Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

Solitude - Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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.

Comments about Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  • Savita Tyagi (11/11/2017 3:08:00 PM)

    Laugh and world laughs with you. Solitude is enjoyed when we learn to laugh without world by our side. Enjoyed the poem very much. (Report) Reply

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  • (7/16/2017 11:43:00 AM)

    A powerful poem that depicts the way life is, not the way life ought to be. In light of more recent studies on how to deal with grief, what humanity needs are people who will identify with and support (come along side) those in grief because of some major tragedy they have experienced. To shun those who grieve (as the poem describes) is the norm and is inhuman (not mentioned in the poem but maybe implied) . Ella's experience on the train, when she came along side the grieving widow and comforted her, is what humanity needs so much more of. The poem itself depicts the way things are, the usual inhuman attitude towards others who are suffering- to run from those who grieve. Pity the poem didn't end with a verse describing what is needed, especially since the train experience, which stirred Ella to write the poem, also showed, through Ella's example, the need to support and come alongside those who grieve and suffer. (Report) Reply

  • Sylva-onyema Uba (2/6/2017 11:25:00 PM)

    Rejoice, and men will seek you.

    Nice words!
    (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (1/3/2017 3:55:00 PM)

    tom allport
    the ups and downs of life all well written down. (Report) Reply

  • Shareq Rahman (11/28/2016 7:44:00 AM)

    Laughing and weeping.
    It is a superb poem. Just for the sake of discussion, I give the following points.
    1. Weeping gives depression but when you visit a cardiologist, he will advice you not to laugh boisterously.
    2. You do not always grieve alone. In some funerals thousands will come to share the grief. In the Chinese community, they celebrate grief.
    3. Succeed and give and it helps you live. It is a good thought.
    4. But no man can help you die. The priest sometimes helps by prayer.
    (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Anas Affan (9/19/2016 1:16:00 AM)

    wonderful written lesson to a life (Report) Reply

  • Mizzy ........ (9/17/2016 1:16:00 PM)

    Superb poem......Enjoyable read! (Report) Reply

  • Kaisar Saggu (4/20/2016 2:14:00 PM)

    lesson of life in low times (Report) Reply

  • Kaisar Saggu (4/20/2016 2:12:00 PM)

    truly reflection of ups & downs of life, even in shadows always smile.A lesson of bad times (Report) Reply

  • (4/7/2016 10:49:00 AM)

    Real life values teaches in the poem and likes. (Report) Reply

  • Savita Tyagi (4/7/2016 9:30:00 AM)

    Words of wisdom weaved so poetically making it a great poem. (Report) Reply

  • Barry Middleton (4/7/2016 7:16:00 AM)

    You can say that again. (Report) Reply

  • (4/7/2016 4:12:00 AM)

    The essence of wisdom,
    There is room in the halls of pleasure
    For a long and lordly train,
    But one by one we must file on
    Through the narrow aisles of pain
    Thanks for sharing.10 points.
    (Report) Reply

  • Tapan M. Saren (3/23/2016 1:55:00 AM)

    Great poem from a great poet (Report) Reply

  • (12/17/2015 5:18:00 PM)

    This haunting poem touched my heart, and made me think of the following ancient writing:
    Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low—they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets—before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Ecclesiastes, last chapter. The Bible.
    Sobering, but true.
    (Report) Reply

  • Phurpa Wangdi (9/5/2015 9:11:00 AM)

    such a lovely poem on loneliness. a very interesting poem. thanks for sharing (Report) Reply

  • (8/29/2015 5:20:00 PM)

    ....one of my favorites of hers...always has been ★ (Report) Reply

  • (8/8/2015 2:34:00 AM)

    Intriguing poem of loneliness, being forgotten as we grow older because those we've loved have died or moved on without us. There's an underlying sadness to a life that has no purpose or reason to be, no one wants to be around a person with that attitude. They only want to be reminded of the good things in life, gravitating towards the happy and light hearted people in our lives. Thank you for sharing. RoseAnn (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini (7/13/2015 11:29:00 AM)

    ageing and loneliness.. it's sad to become old. Much and much sadder to be forgotten by those you love/loved.. (Report) Reply

  • (4/8/2015 7:42:00 PM)

    No man can help you die...I love this...stark truth underlies the apparently optimistic tone ...poem can be read on 2 levels... (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: sad, alone, solitude, lost, world, pain, friend

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

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