“She Walks in Beauty” by Lord Byron was written in 1815. In the poem Byron describes a woman and her feminine features. He compares these features to naturally occurring beauty found in the environment. Byron uses the juxtaposition of light and dark, simile, rhyme, and alliteration in this poem. Alliteration is found in several lines of this poem. In line 2, Byron writes “cloudless climes and starry skies”.
This is alliteration of the “c” and “s” sounds. “Had half” (Line 8), “Which waves” (Line 9), “serenely sweet” (Line 11), and “dear their dwelling-place” (Line12) are all example of alliteration in “She Walks in Beauty”.
Simile is another literary device that Lord Byron uses in this poem. Lord Byron writes “She walks in beauty, like the night / Of cloudless climes and starry skies;” (Line 1). He compares the woman’s physical features to a starry sky at night. This poem is considered a lyrical poem because of the rhyme and meter.
The rhyme scheme of this poem is ABAB. The end word of every other line rhymes. For example, in the last stanza, Bryon writes 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!
(Lines 15-18) The last word on line 15, “glow”, rhymes with the last word on line 17, “below”. The same is true with lines 16 and 18. “She Walks in Beauty” has a very strong iambic tetrameter. This means that an unaccented syllable is followed by an accented syllable. “She walks | in beau | ty like | the night” (Line 1), is a good example of the iambic tetrameter. Bryon uses the juxtaposition of light and dark images several times in the poem. In line 3, Byron places the words “dark and bright” together. This creates a contrast of two opposing images in the reader’s mind.
Bryon contrasts light, “one ray”, and dark, “One shade the more” in Line 7. Lord Byron uses these literary devices to create the theme of internal and external female beauty from a male perspective. This relates to the general theme of appearance versus reality because inner and outer beauty is often mutually exclusive.
A person may appear to be beautiful from the outside and in reality is a bad person. The reverse can also be true. A person with little outer beauty can have an inner radiance very few people are able to see or experience. Byron wrote this poem to memorialize the perfect woman in words.
His idolized woman it the perfect combination of “smiles that win” (Line 15) and “A heart that is innocent” (Line 18). The general mood of this poem creates is one of observation, respect, and adoration.
Byron describes not just a woman’s outer beauty but her inner eloquence. “She Walks in Beauty” is the quintessential lyrical poem of the early 1800s and remains today one of Byron’s most loved and studied piece of poetry. The meaning in “She Walks in Beauty” and Byron’s skill as a poet is undeniable to any audience and has withstood the test of time.
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