Posted on August 3, 2011
In Lord Byron’s poem, She Walks in Beauty, the poet praises a woman’s beauty. Yet, the poet not only focuses on the external appearance of the woman but extends his glorification onto the internal aspect of her, making the woman more divine and praiseworthy. In this analysis, we will first discuss the meaning of the poem, and later consider some of the poetic mechanisms and the form that the poet used to make his poem richer.
The first stanza of the poem describes the physical appearance of the woman. Byron starts the poem with the phrase “She walks in beauty, like the night/ Of cloudless climes and starry skies;.”(1-2) Here, the poet creates an image of a dark, clear sky with twinkling stars, and make a contrast between brightness and darkness. This contrast could mean diverse things, such as “black hair” and “white skin”, or “deep, black eyes” and “clear, white parts of the eyes.” The image created by this contrast represents the cloth the woman is wearing; a black dress with sparkles on it. In the next line, “And all that’s best of dark and bright/ Meet in her aspect and her eyes:,”(3-4) we see how the opposite characteristics of darkness and brightness mentioned in previous lines reappear to mingle and create a wonderful harmony. In the last two lines of this stanza, we see another contrast in imagery. The darkness and brightness from lines above have “mellowed”(5) to become a “tender light,”(5) and this gets contrasted with the expression “gaudy day,”(6) which inheres a negative connotation of excessiveness. Thus, the woman that the poet is praising is in great balance. Opposites “meet” in the woman to create a calm, soft image.
The second stanza of She Walks in Beauty continues to praise the woman’s appearance, but starting from line 11, the poet extends this external beauty onto the woman’s personality. In the phrase “Had half impaired the nameless grace,”(8) the poet tells us that... [continues]
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