An Interpretation of She Walks in Beauty, a Poem by George Gordon and Lord Byron

Categories: She Walks in Beauty

George Gordon, Lord Byron was a literary figure during the nineteenth century whose poems were very popular during his time as it still is today. Byron can be associated with the Romanticism period in literature. Byron wrote She Walks in Beauty in 1814 as a lyrical poem. Lyric poetry is a type of poem, which shows its readers a songlike or musical rhyme, which may express strong emotions or a dramatic narrative. She Walks in Beauty is written in an iambic tetrameter.

The iambic part includes the syllables and stresses within the poem (unaccented/ accented). Tetrameter refers to the four feet of lambs within the line or in other words, four accented/stressed syllables within a line. For example, within the first two lines of the poem:

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

The rhyme scheme for this poem includes an ababab pattern in the first stanza, cdcdcd in the second stanza, and efefef in the third stanza.

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The poem flows smoothly in iambic tetrameter with a total of eight syllables in all (stressed and unstressed), until the poem approaches line six. Line six reads:

Which heaven to gaudy day denies

It seems that line six contains a “substitution” and has nine syllables instead of eight as shown within the rest of the poem. Byron uses a repetition of initial consonant sounds, known as alliteration within the poem. For example, line two:

cloudless climes and starry skies

Byron's three-stanza poem introduces the speaker of the story as what would seem to be a man speaking of a woman's beauty through the imagery of night and day.

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Within the first stanza, the speaker describes the woman's beauty to "dark" things like the night sky and starry sky on a cloudless evening. The third line:

All that's best of dark and bright

Shows how the woman has both dark and bright qualities about her; the woman has the whole package. As readers approach the second stanza, it is seen, Byron is continuously using the imagery of light and darkness in his poem to express her beauty by saying if there were

One shade the more, one more the less,

the woman would be "half impaired" or in other words weakened or damaged. The beauty is seen within her dark hair as it lightens her face. We can see that her mind or thoughts are calm, sweet, pure and dear expression. This shows the contrast of the darkness to the lightness of the woman's internal beauty. Not only does she have a beautiful complexion, but her soul is good as well.

The third stanza recounts the external beauty of the woman in the poem. The man describes the woman's facial features: cheek, brow, and smile, so soft, calm, and eloquent. Just as it's shown in the rest of the poem, the woman's beauty internally and externally is good, calm, pure and innocent.

Overall, within this 18 line lyrical poem, the speaker never reveals any love or infatuation with the woman, but as the reader we can see how he reflects on how beautiful she is. Revealing the unknown woman's beauty through the contrast of day and night/ light and dark, and the beauty of her inside and out. Her "heart whose love is innocent" concludes the poem with how strongly he feels of her pureness.

Updated: Apr 09, 2023
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An Interpretation of She Walks in Beauty, a Poem by George Gordon and Lord Byron. (2023, Apr 09). Retrieved from

An Interpretation of She Walks in Beauty, a Poem by George Gordon and Lord Byron essay
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