She Walks in Beauty VS Sonnet 43

She Walks in Beauty VS Sonnet 43


  • Both use typical images to convey the sense of perfection that they see in the other person. Byron discusses 'her aspect and her eyes' which is often a feature focused on as eyes are usually viewed as the windows to the soul. Browning not only uses the sonnet format which is usually used to portray feelings of admiration, but also says 'I love thee with the breath, smiles and tears of all my life'. This last quote is a hyperbole and implies that her whole life is devoted to her husband
  • Religion is referred to in both poems: in Sonnet 43 it is in 'if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death' and 'for the ends of Being and ideal Grace'. In She Walks in Beauty, religion  mentioned through 'that tender light which Heaven to gaudy day denies'
  • Context: Elizabeth Barret-Browning and Lord Byron are both considered Romantic poets who share the core ideas about love and nature, as well as religion (Browning in particular may have been very pious)


  • Structure: Although both poets use structure to convey a sense of admiration of their love, they use different formats - for Browning it is the sonnet and for Byron it is almost perfect iambic tetrameter to echo how he views the lady
  • Context: Byron supposedly wrote the poem after seeing a lady for the first time at a party, and there are hints that she is mysterious through the language used to describe her - he uses the simile 'like the night' which is dark and unknown, and calls her 'nameless grace'. Browning wrote many sonnets for her husband and fellow poet Robert, who she knew well as they married (against her father's wishes)
  • Sonnet 43 is a list of reasons why the speaker has such intense love for her partner ('let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth breath and height my soul can reach') whereas She Walks in Beauty is much more focused on describing the woman and making inferences based on her appearance ('how pure, how dear their dwelling place' and 'a mind at peace')
  • Browning's love is more intense, as indicated through the references to 'soul' (pure, immortal and spiritual) and 'I love thee (...) when feeling out of sight' - this last quote links to the idea that she seeks guidance from her husband and is therefore close to him, and loves him when they are apart. Byron, however, shows a more superficial love because he only describes her appearance - 'and on that cheek and o'er that brow'

Overall comparison




This is very useful thanks :D