At Best

John Boyle O'Reilly

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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,
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:
The ship that holds the straightest course
Still sails the convex sea.

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