Thursday, October 27, 2005

She Walks in Beauty

by George Gordon, Lord Byron

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 mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd 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!

* * *

This poem always brings to mind the faces of some of my most beautiful friends. I greatly admire black hair and light skin. It reminds me of Gondor -- and the Noldor. I can never quite decide which is better: black hair and light skin, with grey eyes; or chestnut hair and brown eyes. I envy people with each.

The important thing about the lady's beauty, though, is not her physical traits, but her heart. A true, innocent soul always lends a sort of beauty to the face it wears. I used to object to the phrase, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" on the grounds that some beautiful people are bad, and some good people are ugly. But this is not true. Even perfectly-featured people, if they are bad, have a sad and empty look in their eyes. And the faces of good people, however asymetrical and marked with so-called flaws, have smiles and sparkling eyes that make them strikingly beautiful. That is the sort of beauty I aspire to: a beauty that cannot be corrupted by age, illness, or injury, but that will always be mine, and will lead me to behold true beauty in heaven.

"Give back beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God." -- Hopkins


Charlemagne said...

Are you trying to tell me something here? ;)

Santiago said...

Don't flatter yourself, Mr. Charlemagne!

Charlemagne said...

When I was emperor of Rome, some 1200 years ago, I was one of the most admired men of my day, having four wives in quick succession. I know a thing or two about love, my friend.

Santiago said...

quite a few MISTRESSES too, don't forget that... Konrad Adenauer, on the other hand, soon to be Blessed, was loyal to his wife...

Santiago said...

oh, and "emperor of Rome", HAHAHAHA! Very funny, Mr. Charle-not so much-magne.

Charlemagne said...

Hast thou dared to laugh at Our Royal Person?

Santiago said...

I mock thy "royal" person with the populist spirit of St Jacques Maritain.

Sheila said...

Charlemagne, I think you've found a kindred spirit.

Now, can you remind me who Jacques Maritain is? He isn't really a saint, I'm guessing . . .

Santiago said...

*kindred*? If Mr Charlemagne is in real life anything like he is in his blog posts, I should then take that as a put down... J/k ;)

Actually, I can imagine a great deal of intellectual sparring and gesticulating...

Jacques Maritain was a French Catholic philosopher and yes, he was a saint, just ask Pope Paul VI, his translator.

Sheila said...

I meant it as a put-down to Charlemagne. ;)

But really, you two are a lot alike. Two of you in one room might be a little much, but it would be fun to see.

Andreth said...


Santiago said...

Hmm, considering you don't know me, madame, with all do respect, I withhold judgment on your saying that I am like your friend Mr. Charlemagne. But if I am ever visiting Christendom I will be sure to look you guys up and I will engage Mr. C on monarchism and its discontents. ;)

Sheila said...

Do. It would be, at the very least, quite entertaining.

White Phantom said...

Kindred spirits, Sheila? Hmmm. . . I can't say that you're helping yourself very much here. :D

Sheila said...

I'm just giving Charlemagne a hard time. Somebody's got to do it. Anyway, it's his birthday today. One ought to make fun of him.