Comparing The Themes Of Love In Lord Byron's “She Walks In Beauty” And Keats' Poem, “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”

947 words - 4 pages

There are many different themes that can be used to make a poem both successful and memorable. Such is that of the universal theme of love. This theme can be developed throughout a poem through an authors use of form and content. “She Walks in Beauty,” by George Gordon, Lord Byron, is a poem that contains an intriguing form with captivating content. Lord Byron, a nineteenth-century poet, writes this poem through the use of similes and metaphors to describe a beautiful woman. His patterns and rhyme scheme enthrall the reader into the poem. Another poem with the theme of love is John Keats' “La Belle Dame sans Merci,” meaning “the beautiful lady without mercy.” Keats, another nineteenth-century writer, uses progression and compelling language throughout this poem to engage the reader. While both of these poems revolve around the theme of love, they are incongruous to each other in many ways.
While Lord Byron's poem enhances the beauty of love, Keats' does the opposite by showing the detriments of love. In “She Walks in Beauty,” the speaker asides about a beautiful angel with “a heart whose love is innocent” (3, 6). The first two lines in the first stanza portray a defining image:
“She walks in Beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;”

These lines may seem confusing if not read properly. At first look, these might not make sense because the night is acquainted with darkness, but when the lines are read together as intended, one can see that the night is “cloudless” and filled with “starry skies” (1, 1-2). The remaining lines of the first stanza tell the reader that the woman's face and eyes combine all the greatness of dark and light:
“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.”
This stanza shows that everything this woman is and what she sees is beautiful. The last line compares the maiden to Heaven because they both deny bad days.
The second stanza of Lord Byron's poem focuses on the woman's perfect face. The beautiful shades and rays of the womans complexion make her a “nameless grace” (2, 2). This conveys the idea that her inner beauty is reflected in her outer beauty in the sense that she is pure and innocent on the inside so she radiates that beauty on the outside. This stanza reveals her serene thoughts:
“Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.”
The “dwelling-place” is her pure mind. This maiden can be called an “innocent love” because Lord Byron's use of words propose that she may have never been in love, so she does not know about it.
The last stanza in this poem considers the woman's...

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