How does the poet describe the lady's beauty in “She Walks in Beauty”?

In “She Walks in Beauty,” the poet describes the lady’s beauty as both physical and a deeper kind of spiritual loveliness. Both her physical and spiritual beauty is dark and bright, like a cloudless night sky. The light she exudes is “calm” and “soft” rather than “gaudy” like the daytime.

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The speaker of the poem describes the lady’s beauty as a sort of meeting or combination of contrasts. He describes both her outward, physical beauty, as well as her inner, spiritual beauty, the beauty of her soul and character.

Both her physical and spiritual beauty is dark as well as bright, like the “night / Of cloudless climes and starry skies.” He refers to her “raven” hair and describes her as possessing the “tender light” of the stars shining in the night sky, more “mellow” than the “gaudy” brightness of the garish daytime light. She is, it seems, too peaceful and tranquil to be compared to the day. He says that were she “one shade the more, one ray the less”—in other words, if even the slightest bit darker or the tiniest bit brighter—the overall effect of her beauty would be lessened and her “nameless grace” marred by the seemingly minute change.

Further, the speaker describes the lady’s thoughts as “serenely sweet” and the lady herself, or where her thoughts reside, as “dear” and “pure.” Her face, he says, shows how “soft” and “calm” she is, and her smiles and blushes convey her “goodness” as well as the “peace” of her mind and “innocen[ce]” of her heart. Thus, he describes two different kinds of beauty: both physical and spiritual, the outer and inner.

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