with “skies,” “eyes,” and “denies” (Byron lines 1-6).
While the same vowel is used in each one of these words to set the mood, the rhyming scheme is ABABAB, CDCDCD, and EFEFEF creating a musical effect as the poem is in the form of a lyrical poem. Byron uses a rhyme scheme to expand the contrast between light and dark and creates an image in the reader’s mind. While creating a rhyme scheme, the poem goes after an iambic tetrameter beginning with an unaccented syllable then an accented syllable giving the poem a lyrical tone.
The tone demonstrates the soft nature of the beautiful woman and shifts the readers focus on the woman instead of the wording of the poem. The iambic tetrameter and the alternating rhymes is what sets the steady lyrical tone almost creating a meter used in hymns (Moran). When the reader reads the poem the meter leads the poem to carry the smooth and gentle sound.
Although, (delete) Bryon heavily compares the woman’s beauty and the beauty found in nature. He suggests that something called “nameless grace” grants the woman’s beauty by saying “had half impaired the nameless grace” (Byron line 8). He specifies that something so deniable yet still so elegant could only be formed by a “nameless grace.” Byron is assured that this form of beauty that is so perfect could only be compared to the beauty in nature and is sent from heaven.
With the help of many poetic devices, and literary techniques, Byron proves that this woman’s breathtaking natural beauty can be demonstrated through the comparison of darkness and light. In “She Walks in Beauty,” Byron perfectly carries the image of an incredibly beautiful woman who has all of nature’s beauty, internally and externally. The representation of the woman’s qualities creates a well-rounded image of how the woman’s beauty connects with light and dark. The contrasts of darkness versus light have helped set this balance.