She Walks in Beauty VS Sonnet 43

Lord Byron's 'She Walks in Beauty' and Elizabeth Barret-Browning's 'Sonnet 43' or 'How Do I Love Thee?' both share the common theme of love and relationships

She Walks in Beauty VS Sonnet 43

Similarities

  • Context - Both Byron and Browning are recognised Romantic poets from the 1800s, and both poems have religious references - Sonnet 43: 'to the ends of Being and ideal Grace' or 'if God choose'; She Walks in Beauty: 'heaven to gaudy day denies'
  • Purity - Browning uses the idea of her 'soul' (eternal, pure) for her love and 'childhood's faith' (innocence) to show the purity of her love. Byron also uses the idea of purity, this time in describing the woman - 'heaven to gaudy day denies' and 'how pure, how dear their dwelling place'
  • Use of Rhyme - Both poems use rhyme - Browning uses rhyme and half-rhyme, fitting with the sonnet structure to convey feelings of love. Byron uses regular rhyme scheme to show his appreciation of the woman's beauty and near perfection

Differences

  • Context - Although they present a fairly conventional view of love, Browning writes to her husband Robert (someone she knows well) whereas Byron writes about a stranger at a party in 1814
  • Byron focuses on the lady's appearance ('and on that cheek and o'er that brow') and makes inferences on her personality ('thoughts serenely sweet express, how pure, how dear their dwelling place') whereas Browning discusses a deeper love and doesn't talk about appearance, 'I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears of all my life'
  • Structure - Browning uses the typical format of a sonnet to convey feelings of affection, unlike Byron. He uses an almost perfect iambic tetrameter to show the near perfection of the woman and a regular rhythm to mimic her walk

Overall comparison

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