“Solitude” (poetry recitation-video)

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
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.

Thank you for visiting, reading, and watching. Be well. 💗 Michele

Find my photos, reels, and micropoetry on Instagram~ @mlsefton

Poem, references and Wilcox Photos: One Hundred and One Famous Poems by Roy Cook, Poetry Foundation, Eller Wheeler Wilcox, Ella_Wheeler_Wilcox

Photo 1: by cottonbro (Pexels)

© 2022 Michele Lee Sefton

102 thoughts on ““Solitude” (poetry recitation-video)

      1. I absolutely understand. I think the poet captured a sad truth of human existence. One that doesn’t have to be, nor should it remain. We should be more open, both personally, and as a society to supporting one another during the low times and being vulnerable enough to allow help in when needed. Thank you, Brad.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Beautifully done my Dancing Queen. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 This part of Ella’s poem really stands out for me:

    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.

    Her poem bores into our spirit of life, our stark reality, and the essence of wonder! Awesome Michele! You look marvelous BTW dawwwwllllink!!! 🤩🌟🥰

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Articulate…Elegant…Beautiful???? 😲 My gosh, I feel like Morris Day from The Time 🎵🎤🎶 Hey Jerome…pass me a mirror!!! LOL You are so sweet Michele. 💖🥰💓 A beautiful performance as always my friend! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As are you, so too this poetic recitation a lovely presentation! It’s nice to listen, watch and also read the history you’ve shared. Thank you for doing so, dear Michele & have a great weekend!🌞🌹

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure, poetess Michele. It was a wonderful way to unwind, having returned after several hours of hiking & taking pictures…in 22 degrees!! What was I thinking?!!! 🥶 Thank you, my friend. 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Having exited my vehicle, it took only a few minutes before I realized that I forgot gloves. But, I was only outside for four hours. 😆🙃 D’oh! My hands are still thawing as I type, one slow letter at a time. 😜

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the poem and my recitation. Thank you very much, Jeff. I agree – even for those lucky enough to have their hand held when passing, they take their last breath alone. How wonderful and a gorgeous afternoon it is! 🌞 My pleasure to share a poet voice. 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never read this poem or any works by this amazing woman, yet upon reaching the final line and seeing a photo of her, I instantly felt connected! In her shoes, words akin to these would surely be my form of expression.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. LORRAINE

    Beautiful poem and reading, Michele. It’s is true that we often suffer alone, but the reality is that we can reach out to others who have known pain and provide the same understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Michele, you have chosen a very beautiful poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. It is admirable that she published her first book in 1872. Because at that time it was not easy for women to be artistically active and to be successful. I didn’t know Ella and I’m glad you introduced her here. Because the beautiful poem speaks to me.
    Thank you Michele❤️.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for mentioning Ella’s incredible accomplishment in the context of being an artistic woman in 1872. I am so pleased to share Ella with you and delighted that the poem resonated with you. ✨ Thank you, artist Rosie, for your visit and important comments. 🙏🏻💐💗

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Bardie Arborist

    Michele I owe you a couple of ‘thanks’: 1) thank you for being the first to follow a writer finding his voice and honing his craft; and 2) thank you for this post.

    The timeless fellowship between people of different generations and eras really strikes me. I find communion with her words that tell of her suffering, woe, and pain. Those parts of her poem speak to seasons I’ve had in my own life.

    Now to your recitation. You approached the poem with gentleness and reverence. The manner of your delivery is a credit to Ms. Wilcox, and commending of yourself, as both a poet, and lover of poetry.

    I especially like the biographical details you included. They enrich the overall experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is an honor to be your first reader. Your writing is interesting – keep sharing. Thank you for sharing that with me and for your wonderful comments about Wilcox’s poem, my recitation, and the biographical details. I enjoy memorizing poems and learning about the poets. Best to you and happy writing!

      Liked by 1 person

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