Tuesday, May 9, 2006

She Walks In Beauty

I don't have much time to make a blog post today, so I thought I would post one of my favourite poems. I sometimes feel guilty that I haven't written more about Byron (George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, to be precise) in this blog. For those of you who don't know, A Shroud of Thoughts takes its title from a line in one of his poems, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage canto iii stanza 113. Regardless, he has always been one of my favourite poets and "She Walks in Beauty" has always been one of my favourite poems.

Bryon is said to have written "She Walks in Beauty" after encountering his cousin, Lady Anne Wilmot Horton, while she was in mourning. The appearance of his cousin in dark clothes combined with her pale skin reminded him of the night sky. The poem resembles those from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period in that it extols the lady's outer beauty as a sign of her purity and inner beauty. Anyhow, here it is...

"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 mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd 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!

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