Daily Distraction: Marianne Faithfull, Warren Ellis team up on Lord Byron poem

'She Walks in Beauty' is from a forthcoming album in which the two combine music with the poetry of Byron, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley and more

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
Marianne Faithfull and Warren Ellis

As the story goes, Lord Byron wrote “She Walks in Beauty” after attending a party at Lady Sarah Caroline Sitwell’s on June 11, 1814, where he was entranced by Anne Beatrix Wilmot and then inspired to write these words: 

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. 

The poem is a favorite of legendary singer Marianne Faithfull, who teamed up with musician Warren Ellis, a longtime member of the Bad Seeds, to reinterpret Byron’s words in a new track, “She Walks in Beauty,” from a forthcoming album of the same name that finds Faithfull and Ellis combining music with the poetry of Lord Byron, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley and more.  

“It’s very romantic, not like you imagine Byron to be,” said Faithfull, who recites the poet’s words over Ellis’ synth-scapes. “It’s so beautiful, and that’s why I like it. I love the other side of Byron, too, but this is really amazing, sublime. And I was very drawn to the ability to do really beautiful rhymes. I think that’s from being a songwriter. It’s incredibly nice. Not what I connect with Lord Byron at all.” 

It’s also the second bit of news featuring Ellis this week; he also released a new album, Carnage, with Nick Cave. 

Watch/listen to "She Walks in Beauty" below: