Essay title: She Walks in Beauty
Lord Byron describes a night (associated with darkness) with bright stars (light) and compares this woman to that night. She brings together these opposites in her beauty and creates a "tender light." Not a light like the daytime, since he describes that as gaudy (showy in a vulgar way), but a light that "heaven" doesn't even honor the daytime with. Byron¡¯s diction in this poem is quite metaphorical. "She walks in beauty, like the night / Of cloudless climes and starry skies" (lines 1-2 ). His use of imagery has allowed us to visualize an atmosphere that surrounds this woman. The imagery he uses also brings together two opposing forces, darkness and light which works quite well together as one united force. We can visualize a dark sky filled bright stars, a perfect picture for an ideal evening, which can be compared to his picture of a perfect woman.
This woman, as well as the night, contains opposite features within her. "And all that¡¯ s best of dark and bright / Meet in her aspect and her eyes" (lines 3-4 ). The joining of these opposite forces can be associated with internal aspects of this woman. Although this poem begins with a description of a woman walking, there are not any images of her body. Byron continuously refers to her hair and face. These lines work well because they employ an enjambed line as well as a metrical substitution ¡ª a momentary change in the regular meter of the poem. When poets enjamb a line and use a metrical substitution at the beginning of the next line, they are calling attention to something that is a key to a poem. Here Byron substitutes a trochaic foot (an accented syllable followed by an unaccented one) for the iambic foot at the start of the fourth line. Why? Because he is putting particular emphasis on that word "meet." He is emphasizing that the unique feature of this woman is her ability to contain opposites within her; "the best of dark and bright / meet" in her. In the same way that enjambment forces lines together, and a metrical substitution jars the reader somewhat, this woman joins together darkness and light, an unlikely pair. They "meet" in her, and perhaps nowhere else besides a starry night. It's also important to note that the joining together can be seen in her "aspect," or appearance, but also in her "eyes." A reader might think of the eyes simply as a feature of beauty, but the eyes also have been associated in literature with the soul, or the internal aspect of the person: the eyes reveal the heart.
"One shade the more, one ray the less, / Had half impair¡¯ d the nameless grace / which waves in every raven tress, / Or softly lightens o¡¯ er her face;" (lines 7-10 ). Again, the combination of opposite forces, "shade" and "ray",.