She Walks in Beauty
"She Walks in Beauty" is a poem written in 1813 by Lord Byron, and is one of his most famous works. It was one of several poems to be set to Jewish tunes from the synagogue by Isaac Nathan, which were published as Hebrew Melodies in 1815.
It is said to have been inspired by an event in Byron’s life; while at a ball, Byron met Mrs. John Wilmot, his cousin by marriage. She was in mourning, wearing a black dress set with spangles, as in the opening lines;
|“||She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies
He was struck by her unusual beauty, and the next morning the poem was written.
The first two verses are cited in the novel The Philadelphian by Richard P. Powell. Nathan, in his reminiscences of Byron, suggests (without any justification) that the subject of the poem may have been Byron's half-sister, Augusta Leigh.
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- Kelly, David." Critical Essay on ‘She Walks in Beauty’." Poetry for Students. Ed. Anne Marie Hacht.Vol.14.Detroit:Gale Group,2002.Literary Resource Center.Web.24 Sept. 2010.
- Cummings, Michael J. (2008) "Byron's She Walks in Beauty" at Cummings Study Guides. Accessed 10 July 2014
- The complete works of Lord Byron, A. and W. Galignani, 1841, p. 254
Recordings of the songs included in the Hebrew Melodies publication of 1815 can be heard at http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/douglass/music/album-hebrew.html