C. "It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free." Poems in English 1530-1940, ed. David Daiches. New York: Ronald, 1950. Pp. 321. The following link contains general instructions.
It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Tis sinking down in its tranquillity; 4
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. 8
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; 12
And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.
1. Briefly interpret the poem.
2. Show how the speaker responds to Nature's powers in contrast to how the child does.
3. Explain the meaning and significance of the allusion (reference) to "Abraham's bosom."
4. What does the speaker mean about the child's worshiping at the "Temple's inner shrine"?
5. Explain why the form of the Petrarchan sonnet is so effective here. The octave couches religious imagery in Nature, echoing Wordsworth's third stage in "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey." The sestet makes use of the divine presence coupled with traditional religion. Explain.
6. What is paradoxical about lines 6, 7, and 8?
7. What is the function of the caesura work in line 8?
8. The "dear Child" of line 9 is Wordsworth's illegitimate daughter, whose existence was not suspect until the twentieth century. Why does Wordsworth address her here?
9. How does Wordsworth create a sense of upwelling emotion in lines 8 and 9?
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