She Walks in Beauty

She Walks in Beauty

by Lord Byron

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!

Summary of She Walks in Beauty

  • Popularity: “She Walks in Beauty” by Lord Byron is a marvelous poem published in 1815. The poem offers a bewitchingly romantic description of a charming woman with whom the speaker seems familiar. It deals with her exceptional inner and outer beauty. The secret of the popularity of this poem lies in the way it has presented the beauty of “A mind at peace.”
  • “She Walks in Beauty” an Admiration of Inner and Outer Beauty:  The poem celebrates the enchanting beauty of the women, and the poet is captivated by it. Lord Byron gives a critical message to the readers that perfect beauty is the combination of outward looks as well as inner beauty. According to him, the lady is blessed with attractive looks and also possesses a physical and spiritual harmony. Her innocent and pure thoughts further illuminate her beauty.  It is through her graceful walk and pleasant face, Byron gives a clue of her innocent soul. The expression of beauty remains at the core of the poem.
  • Major Themes: The major themes of the poem include beauty and harmony of mind and body. Lord Byron describes and compares beauty with a variety of phrases such as – “tender light” as he creates beautiful imagery for her charming features, the eloquence of speech and purity of love. Byron focuses on the beauty with classical diction as well. He believes that beauty lies within and that the body only projects that beauty. Also, the balance between light and dark clearly indicates the perfection of that beauty where even a slight change can damage the prettiness. The thematic strand of beauty and harmony runs throughout the poem.

Analysis of Literary Devices in “She Walks in Beauty”

Literary devices serve as tools the writer uses to make their poetic pieces not only powerful descriptions but also strong compositions. Byron has also given this poem depth and clarity with appropriate use of these literary devices. The analysis of some of the devices used in this poem is given below.

  • Simile: A simile is a device used to compare two different objects to understand meanings by comparing these object’s qualities. There is one simile used in the opening line of the poem, “She walks in beauty, like the night.” Lord Byron compares the walk of that lady with a dark and clear night which also means that her footsteps are not heard.
  • Metaphor: There are two metaphors in the poem, in lines eleven and twelve. “Where thoughts serenely sweet express / How pure how dear their dwelling place.” Here the poet compares thoughts with people and “dwelling place” with the mind. Similarly, “Raven Trees” represents the dark hair of the lady that adds further to her beauty.
  • Personification: Personification is to attribute human qualities to animals or inanimate objects. The poet has personified “dwelling place” with the human He also personifies the lady’s “cheek” and “brow” with persons as if they can speak about the good days.
  • Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers feel things through their five senses along with their Byron has used images appealing to the sense of sight such as, “night”; “starry sky”; “cloudless climes”; “cheek” and “brow.” These images speak for themselves and allow the readers to feel the same beauty that has delighted the poet.
  • Sibilance: It is a device used to stress consonant sounds through their fricative and affricative types coming after each other. The letter “s” is permanent in lines eleven and second that creates a special effect. Check the /s/ sound in these four lines.

“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;”

  • Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /a/ in “Had half impaired the nameless grace” and sound of /e/ in “where thoughts serenely sweet express.”
  • Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds such as the sound of /s/ in “where thoughts serenely sweet express” and /c/ sound in “Of cloudless climes and starry skies”.

A careful glimpse of this analysis shows that with the help of the above literary devices, Byron has given this poem a romantic feel and touch, making it an eternal literary piece.

Analysis of the Poetic Devices in “She Walks in Beauty”

Poetic and literary devices share similar attributes, but a few of them are exclusively used in poetry. The analysis of some of the poetic devices is stated below.

  • Stanza: A stanza is the poetic form of some lines. In this poem, there are three stanzas with six lines in each.
  • Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows ABABAB in the first six lines. In the second stanza it is CDCDCD, and in the last stanza, the rhyme scheme is EFEFEF.
  • Iambic Tetrameter: The poem follows Iambic Tetrameter which means there are four feet per line or each unstressed syllable is followed by a stressed syllable as in the first line of this poem “She walks in beauty, like the ”

The analysis shows that this simple romantic poem has a deceptive attraction to catch the attention of the readers because of iambic tetrameter that is mostly not used in lyric poems. Moreover, the poetic devices have helped the poet paint the perfect harmony of the outer and inner beauty of the lady.

Quotes to be Used

  • The below lines can be used for children when teaching them about the sky and fairy tales. The expressions like “cloudless clime” and “starry sky” will help them visualize the subject more clearly.

“She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright.”

  • These lines can be used when discussing any personal experience of a place that is a source of satisfaction.

“Where thoughts serenely sweet express,

How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.”