Adventures With Words

In which much reading and writing is meant to be done…

“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 it’s 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.

2 responses to ““Solitude” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox”

  1. As many do, I remembered the first line, but hadn’t read the whole thing. I sure couldn’t have named the poet. Thanks for posting! I hope you do have at least one friend who doesn’t run away when things get rough. We each need one of those…

  2. I found the poem in a 101 Favorite Poems anthology I got at a bookstore that was going out of business, so it’s very much a lucky find. I’ve read a lot of poems but none have moved me as much as this one.

    And thank you! I hope you have one of those people in your life too.

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About Me

An English diarist and naval administrator. I served as administrator of the Royal Navy and Member of Parliament. I had no maritime experience, but I rose to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and King James II through patronage, diligence, and my talent for administration.


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