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  George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

              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 mellowed 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!


Lord Byron was the 6th Baron Byron. The above poem was written in response to seeing his cousin, Lady Wilmot Horton, in a mourning dress at a party of Lady Sitwell's on June 11, 1814. The poem was written by the next morning. It was published in Hebrew Melodies in 1815.

The poem can be found, for example, in:

  • Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron. Byron's Poetry: Authoritative Texts, Letters and Journals, criticism, images of Byron. Frank D. McConnell, ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1978.
  • Harmon, William, ed. The Classic Hundred Poems (Second Edition). New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.