It Is a Beauteous Evening

by William Wordsworth

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Themes

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

One of the most obvious themes in the poem is the majesty of nature and the many powers it has on the spirit, mind, and body.

The first benefit of nature lies in its ability to evoke serenity and peaceful contemplation in its observer. The poet uses vivid, sensual imagery to describe the powerful and calming effect that the sun setting over the ocean has on him.

In addition to promoting feelings of well-being, the poet hints that nature can provoke wisdom, as it causes one to engage in "solemn thought." Wordsworth believed that nature was a creative force that acts as a catalyst for meditations on life and truth. He believed these meditations inspired by the natural world served to forward a man's intellectual capacity and understanding of the world and the people that live in it.

Finally, Wordsworth believed that nature provided an opportunity for man to connect more deeply with the divine. This can be seen through the religious words and images he uses in the poem itself, such as describing the scene as a "holy time" that puts one in the mind of a nun that is "breathless with adoration." As the speaker walks along the shore with his daughter, he is reminded of the awesome power of God. This can be seen when he remarks on the atmosphere reminding him of the "gentleness of heaven." He also envisions God's actions in the world as "eternal motions" that never cease. He compares the sound of the ocean to thunder created by a "mighty" God whose influence is boundless.

In addition to nature, the theme of the nature of childhood appears in the poem. Wordsworth walks with his daughter and notes that she is not as absorbed in meditation as he is. Her thoughts are "untouched" by the majesty of the setting they share; however, this does not create worry in the speaker. He believes children carry the divine and holy in them naturally, as they are still filled with innocence and wonder, unmarred by the world's vice and corruption.

This poem combines the author's two main loves of nature and God; he seems to say that they work together, each one enhancing an appreciation for the other.

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