The Ella Wheeler Wilcox Society Newsletter

Richard A. Edwards, Editor

History Poems Quotations Search
November 2000
Volume 1, Number 1
     The months of October and November are very important in Ella's history so it seems fitting that at long last one of my dreams comes true with the publication of this first issue of The Ella Wheeler Wilcox Society Newsletter at this time. By merging my experience with HTML/Web Page code and modern Email systems, it becomes relatively easy to create a newsletter. I hope that you find the material worthy of your time and attention. Comments and submissions are eagerly sought.
     To a degree I recognize that any editorial comments I might make about Ella would be "preaching to the choir" since those of you receiving this newsletter are all avid Ella scholars, collectors or fans, so I will cease my ramblings and turn the rest of this issue over to our adored American poet, journalist and free thinker, Ella Wheeler Wilcox. 

  These months in Ella's life:
October 2, 1877
Ella's brother, Edward Gilman Wheeler married Delphia Charlena Hill. They had five daughters, two sons and many grandchildren. Their best known son was Archie E. Wheeler.
[See "Ella's Family Tree" for more information.]
October 30, 1919 
Ella passed from this world at her home, The Bungalow, Short Beach, Conneticutt. 
[See The New York Times Obituary for more information on her passing.]
[Her Last Will and Testament is also available on our website.]
November 5, 1850
Ella Wheeler born to Marcus & Sarah Wheeler at the Braley House in the village of Johnstown, Rock County, Wisconsin.
[See "Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women" for a short biography of Ella by her brother, Marcus P. Wheeler.]
[For a longer biography, see "The Story of a Literary Career" by Ella herself.

November 15, 1814
Sarah J. Pratt, Ella's mother, was born in Bradford, Vermont.
That Day

O Heart of mine, through all these perfect days 
Whether of white Decembers or green Mays, 
There glides a dark thought the pearls of happy years-- 
A thought which borders all my joy with tears.

Some day, some day or you or I, alone, 
Must look upon the scenes we two have known 
Must tread the self-same paths we two have trod, 
And cry in vain to one who is with God, 
To lean down from the silent realms and say, 
"I love you," in the old familiar way.

Some day, and each day, beauteous though it be, 
Brings closer that dread hour to you or me. 
Fleet-footed joy who hurries time along 
Is yet a secret foe who does us wrong. 
Speeding us swiftly, though he well doth know
Of yonder pathway where but one may go.

Ay, one will go. To go is sweet, I wis, 
Yet God must needs invent some special bliss 
To make his Paradise seem very dear 
To one who goes, and leaves the other here. 
To sever souls so bound by love and time 
For any one but God, would be a crime.

Yet death will entertain his own, I think. 
To one who stays, life gives the gall to drink. 
To one who stays, or be it you or me, 
There waits the Garden of Gethsemane. 
Oh, dark, inevitable and awful day, 
When one of us will go, and one must stay

                October 13th, 1898

Sonnets of sorrow and triumph. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
New York: George H. Doran, 1918. 


 Throughout these mellow autumn days, 
 All sweet and dim, and soft with haze, 
 I argue with my unwise heart, 
 That fain would choose the idler's part. 

 My heart says, "Let us lie and dream 
 Under the sunshine's softened beam. 
 This is the dream-time of the year, 
 When Heaven itself seems bending near. 

 See how the calm still waters lie 
 And dream beneath the arching sky. 
 The sun draws on a veil of haze, 
 And dreams away these golden days. 

 Put by the pen--lay thought aside, 
 And cease to battle with the tide, 
 Let us, like Nature, rest and dream 
 And float with th' current of the stream." 

 So pleads my heart. I answer "Nay, 
 Work waits for you and me to-day. 
 Behind these autumn hours of gold, 
 The winter lingers, bleak and cold. 

 And those who dream too long or much, 
 Must waken, shivering, at his touch, 
 With naught to show for vanished hours, 
 But dust of dreams and withered flowers. 

 So now, while days are soft and warm, 
 We must make ready for the storm." 
 Thus, through the golden, hazy weather, 
 My heart and I converse together. 

 And yet, I dare not turn my eyes 
 To pebbly shores or tender skies, 
 Because I am so fain to do 
 E'en as my heart pleads with me to. 

                October, 1872

Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox 
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873. 


 I think the leaf would sooner 
    Be the first to break away, 
 Than to hang alone in the orchard 
    In the bleak November day. 
 And I think the fate of the flower 
    That falls in the midst of bloom 
 Is sweeter than if it lingered 
    To die in the autumn's gloom. 

 Some glowing, golden morning 
    In the heart of the summer time, 
 As I stand in the perfect vigor 
    And strength of my youth's glad prime; 
 When my heart is light and happy, 
    And the world seems bright to me, 
 I would like to drop from this earth-life, 
    As a green leaf drops from the tree. 

 Some day, when the golden glory 
    Of June is over the earth, 
 And the birds are singing together 
    In a wild, mad strain of mirth, 
 When the skies are as clear and cloudless 
    As the skies of June can be, 
 I would like to have the summons 
    Sent down from God to me. 

 I would not wait for the furrows-- 
    For the faded eyes and hair; 
 But pass out swift and sudden, 
    Ere I grow heart-sick with care; 
 I would break some morn in my singing-- 
    Or fall in my springing walk, 
 As a full-blown flower will sometimes 
    Drop, all a-bloom, from the stalk. 

 And so, in my youth's glad morning, 
    While the summer walks abroad, 
 I would like to hear the summons, 
    That must come, sometime, from God. 
 I would pass from the earth's perfection 
    To the endless June above; 
 From the fullness of living and loving, 
    To the noon of Immortal Love. 


Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox 
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873. 


 This world is a sad, sad place I know; 
    And what soul living can doubt it. 
 But it will not lessen the want and woe, 
    To be always singing about it. 
 Then away with the songs that are full of tears, 
    Away with dirges that sadden. 
 Let us make the most of our fleeting years, 
    By singing the lays that gladden. 

 The world at its saddest is not all sad-- 
    There are days of sunny weather. 
 And the people within it are not all bad, 
    But saints and sinners together. 
 I think those wonderful hours in June, 
    Are better by far, to remember, 
 Than those when the world gets out of tune 
    In the cold, bleak winds of November. 
 Because we meet in the walks of life 
    Many a selfish creature, 
 It does not prove that this world of strife 
    Has no redeeming feature. 

 There is bloom, and beauty upon the earth, 
    There are buds and blossoming flowers, 
 There are souls of truth, and hearts of worth-- 
    There are glowing, golden hours. 

 In thinking over a joy we've known, 
    We easily make it double. 
 Which is better by far, than to mope and moan, 
    Over sorrow and grief and trouble. 
 For though this world is sad, we know, 
    (And who that is living can doubt it,) 
 It will not lessen the want, or woe, 
    To be always singing about it. 


Shells. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox 
Milwaukee:Hauser & Storey, 1873. 

  Tho' all unrecognized in halls of fame, 
Let this be said by those who speak my name: 
"No mountain height she scaled on daring wings 
But she was true and kind in little things." 
[From "Greatness."]

Better than glory, or honors, or fame, 
   (Though I am striving for those to-day) 
To know that some heart will cherish my name, 
   And think of me kindly, with blessings, alway." 
[From "When I am Dead", 1870]

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  Copyright 2000 Richard A. Edwards, all rights reserved. This document may be distributed freely. Please forward the complete message including this copyright notice.