November 30, 2008

She Walks In Beauty

I am almost finished reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel. At just over a thousand pages, it has provided a thoroughly enjoyable read over the last few months, interrupted by a Hong Kong adventure that left me stuck reading another book for a while. Look for a review in the next few days.

One of the characters in the book is Lord Byron, the famous poet, who in his time was as well known for his scandalous exploits as his writing. During his lifetime, he won fame throughout Europe for his charming good looks, his controversial writing (exemplified by his unfinished Don Juan), his political career and involvement in the Greek war for independence, and his many bisexual love affairs, including rumors that he seduced his half-sister. Truly, the Lindsay Lohan of his time.

In keeping with the poem theme of beauty, here is his most famous poem, '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 the 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.
I will not try and provide any criticism. The poem speaks for itself more eloquently than anyone will ever be able to do so on its behalf.

But how cool is it to have a name like George Gordon, Lord Byron. Another poet with a similar name is Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I need to figure out how I can marry into a Lordship. It will definitely help my writing career.

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