Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
923. At Best
 
By John Boyle O’Reilly
 
 
THE FAITHFUL helm commands the keel,
  From port to port fair breezes blow;
But the ship must sail the convex sea,
  Nor may she straighter go.
 
So, man to man; in fair accord,        5
  On thought and will the winds may wait;
But the world will bend the passing word,
  Though its shortest course be straight.
 
From soul to soul the shortest line
  At best will bended be:        10
The ship that holds the straightest course
  Still sails the convex sea.
 

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