“She Walks in Beauty” was written by Lord Byron in 1814.
Recently, my older daughter, an English major, wrote an answer to “She Walks In Beauty.” It is going to be published in her college campus’s literary magazine.
Both poems follow.
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!
She Walks in Restriction
“She walks,” but with such constraints,
And so many restrictions on her sex,
How can she get anywhere?
Oh, maiden so “mellow” and “tender,”
Would he call you so beautiful, I wonder,
If you stood up for yourself?
You with your perfect hair, and “nameless grace,”
Would you be so highly praised
If your face was for a moment not serene?
And if your thoughts did not stay in their “dear dwelling place,”
If they came out and revealed themselves,
Would the distinguished Lord Byron still sing your praise?
If “soft” became firm, and “calm” become strong,
And your eloquence spoke for your rights,
Would he still think your smile so winning?
And if your definition of “goodness” differed from his,
And your mind was stirring with revolution,
Would he praise your heart of passion?