While William Wordsworth was engaged to Mary Hutchinson, he journeyed to France to meet his daughter, Caroline, for the first time. That visit with her and her mother, Annette Vallon, inspired his poem “It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free.” This poem addresses how divinity can be seen and confirmed in an earthly world. Wordsworth uses his understanding of the beauty of nature to confirm God’s existence. He attributes the nature of the sea and the sun and the waves to a mighty Being while including his daughter as another reason of the divine. He sees children as being closer to heaven, to God and, therefore, exempt from needing to see divinity in nature since they have their own connection to the divine.
The structure of the poem sets up Wordsworth’s arguments that nature and children are two separate entities inexplicably linked to divinity. It is written in the form of an Italian sonnet, which allows for the beginning octave to focus solely on nature’s role in the divine before the turning to the final sestet which addresses a child’s role and ability to recognize divinity. The two distinct ideas of nature and children in regards to divinity are presented separately, yet brought together by the distinct form of an Italian sonnet. At the end of the sestet Wordsworth concludes the God is with the child “even when we know it not” (14). This shows that a child may already have a strong relationship with the divine without the knowledge or explanation from an adult. However, this line is also the last line of the entire poem, which allows it to be read as a conclusion of Wordsworth’s thoughts on divinity and relationships of such. The conclusion encoura...
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...y claiming she lies in “Abraham’s boson all the year” (12). Abraham’s bosom most likely refers to Luke 16:22, making it a reference to heaven. Therefore, Wordsworth claims that she (and children like her) already have a close relationship to the divine and do not need to find it in nature.
The poem “It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free” encourages the reader to notice the divine in the world and people around them. Wordsworth uses religious words in his description of the scene in order to link the divine to nature and encourage others to see it that way too. He also insists that solemnity in children is not imperative for their grasp in divinity, because they themselves are divine. The form of the poem allows these two views on divinity to be separate yet connected, while allowing the reader to form their own conclusions about divinity in the world themselves.
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