A literary analysis of “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 mellowed 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!

She walks in beauty written by Lord Byron is one of the great poem published in 1815. The poem tackles on how a speaker captivated and enchanted by a very charming woman who possess both outer and inner beauty. Lord Byron gives a critical message to the readers that perfect beauty is the combination of outward looks as well as inner beauty. According to him, the lady is blessed with attractive looks and also possesses a physical and spiritual harmony. Her innocent and pure thoughts further illuminate her beauty.  It is through her graceful walk and pleasant face.

Literary devices were present in the poem in which it serves as tools the writer uses to make their poetic pieces not only powerful descriptions but also strong compositions. Byron has also given this poem depth and clarity with appropriate use of these literary devices. Some of the devices which use to analyze the poem: Simile  is a device used to compare two different objects to understand meanings by comparing these object’s qualities. There is one simile used in the opening line of the poem, “She walks in beauty, like the night.” Lord Byron compares the walk of that lady with a dark and clear night which also means that her footsteps are not heard. Metaphor in which there are two metaphors in the poem, in lines eleven and twelve. “Where thoughts serenely sweet express / How pure how dear their dwelling place.” Here the poet compares thoughts with people and “dwelling place” with the mind. Similarly, “Raven Trees” represents the dark hair of the lady that adds further to her beauty. Personification is the attribute to human qualities to animals or inanimate objects. The poet has personified “dwelling place” with the human He also personifies the lady’s “cheek” and “brow” with persons as if they can speak about the good days. Imagery is used to make readers feel things through their five senses along with their Byron has used images appealing to the sense of sight such as, “night”; “starry sky”; “cloudless climes”; “cheek” and “brow.” These images speak for themselves and allow the readers to feel the same beauty that has delighted the poet. Sibilance is a device used to stress consonant sounds through their fricative and affricative types coming after each other. The letter “s” is permanent in lines eleven and second that creates a special effect. Check the /s/ sound in these four lines. And lastly, assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /a/ in “Had half impaired the nameless grace” and sound of /e/ in “where thoughts serenely sweet express.”

Poetic and literary devices share similar attributes, but a few of them are exclusively used in poetry. The analysis of some of the poetic devices is stated below.

  • Stanza: A stanza is the poetic form of some lines. In this poem, there are three stanzas with six lines in each.
  • Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows ABABAB in the first six lines. In the second stanza it is CDCDCD, and in the last stanza, the rhyme scheme is EFEFEF.
  • Iambic Tetrameter: The poem follows Iambic Tetrameter which means there are four feet per line or each unstressed syllable is followed by a stressed syllable as in the first line of this poem “She walks in beauty, like the”

The analysis shows that this simple romantic poem has a deceptive attraction to catch the attention of the readers because of iambic tetrameter that is mostly not used in lyric poems. Moreover, the poetic devices have helped the poet paint the perfect harmony of the outer and inner beauty of the lady.

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