Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty”

NPG D3273; Anne Wilmot-Horton (nÈe Horton) by Walker & Boutall“She Walks in Beauty” is one of Byron’s most famous poems. It was published in 1815 as a part of his volume Hebrew Melodies. The poem was inspired by a real incident in Byron’s life. At a party, Byron saw his first cousin’s wife, Anne Beatrix Wilmot, and was amazed at her beauty. She was dressed in black with the spangles since she was in mourning. He wrote the poem in her honor.

She Walks in Beauty

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 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.

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!

Tomorrow, This Writer’s Pen. Rita Bay

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