"A Beauteous Evening, Calm And Free"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: This beautiful sonnet was composed on the beach near Calais in the autumn of 1802. The girl walking with Wordsworth is Caroline, his natural daughter by Annette Vallon. The father is deeply moved by the beauty of the evening and the sound of the sea, but the child seems indifferent. Yet, says Wordsworth, you have a divinity in you and a worshipful spirit, even though you appear untouched. "Abraham's bosom" is the place where souls rest in heaven after death. Luke 16:22: "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom." The sonnet follows:

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 tranquillity;
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.