Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it’s mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.


One thought on “Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  1. Very nice post. Ella Wheeler Wilcox was very popular back in her day, but is rather obscure now, which is too bad, because she was a wonderful poet. Her love poems are among my favorites…

    What Love Is:

    Love is the centre and circumference;
    The cause and aim of all things – ’tis the key
    To joy and sorrow, and the recompense
    For all the ills that have been, or may be.

    Love is as bitter as the dregs of sin,
    As sweet as clover-honey in its cell;
    Love is the password whereby souls get in
    To Heaven – the gate that leads, sometimes, to Hell.

    Love is the crown that glorifies; the curse
    That brands and burdens; it is life and death;
    It is the great law of the universe;
    And nothing can exist without its breath.

    Love is the impulse which directs the world,
    And all things know it and obey its power.
    Man, in the maelstrom of his passions whirled;
    The bee that takes the pollen to the flower;

    The earth, uplifting her bare, pulsing breast
    To fervent kisses of the amorous sun; –
    Each but obeys creative Love’s behest,
    Which everywhere instinctively is done.

    Love is the only thing that pays for birth,
    Or makes death welcome. Oh, dear God above,
    This beautiful but sad, perplexing earth,
    Pity the hearts that know – or know not – Love!

    -Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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