She Walks in Beauty is a short eighteen line poem celebrating female beauty. The beauty of the woman the speaker describes is in both her external appearance and her inner goodness. Although it might generally be classified as a love poem the poet never actually declares that love. He concentrates on the subject’s captivating attractiveness and purity.
The speaker is a highly biased observer and he seems entirely fascinated by the woman’s beauty. He is telling himself what he finds most captivating about this woman but at the same time communicating his feelings to a wider audience – the reader. We are therefore given a portrait of this woman, as seen through someone else’s eyes.
The speaker is keen to emphasise that it is not all about outward appearances. The early description of her physical beauty is matched by the description of her inner beauty or 'goodness' towards the end of the poem.
She almost seems to be unobtainable and, to some extent, we may sympathise with the poet’s sense of longing.