ENG 125 – Introduction to Literature
May 16, 2011
Beauty Within and Without
“She Walks in Beauty” was written by George Gordon, Lord Byron, an English poet during the early nineteenth century. The poem falls within the genre of lyric poetry in which the poet expresses his thoughts and imaginations (Clugston, 2010, section 11.3). Romance is the central emotion in the poem; however, it is governed by a theme of principles which metaphorically balances inner values with sheer external beauty. Being married for many years, my connection with the poem was in looking back to the moments when I used similar forms of romantic poetry to communicate my affections for my wife during the early stages of our engagement. I also found familiarity in the meaning of the last stanza of the poem which has an almost identical meaning to a line from the closing speech of one of my favorite romantic comedies written by William Shakespeare entitled, “The Taiming of the Schrew.” “She Walks in Beauty” embodies both engaging content and form using contrasting opposites; however, its theme that external beauty is a reflection of inner goodness has a valuable message for society that real beauty is a combination of inner goodness and outward appearance. I was engaged by the content of the “She Walks in Beauty” through its image of realism created by the speaker as he is intently focused on a vision of sheer beauty while also recognizing qualities of virtue and innocence. His main convention for holding this image throughout this eighteen-line poem is by contrasting opposites such as the dark with the light or the night with the day. For example, two opposites are brought together in the first two lines of the poem aided by the most obvious setting of a clear and starry, moonlit night in lines 1 and 2 of stanza 1: “She walks in beauty, like the night” followed by “Of cloudless climes and starry skies” and again...