George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (1788 – 1824), known simply as Lord Byron, was an English poet, peer and politician who became a revolutionary in the Greek War of Independence, and is considered one of the leading figures of the Romantic movement.
He is regarded as one of the greatest English poets and remains widely read and influential.
Byron is considered to be the first modern-style celebrity.
His image as the personification of the Byronic hero fascinated the public, and his wife Annabella coined the term „Byromania“ to refer to the commotion surrounding him.
His self-awareness and personal promotion are seen as a beginning to what would become the modern rock star; he would instruct artists painting portraits of him not to paint him with pen or book in hand, but as a „man of action.“
While Byron first welcomed fame, he later turned from it by going into voluntary exile from Britain.
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!
„She Walks in Beauty“ is a short lyrical poem in iambic tetrameter written in 1814 by Lord Byron, and is one of his most famous works.
It is said to have been inspired by an event in Byron‘s life. On 11 June 1814, Byron attended a party in London. Among the guests was Mrs. Anne Beatrix Wilmot, wife of Byron’s first cousin, Sir Robert Wilmot.
He was struck by her unusual beauty, and the next morning the poem was written.
It is thought that she was the first inspiration for his unfinished epic poem about Goethe, a personal hero of his.
In this unpublished work, which Byron referred to in his letters as his magnum opus, he switches the gender of Goethe and gives him the same description of his cousin.
The poem has inspired various composers over time. The first line of British rock band Suede‘s song „Heroine“ is „She walks in beauty, like the night“.
The British musical ensemble, Mediaeval Baebes, sing the complete poem on their 2018 album, “Victoriana”.
Kriistal Ann also has an amazing version of the poem: