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Can you tell me what the first two lines mean in the poem "She Walks in Beauty"?George...

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mrjake38 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 4, 2011 at 6:17 AM via web

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Can you tell me what the first two lines mean in the poem "She Walks in Beauty"?

George Lord Byron's "She Walks in Beauty"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 4, 2011 at 8:56 AM (Answer #1)

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Lord Byron's poem "She Walks in Beauty" is a beautifully lyric poem in praise of a woman that history holds was a cousin of his, Anne Wilmot.  Supposedly, attired in a black dress with spangles, she inspired his Romantic perception of beauty as a mixing of lights and darks.  And, rather than possessing beauty herself as filled with it, the woman is possessed, or graced, by beauty.  This dynamic notion is expressed in the first two lines which are actually one enjambed line, a line that runs over into the next with no punctuation:

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

In these first two lines there is the union of light and dark; further, the night of a lightened sky that has stars and is cloudless creates a duality to the woman as opposites join in her.  This duality is one that later in the poem appears to be the duality of mind and body.

 

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