She Walks In Beauty - Analysis

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She Walks In Beauty – Analysis

George Gordon Noel Byron’s poem titled, “She Walks In Beauty”, plainly put, is a love poem about a woman who the author encountered (his widowed cousin), and all of her stunning features. The poem follows a basic iambic tetrameter, with an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable, which synchronizes the rhythm throughout the poem. It can be found in the Hebrew Melodies, and it is found with other publications, which were completed in 1815.

This poem can be defined as a lyric poem because of its many characteristics. There are many lyric forms expressed in it – this type of poetry is usually short, and expresses the intense feelings and thoughts of the poet, as clearly shown throughout this poem. It consists of three six-line stanzas in which a description of a woman’s beauty is prominent. Its development shows the voice through which the poem is spoken.

The poem has a new rhyming set in each stanza, ababab, cdcdcd, efefef, matching almost perfectly the last syllables of each line. In the first stanza, the last syllables of the words “night”, “skies”, “bright”, “eyes”, “light” and “denies” have a perfect matching rhyme on their “ight” and “ies” endings. In the second stanza the words “less”, “grace”, “tress”, “face”, “express” and “place” also have a perfect rhyme on their last syllables, “ess” and “ace”. In the third and last stanza the words “brow”, “eloquent”, “glow”, “spent”, “below” and “innocent” show an almost perfect rhyme scheme.

On the other hand, the last stanza of the poem is an imperfect or slant rhyme, because of the slight imperfection in the syllables matching at the end. Keeping in mind that the meter is the count of the stressed felt in a poem’s rhythm, “She Walks In Beauty” shows four stresses on each line, which is commonly called a tetrameter. Because the four stressed syllables on each line are preceded by an unstressed syllable, the poem is iambic. By this, it is seen that the poem is written in an iambic tetrameter form.

The first line, “She walks in beauty like the night” contains a simile, which establishes the comparison explicitly with words “like” or “as”. In this case it is making the comparison of her beautifully walking with the night. There is also use of alliteration in lines two and five “of cloudless climes (climate) and starry skies”. Another poetic device that is used is internal rhyme. An example of this can be found in line thirteen and fifteen. It is seen clearly in the words “cheek” and “win”, and can be characterized as a slant rhyme because of the slight imperfection of sound in the middle of each line.

There is a lot of imagery in this poem. Clearly, “She Walks in Beauty” is a poem about the physical beauty of a woman. Byron visualized a great distinct physical image of her, and because of this spoke about her phenomenal attractiveness. One of her special qualities is the fact that she could be identified with heaven (the starry skies). She is described as being beautiful like the stars and clearly visible as a cloudless night. The way she walks, her harmonious movement, and her brightness lead the speaker to contrast her with the beauty of the night, which reflects her self control, steadiness and balance. This is clearly understood when Byron speaks of her image. Essentially, the poem is letting the reader know that imagery can reflect an emotion.

The tone of voice is of a man inspired by love, admiration and physical attraction. It is also romantic in the way in which he describes her beauty. We get the feeling that this woman is innocent, well balanced and has dignity and steadiness. We are also aware of her fragile being. As said in the previous paragraph, this reflects an emotion – it shows that being frail can show enchantment and great lure. Lastly, a reference is made to a heart whose love is innocent.

Perhaps Byron seeks his own innocence through her beauty. In line 17, “a mind at peace with all below” we see that the woman has accepted her husband’s death, and is at peace – she is ready for her period of mourning to be over, and can continue with her life. She was a good wife, and enjoyed her life with her husband, but is now ready to move on.

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