In this installment, Bill Berkson reads “She walks in Beauty" by George Gordon, Lord Byron. Berkson is a poet, art critic, and professor of Liberal Arts at the San Francisco Art Institute. His books of poetry include Serenade, Fugue State, a collection of his 1960s collaborations with Frank O'Hara entitled Hymns of St. Bridget & Other Writings, and Gloria (with etchings by Alex Katz). The Sweet Singer of Modernism & Other Art Writings, a selection of his criticism, appeared from Qua Books in 2004.
George Gordon, Lord Byron "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 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!