Critically explain the second stanza of "When We Two Parted" by Byron. Critically explain the second stanza.

Expert Answers
amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The second stanza uses the rhyme scheme ababcdcd, a simple and straightforward rhythm and meter. There is no real indication of who the speaker is and there's really no clue as to the sex of either the speaker or his beloved. But it is usually agreed that this is autobiographical and represents Byron's sadness over the end of his affair with Frances Webster. Carrying over from the first stanza, the speaker feels that coldness he felt when they parted. The coldness symbolizes a physical feeling of being drained, like a lack of blood flow which is indicative of lifelessness and a lack of passion. In the next four lines, he speaks to her. The vows she's broken could refer to the unfulfilled promises she had made to the speaker. It also could refer to the vows she broke with other men. Her fame is light, meaning that her scandalous affair with him (or others) has been kept secret and therefore she is still looked upon publicly in a good light. When he hears her name, he feels his and her shame.