George Gordon Byron
1788 / 1824
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.
Ella incede in bellezza, come la notte
di climi tersi e di cieli stellati;
E tutto il meglio del buio e della luce
s’incontra nel suo viso e nei suoi occhi:
Così addolciti da quel tenero bagliore
che il cielo nega al giorno fatto.
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.
Un’ombra in più, un raggio in meno,
avrebbero turbato la grazia indicibile
che ondeggia in ogni ricciolo corvino,
O dolcemente schiarisce sul suo viso;
dove pensieri serenamente dolci mostrano
quanto pura, quanto cara sia la loro dimora.
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,
E su quella guancia, e su quella fronte,
così dolce, così calma, eppure eloquente,
i sorrisi che incantano, i colori che brillano,
e raccontano di giorni spesi nella bontà,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
Una mente in pace con il mondo,
Un cuore colmo di amore innocente!
It is said to have been inspired by an event in Byron's life. On 11 June 1814, Byron attended a party in London. Among the guests was Mrs. Anne Beatrix Wilmot, wife of Byron’s first cousin, Sir Robert Wilmot. He was struck by her unusual beauty, and the next morning the poem was written.
It is thought that she was the first inspiration for his unfinished epic poem about Goethe, a personal hero of his. In this unpublished work, which Byron referred to in his letters as his magnum opus, he switches the gender of Goethe and gives him the same description of his cousin