The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Hebrew Melodies/She walks in Beauty
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!
June 12, 1814
- [In a manuscript note to a letter of Byron's, dated June 11, 1814, Wedderburn Webster writes, "I did take him to Lady Sitwell's party.... He there for the first time saw his cousin, the beautiful Mrs. Wilmot [who had appeared in mourning with numerous spangles in her dress]. When we returned to... the Albany, he... desired Fletcher to give him a tumbler of brandy, which he drank at once to Mrs. Wilmot's health.... The next day he wrote some charming lines upon her, 'She walks in beauty,' etc."—Letters', 1899, iii. 92, note 1. Anne Beatrix, daughter and co-heiress of Eusebius Horton, of Catton Hall, Derbyshire, married Byron's second cousin, Robert John Wilmot (1784-1841), son of Sir Robert Wilmot of Osmaston, by Juliana, second daughter of the Hon. John Byron, and widow of the Hon. William Byron. She died February 4, 1871. Nathan (Fugitive Pieces, 1829, pp. 2, 3) has a note to the effect that Byron, while arranging the first edition of the Melodies, used to ask for this song, and would not unfrequently join in its execution.]