Happy Memorial Day! Here, have a lovely poem by Lord Byron

Lord Byron is one of those poets everyone knows just a little bit about, but usually not enough to really get to know his work. So when I went to this used bookstore last month, I bought this very, very old collection of his poetry to get more acquainted with Byron. These are my favorite kinds of books: the ones that have seen fifty, seventy-five, one hundred years of being read by dozens of different people. Pages brown and peeling, with the spine only hanging on by a thread! They’re always so beautiful to me. This one wasn’t worth anything (I bought it for $6.50) but the charm is how old it is. The gold lettering on the front is my favorite part: IMG_0830

So, in honor of the rowdy Lord Byron, here’s one of his more popular poems, “She Walks In Beauty,” the first line of which I once saw printed on stickers around the city (it was really cool). Such a beautiful poem written by such a rakish fellow, the world’s first “rock star,” so to speak!

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!