Stops of Various Quills/Question

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Question by William Dean Howells
illustrations by Howard Pyle

Howells, Stops of Various Quills, 1895 033 large a.jpg


QUESTION


SHALL it be after the long misery 
 Of easeless pillows, and the waste of flesh
 In sickness, till some worn and widening mesh
Frays out at last, and lets the soul go free?
Or, shall some violent accident suddenly
 Dismiss it, or some black cloud in the brain
 Lower till life maddens against the amain?
Where, in what land, or on what lonely sea?
 When, in the light of what unrisen sun?
 Under what fatal planet? There is none
Can tell, or know aught but that it shall be:
 The one thing certain which all other things
 Have taught my being in its inmost springs
To feel the sole impossibility.

Howells, Stops of Various Quills, 1895 001 large f.jpg