Lord Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty”

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In Beauty
Jan 15th, 2014
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Lord Byron’s opening couplet to “She Walks In Beauty” is among the most memorable and most quoted lines in romantic poetry. The opening lines are effortless, graceful, and beautiful, a fitting match for his poem about a woman who possesses effortless grace and beauty.

Life in England

Lord Byron was born George Gordon Noel Byron in London in 1788. He became a Lord in 1798 when he inherited the title and the estate of his great-uncle. Byron’s mother had taken him to Scotland for treatment for his club foot, but she brought him back to England to claim the title and the estate.

Byron was privately tutored in Nottingham for a short period. He then studied in Harrow, Southwell, and Newstead, and finally at Trinity College. Byron discovered a talent for writing poetry and published some early poems in 1806 and his first collection, called Hours of Idleness, in 1807 at the age of 19. When he turned age 21 he was able to take his seat in the House of Lords.

However, Lord Byron left England for two years with his friend, John Hobhouse, to travel through Europe. They toured Spain, Malta, Greece, and Constantinople. Greece especially impressed Byron and would create a recurring theme in his life.

After returning to England Lord Byron made his first speech to the House of Lords. Later that year he published a “poetic travelogue” titled, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, a respectable collection of verses about his recent travels in Europe. The collection earned Lord Byron lasting fame and admiration. Lord Byron had become a ladies’ man and the newly earned celebrity brought him a series of affairs and courtships.

Lord Byron married Anna Isabella Milbanke in 1815 and his daughter, Augusta, was born later that year. However, the marriage did not last long. In early 1816 Anna and Augusta left Lord Byron and later that year he filed for legal separation and left England for Switzerland, a self-imposed exile.

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