Friday, July 31, 2009

She Walks In Beauty

The poem "She Walks in Beauty" was written by Lord Byron in 1814. It is one of his most popular poems. I will discuss this poem in this post.

She Walks in Beauty

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, so 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!

The poem consists of three stanzas of six verses each. Each verse has eight syllables in which the second is stressed. This is known as iambic tetrameter. In other words, each verse has four feet (each foot has two syllables) and the final syllable of each foot has stress. We also notice that the poem has a regular rhyme. The rhyme scheme is a,b, a, b, a, b, c, d, c, d, c, d, e, f, e, f, e, f.

The second verse of the first stanza has alliteration in "cloudless climes" and "starry skies". The final verse of the first stanza personifies both heaven and day.

In the third verse of the second stanza appears the phrase "raven tress". This refers to every dark curl of the woman's hair. Her thoughts express her purity and sweetness.

The final stanza reveals the woman's charm. She is described as calm, eloquent and good. In the final verse, we are told that she has a heart whose love is innocent. She does not love for selfish reasons but to make others happy. Clearly she is an amazing woman who makes a favourable impression upon others.

Lord Byron's poem is filled with beautiful imagery, regular rhyme, personification and alliteration. These poetic devices are common in classical poetry. His praise of the woman and skilful use of words help to explain the popularity of this classic.

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