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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By William Dean Howells (1837–1920)

From ‘Stops of Various Quills’

WE sailed and sailed upon the desert sea

Where for whole days we alone seemed to be.

At last we saw a dim, vague line arise

Between the empty billows and the skies,

That grew and grew until it wore the shape

Of cove and inlet, promontory and cape;

Then hills and valleys, rivers, fields, and woods,

Steeples and roofs, and village neighborhoods.

And then I thought, “Sometime I shall embark

Upon a sea more desert and more dark

Than ever this was, and between the skies

And empty billows I shall see arise

Another world out of that waste and lapse,

Like yonder land. Perhaps—perhaps—perhaps!”