Solitude

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 (1850-1919)

 

7 Responses to “Solitude”

  1. Reblogged this on anisotropies.

  2. Probably her best poem. But a bit gloomy for January. REF blues?

    • telescoper Says:

      Possibly her best poem, but definitely her most famous, especially the first two lines.

      • It would be interesting to have a collection of such famous lines and not-so-famous sources. One could make a quiz of it, but in these days of internet-search engines, the winner wouldn’t deserve much praise.

      • What tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive

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