Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its 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.
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Ella Wheeler Wilcox was an American Poet and writer, born on November 5, 1850, in Janesville, Wisconsin. Her writing first appeared in Waverly Magazine and Leslie’s Weekly when she was a teenager. She was also published in Cosmopolitan Magazine and the Hearst Newspapers. She attended the University of Wisconsin for only one year, leaving to focus on her writing. She married Robert Wilcox in 1884; the two had one son who died shortly after birth. They lived in Connecticut and New York and were married for over thirty years before Robert’s passing in 1916.
She published her first book, Drops of Water in 1872 when she was 22 years old. Her book Poems of Passion (1883) sold over 60,000 copies in just two years. Her other poetry collections include Poems of Experience (1910), Poems of Peace (1906), and Shells (1873). Wilcox also published books of fiction and two autobiographies. She died on October 30, 1919, at her home in Short Beach, Connecticut.
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