Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Poetry Corner: George Gordon, Lord Byron

The Navajos had the idea first, but Byron expresses it well.

Somewhere around chapter 30 or 32 of the Wizards, Sarah gets a makeover – not heavy-duty, but essentially polishing her already good looks. She shows up in a very sleek, midnight blue evening dress. Pierre, romantic that he is, immediately thinks of this poem – he is very much like Byron in many ways. There is a lot going on here, the beauty of darkness when balanced with the light in the darkness, and also the beauty of not being corrupted by the material world.

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.


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