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Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935). Collected Poems. 1921.

VII. The Three Taverns

8. The Flying Dutchman

UNYIELDING in the pride of his defiance,

Afloat with none to serve or to command,

Lord of himself at last, and all by Science,

He seeks the Vanished Land.

Alone, by the one light of his one thought,

He steers to find the shore from which we came,

Fearless of in what coil he may be caught

On seas that have no name.

Into the night he sails; and after night

There is a dawning, though there be no sun;

Wherefore, with nothing but himself in sight,

Unsighted, he sails on.

At last there is a lifting of the cloud

Between the flood before him and the sky;

And then—though he may curse the Power aloud

That has no power to die—

He steers himself away from what is haunted

By the old ghost of what has been before,—

Abandoning, as always, and undaunted,

One fog-walled island more.