Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lord Byron - Poetry

I've heard of Lord Byron before (I believe that people sometimes refer to his time as the 'Byronic age') but before tonight, I couldn't have tied him to a single poem.  My fault of course.  As I've mentioned, I'm ignorant, too ignorant on poetry.  This poem is simply called '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 impair'd 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 the 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!

That opening line is a killer.  Serious advice to anyone reading this that wants to do some wooing, memorize that first stanza and look for an opening.  I have a vague memory that this poem was used for just that purpose in 'Dead Poet's Society'.
The poem works both in terms of style and message.  It reminds me of Shakespeare's love sonnets and that's about as high a praise as can be given.  An excellent poem.

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