It Is a Beauteous Evening

by William Wordsworth

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What romantic elements are in the poem "It Is a Beauteous Evening"?

Quick answer:

The Romantic elements in "It Is a Beauteous Evening" include the use of the sonnet form, the connection between nature and humanity, the idea of nature as divine, and the innate piety of an innocent child.

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William Wordsworth's poem "It Is a Beauteous Evening" is a sonnet, a form that was revived by the Romantic movement after falling into disuse in the Augustan period, when poets such as Pope and Johnson preferred rhyming couplets. The poem begins by linking nature and humanity, comparing the calm, quiet evening to a nun, and coming close to personification by identifying the sun as tranquil and heaven, or the sky, as gentle.

Although the image of the evening as a nun evokes Christianity, and there are more specific Biblical references in the poem (such as the allusion to Abraham's bosom), Wordsworth's idea of God is unconventional, individual, and characteristically Romantic. He refers to "the mighty Being," a description of God which at least alludes to pantheism, as he seems to be one with the sky.

In the sestet, the poet turns to address a child, generally agreed to be his daughter, Caroline, who would have been nine years old when the poem was written in 1802. He refers to her divine nature and to "God being with thee when we know it not." This idea that children are divine and have access to wisdom and spiritual experience which is denied to, or forgotten by, adults is a central idea of Romanticism, which appears with particular frequency in Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads.

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