The Optimist

A poem by James Russell Lowell

Turbid from London's noise and smoke,
Here I find air and quiet too;
Air filtered through the beech and oak,
Quiet by nothing harsher broke
Than wood-dove's meditative coo.

The Truce of God is here; the breeze
Sighs as men sigh relieved from care,
Or tilts as lightly in the trees
As might a robin: all is ease,
With pledge of ampler ease to spare.

Time, leaning on his scythe, forgets
To turn the hour-glass in his hand,
And all life's petty cares and frets,
Its teasing hopes and weak regrets,
Are still as that oblivious sand.

Repose fills all the generous space
Of undulant plain; the rook and crow
Hush; 'tis as if a silent grace,
By Nature murmured, calmed the face
Of Heaven above and Earth below.

From past and future toils I rest,
One Sabbath pacifies my year;
I am the halcyon, this my nest;
And all is safely for the best
While the World's there and I am here.

So I turn tory for the nonce,
And think the radical a bore,
Who cannot see, thick-witted dunce,
That what was good for people once
Must be as good forevermore.

Sun, sink no deeper down the sky;
Earth, never change this summer mood;
Breeze, loiter thus forever by,
Stir the dead leaf or let it lie;
Since I am happy, all is good.

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