Divinity In It’s A Beauteous Evening Calm And Free Divinity in “It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free” During the late 17th and early 18th centuries the style of poetry changed drastically. Poets shifted their focus away from the audience and concentrated on the internal self. This created the expressive, lyric poetry we now recognize as typical of Romanticism. William Wordsworth is one of the most famous of the Romantics, as well as author of “It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free.” Written in 1807 after a trip to France to visit his daughter, “It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free” focuses on Wordsworth’s view of nature and childhood as essentially divine. Written as a Petrarchan sonnet, “It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free” can be divided into two parts, an octet and a sestet. The octet introduces the reader to Wordsworth’s pantheistic view of nature.
His reference to “the mighty Being” (6) may be interpreted as: God, nature, or God manifested throughout nature, which exemplifies pantheism. Divinity is evident in God, and in nature through three main qualities: power, eternity and perfection. In “It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free”, nature is described as being “breathless with adoration.” (3) This suggests that nature possesses underlying energy and power. Further along in the poem, the Being makes “a sound like thunder” (8), another symbol of strength and power. One of the most important features of a divine being is eternal existence. Wordsworth describes nature as being in “eternal motion” (7); it is constantly changing and evolving. A third quality essential to divinity is absolute perfection.
One scene in the poem depicts the sun sinking from the heavens down into the sea.Wordsworth creates an image of such harmony and perfection; it is hard to question the divine essence of nature. In the sestet, Wordsworth switches the focus from the divinity of nature to the divinity of childhood. Although Wordsworth is addressing his daughter specifically, his view of her as divine can be applied to all children. While childhood is regarded as a time of ignorance, where serious thoughts are seldom entertained, the Romantics also view childhood as a time of innocence.
Wordsworth addresses both these views in “It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free”. By declaring that, eventhough his daughter is “untouched by solemn thought, [she] is not therefore less divine”(10-11), Wordsworth is saying that a child’s ignorance is his or her innocence.As the poem continues, the child is portrayed as “[lying] in Abraham’s bosom all the year” (12), suggesting that her soul is blessed by God. Wordsworth’s use of the image of the Temple’s inner shrine is perfect in illustrating a child’s innocence and divinity. Normally reserved for the highest priest of the Israelites to visit but once a year, a mere child is portrayed as worshipping there, revealing her closeness to God.
In fact, this union is so special that Wordsworth admits that God is with the child even when he knows it not. Upon close examination of “It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free”, it is apparent that Wordsworth views nature and childhood as two of the most divine states known to man.What is not so obvious, are his, as well as the rest of the Romantics, reasons for this belief. During the Romantic era, the French and Industrial Revolutions were causing great changes in the world. Several external supports, such as government and religion, were breaking down. Perhaps it is this turmoil that forced the Romantics to seek solace and inspiration in the stability of nature. However, despite discovering the sanctity of nature, the Romantics realized they were still being corrupted by the world around them. Purity could only be truly maintained in childhood, because of a child’s ignorance towards the problems of the world.
It is for this reason, poets such as Wordsworth, revered childhood as divine. Poetry Essays.