William Wordsworth’s “It is a beauteous evening, calm and free”

Introduction and Text of Poem: William Wordsworth’s “It is a beauteous evening, calm and free” is an Italian (Petrarchan) sonnet. Its rime scheme is ABBAABBA in the octave and CDECED in the sestet. The poem exemplifies the classic Romantic theme of infusing earthly loveliness and innocence with the Divine. Wordsworth asserted that poetry is produced from the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” And he added, “it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” This sonnet remains a brilliant example of Wordsworth’s as well as Romanticism’s statement on poetics. The sonnet features a speaker with a companion out strolling leisurely on a peaceful evening. The “dear Girl” specified in the sestet is thought to be Wordsworth’s daughter, Caroline. His daughter was around ten years of age at the time he composed this sonnet. Text of the Poem: It is a beauteous evening, calm and free It is a beauteous evening, calm and free, The holy time is quiet as a Nun Breathless with adoration; the broad sun Is sinking down in its tranquility; The gentleness of heaven broods o’er the Sea; Listen! the mighty Being is awake, And doth with his eternal motion make A sound like thunder—everlastingly. Dear child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here, If thou appear untouched by solemn thought, Thy nature is not therefore less divine: Thou liest in Abraham’s bosom all the year; And worshipp’st at the Temple’s inner shrine, God being with thee when we know it not. .

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