By a lake

The lake mirrors planets and stars, not disease, not cruelty, not wars. Can I take comfort in its tranquility, or is it an illusion, a trick?

By Grasmere Lake

— by William Wordsworth

Clouds, lingering yet, extend in solid bars Through the grey west; and lo! these waters, steeled By breezeless air to smoothest polish, yield A vivid repetition of the stars; Jove, Venus, and the ruddy crest of Mars Amid his fellows beauteously revealed At happy distance from Earth’s groaning field, Where ruthless mortals wage incessant wars. Is it a mirror?—or the nether Sphere Opening to view the abyss in which she feeds Her own calm fires?—But list! a voice is near; Great Pan himself low-whispering through the reeds, "Be thankful, thou; for, if unholy deeds Ravage the world, tranquillity is here!"