Shakespeare`s Poems Time has seen an infinite amount of beauty in its long existence. Nature has produced so many wonderful scenes and objects that we cannot collect it all even in one life. We ourselves are keepers of such beauty and intrigue that poets and other writers have captured our essence in prose. Whether its beauty that is skin deep or the beauty of a face that makes you look twice, what attracts us is not always what attracts your neighbor. Shakespeares, “My Mistress Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun,” and Lord Byrons, “She Walks in Beauty,” are the epitome of what men and women long for.
Although different in their interpretations of beauty, they hold true to the meaning of beauty, and the meaning of love. In Shakespeares “My Mistress Eyes are Nothing like the Sun,” beauty is definitely only skin deep. Shakespeares description of his love is an abomination to the quintessential woman every man lusts for. He describes her as having, “black wires grow on her head” (Mistress line 4), instead of the beautiful, long black hair that most men would die for. Shakespeare also states, “I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath far a more pleasing sound” (Mistress line 9-10). The subject in this sonnet is well beyond grotesque, and her voice is to be thought as a plague on the ears. However, what she has to say to him and the way she says, “I Love You” is like music in Shakespeares ears and his heart.
No matter how unattractive she is to him or to anyone else, only he knows her true beauty, and that lies deep inside her. Beauty is not just a word, nor is it just an appearance to Shakespeare in this sonnet. Beauty is something that has already been achieved by someone who is looking desperately to find it – that someone being the woman. She seems like someone who Shakespeare is quite close to and not just some tramp he pulled off the street. To be able to write about someone in this way, one would have to know the inner thoughts and feelings of that someone.
Shakespeare, although in an odd fashion, poured her emotions, as well as his own, into this paradoxical description of what love should be. To Shakespeare, what you see is not always what you want, but what you know could be all you ever hoped for. One of the most beautiful love poems ever written, “She Walks in Beauty,” is a drawn out description of beauty and the love of such beauty. Lord Byron describes this angelic creature as innocent, decisive, and perfect in every way, shape and form. He does not say, however, that he loves her.
If there is any hint of love at all, it is for her outside appearance to the world. This could have been a gentle stranger he saw sitting in a tavern, or just someone he had made up. At any rate, Lord Byrons depiction of this mysterious woman is one of great admiration and lust. The reader does not learn any more of her, nothing about her personality or her wit. Byron tends to skip these rather skeptical details perhaps because she was a horrible person. She may have been stuck up and snobby, and may have let no man near her that didnt have enough money to support her.
Then again, she may have been the local prostitute whose morals were as low as her profession. However one would look at her, however one would want to describe her, she was “so soft, so calm, yet eloquent” (Beauty line 14) and “,,,all thats best of dark and bright” (Beauty line 3). Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, to coin the well over-used phrase. William Shakespeare and Lord Byron, two of the most renowned poets of all time, both held beauty at high standards. Although different, both authors expressed a great love for what one can see and for what one can know.
For Byron, it seemed that what you see is what you get. That beauty is a woman who can turn the head of every man as she walks down a street, or a woman who can make time stand still when she enters a room. Byrons fantasy was every mans fantasy, and his words drew a picture of radiance and perfection. For Shakespeare, on the other hand, what you see isnt what you get, but what you know is more than you could ever hope for. A perfect woman in every way but her appearance.
His words drew an abstract picture of beauty, but if one looked close enough one would see that beauty doesnt always have to lay with perfection. Everyone today is so wrapped up in what is beautiful and what is supposed to be the “ideal” woman, that no one stops to look at the real person behind such beauty or behind such repugnance. It isnt always about what looks best, who looks best, or who looks best with who. Its about understanding, its about Love. To love someone for who theyre not is simply a waste, but to love someone for who they are, now that is perfection.