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1   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;

5   Thus mellowed to the tender light
     Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
      She walks in beauty--like the night
      Of cloudless climes and starry skies,


One ray the more, one shade the less
10   Had half impaired 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.
15    She walks in beauty--like the night
       Of cloudless climes and starry skies,

       And on that cheek and o'er that brow
       So soft, so calm yet eloquent,
       The smiles that win, the tints that glow

20    But tell of days in goodness spent
       A mind at peace with all below,
       A heart whose love is innocent.
       She walks in beauty--like the night
       Of cloudless climes and starry skies,





George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824) was an Anglo-Scottish poet and a leading figure in Romanticism. Among Lord Byron's best-known works are the narrative poems Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and Don Juan. The latter remained incomplete on his death. He was regarded as one of the greatest European poets and remains widely read.

Lord Byron's fame rests not only on his writings but also on his life, which featured extravagant living, numerous love affairs, debts, separation, and allegations of incest and sodomy. He was famously described by Lady Caroline Lamb as "mad, bad, and dangerous to know." Byron served as a regional leader of Italy's revolutionary organization the Carbonari in its struggle against Austria, and later travelled to fight against the Turks in the Greek War of Independence, for which the Greeks consider him a national hero. He died from a febrile illness in Messolonghi.


She Walks in Beauty is a poem written in 1814 by Lord Byron. It was the first of several poems to be set to Jewish tunes from the synagogue by Isaac Nathan, which was published as Hebrew Melodies in 1815.

Byron is said to have written the poem after meeting his cousin Lady Anne Wilmot Horton in black mourning clothes, which, when combined with her pale skin and “raven tresses”, reminded him of stars and the night. The poem claims this lovely outer appearance as a sign of her inner beauty and purity. This was a popular theme of Renaissance and Medieval poetry.

This poem is not necessarily a love poem, but more of a celebration of the subject’s beauty. Some critics have said that the author fell passionately in love with his cousin and wrote this poem for her but no where in the poem does it mention or allude to love. He is merely commenting on her beauty.

However, this poem is in no discernible “greater” rhyming structure, but every other line does rhyme. It focuses on enjambment to make its point.

The poem was written shortly before Lord Byron’s marriage to Anna Milbanke and published shortly after the marriage.


Byron was most notorious for his love affairs within his family and with Mediterranean boys. Since he had problems such as incest and homosexuality, he did not mind writing about his love for his cousin in the poem ‘She walks in Beauty’. He wrote the poem after he left his wife an England forever. Byron’s influences on European poetry, music, novels, operas, and paintings have been immense, although the poet was widely condemned on moral grounds by his contemporaries (Dick, 54). Lord Byron was an English Romantic poet and satirist whose poetry and personality captured the imagination of Europe.




There is an assonance rhyme in all the poem, in the first stanza the rime words ‘night, skies, bright, eyes....’ so the whole stanza rimes ‘ababab’, the same occurs in the second and third stanzas ‘less, tress, express,... grace, face, place’, ‘brow, glow, below... eloquent, spent, innocent’. The poem also has a refrain that appears at the end of each stanza, it is the two first verses ‘she walks in beauty—like the night / of cloudless climes and starry skies’, that make the poem like a song or something like that, and remind the reader the climax or the theme of the whole poem, which is the perfect beauty for the author’s point of view.

The power of emotion is evident in Lord Byron’s poems. It can be possible that light can be emitted through the darkness of night.

The woman who appears in the poem is a female who the author encountered. This encounter leads him to visualize a great distinct physical image of her so he began to speak of this phenomenal attractiveness. A special quality in her was being able to be identified with the heaven. Beautiful like the stars and clearly visible such as cloudless night.

The poem speaks through the usage of imagery; it is rhythmic with meaningful tones. Especially the female in this poem is evaluated in terms of the physical world.

Byron’s diction in this poem is quite metaphorical. “She walks in beauty, like the night / Of cloudless climes and starry skies” (lines 1.2). His use of imagery has allowed us to visualize an atmosphere or environment that surrounds this woman (his cousin). The imagery he uses also brings together tow opposing things, darkness and light which works well together as one united thing. We can visualize a dark sky filled bright stars, a perfect picture for an ideal evening that can be compared to his picture or image of a perfect woman. This woman, like the night, has opposite features within her both internal and external “all that’s best of dark and bright / meet in her aspect and her eyes” (lines 3-4).

As I have already mentioned before, the woman combines opposites in perfect proportions in her looks and in her personality. Whether it is a true declaration of love or a statement of admiration of her perfect beauty and kindness is left to the reader, since it has known that this poem was about an specific and real woman, Mrs. Wilmot (Byron’s cousin), and that fact makes the poem real and closer to the reader, moreover it can impress us more than other poems.

The poem opens with a line that does not have punctuation (enjambment); it runs over to the next. Not only has this but the next line had a different kind of meter. Poets use this mechanism together with enjambment to attract attention to certain words. In the forth line, the word ‘meet’ is emphasized. It is an important word in the poem because it is the premise of the entire poem. Just as enjambment and a change in meter are joined as mechanism in this poem, the unlikely pair of darkness and light meet in this woman. As we will see darkness and light within the beauty will be present throughout the poem.

The author describes a night, associated of course with darkness, with bright stars, they are the light, and he compares this woman to that night. She brings together these opposites in her beauty and creates a “tender light” (line 5). Not a light like the daytime, since he describes that as gaudy, but a light that “heaven” does not even honour the daytime with.  Byron describes light and dark in lots of elements of her appearance as in: “tender light, one ray, one shade, raven stress, softly lightens o’er her face....”

Maybe darkness and lightness would not be in the right proportions “one ray the more, one shade the less” (line 9), so her beauty would not be completely ruined as you might expect. He says that she would only be “half impaired” (line 10), and thus still half magnificent, half perfect.

So the first stanza describes her aspect, at the first sight, especially the face. The second stanza describes the whole person, her appearance, saying that she is so beauty nearly perfect, but not the perfection because she is a human being. And the third stanza talks about the beauty of her personality, her impact on the poet’s eyes and mind.

The author makes use of alliteration, the repeating of the first letter of a word to get an easy-reading effect, as we can see in “of cloudless climes and starry skies”.

In the last stanza we can see the author mentions the physical beauty and the personality of this woman. Her thoughts are serene and sweet; she is pure and dear. Her soft, calm glow reflects a life of peace and goodness. This is a repetition, an emphasis, of the theme that the lady’s physical beauty is a reflection of her inner beauty.



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Botticelli’s Venus can help us to understand the poem. It’s clear from the title of the painting that it represents the birth of the goddess Venus. We notice that Venus, in the center of the painting, is full of bright and light, and she is surrounding by the nature, the angels; and colours are clearer in her and lighter than in the other characters on the painting. So, as Byron’s woman and Botticelli’s one, they are both describing the beauty of a woman, the near perfection in beauty, and also they used the opposites of darkness and light in their works.

The tenderness that this Venus inspires us like the woman in Byron’s poem, we can imagine that his cousin could be like the ‘glorify Venus’.



I admire the skill of Byron to create poems like this one. I have not read anything written by him before, and I think he achieved the way to describe beauty in this poem. The poem is not long or difficult to read and understand, but even so, it is so tender, pure … and it has the power to make the reader imagines how beauty was this woman, and how perfect was the moment he encountered her.

The power of this poem can be synthesize by the very beginning of it “she walks in beauty like the night, with cloudless climes and starry skies”, because since these lines you can imagine how intense, clear and perfect is going to be this poem.

To conclude, I recommend everybody to read it and enjoy with the solemn and lovely lines of Byron’s poems.

Interesting information:

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Bibliography and sources:

·         Poetas Romanticos Ingleses: Byron, Shelley, Keats, Coleridge, Wordsworth. By Jose María Valverde & Leopoldo Panero.

·         Romantic Writings by Stephen Bygrave







·         Romanticism: a critical reader by Duncan Wu.

·         English romantic poets. Modern essays in criticism. By M. H. Abrams.