to another issue of the Newsletter. One last issue before the New Year.
It's been a banner year for The Ella Wheeler Wilcox Society and our web
site and the birth of our newsletter.
wrote many stories and poems about Christmas and New Years, so it seems
warranted to devote an issue to them. In addition, I have a special gift
for all Ella Society members again this Christmas. I hope everyone has
a wonderful holiday season, wherever you may be.
First, the gift. In 1904 Ella Giles Ruddy compiled
a book of Ella quotes. This book, entitled Around
the year with Ella Wheeler Wilcox was a calendar book.
Each month begins with a quote from Ella and then there is an area for
each day with an Ella quote and space to write your engagements. A few
months ago I managed to obtain a copy of this book and have created a web
version of it as my holiday gift to you all. I even went one better than
Ella Giles Ruddy and created links from each quote to the full version
of the chapter or poem wherever I had a copy. I am still missing a small
percentage of the full text for all the quotes, but most of the 366 days
whenever you wish you can go to the book's Table
of Contents and select a particular month and day and read the Ella
"quote of the day" and if it proves interesting to you, click on the title
of the work and go to the full text. Ms. Ruddy quoted from many Ella writings,
including prose and poetry. It makes for interesting reading. If you happen
to have the full text of those quotes that are not linked (because I don't
have the text) please contact me so we can add that text to our website.
Around the year
with Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Chicago, W.B. Conkey Co., c. 1904.
Compiled by Ella Giles Ruddy.
Happy Holidays to all the members of The Ella Wheeler Wilcox
month in Ella's life:
moulée, Ella's first novel,
was finished and she wrote the Preface at her home with Robert in Meriden,
Connecticut. In 1886 it was published by G.W. Carleton & Co. and S.
Low, Son & Co.
In her preface,
she said: "It is more than two years since the outline of this simple story
first suggested itself to me, and since the first chapters were written.
Many times since then, conscious that I possessed no talent as a novelist,
I have resolved to abandon the work. Yet an unaccountable and mysterious
impulse (which no doubt my severe critics will declare as unfortunate,
as unaccountable) compelled me to complete it.
"I have attempted no fine descriptions,
no rare word-paintings, no flights of eloquence. These things lie
not within my province. As simply and briefly as possible, I have
endeavored to relate such events as occur almost daily in our midst."
Ella "was shopping in New York and was shown a very beautiful opal,
the first she had ever seen, by a Mr. Marcus, a dealer in precious stones,
who remarked that he wished she would write a poem about it to be used
in a book on gems which he was preparing. He added that the opal had always
seemed to him the child of the sunbeam and the moonbeam, but though he
had mentioned this idea to several New York poets, none of them had been
able to make anything of it. Mrs. Wilcox said she was sure that she could,
and the next morning, in about half an hour's time, wrote" the Birth
of the Opal.
From: Stevenson, Burton Egbert, 1872-
Famous single poems and the controversies which have raged around
Freeport, NY : Books for Libraries Press, . p. 225-242.
December 4, 1897
Ella was staying at The Gerard, 125 West
44th Street, New York City. While there, she wrote a letter to a Mr. Hoyt
" Last year one
of my songs was successfully sung at your theatre-- 'Laugh & the world
laughs with you.' Another-- a lullaby -- I wish might be introduced this
year. I send you a copy of it and if you can make use of it. I shall be
pleased for the sake of the musical composer -- a gifted woman whose talent
would be recognized more readily if this were done. It would of course
give the song great vogue if sung in your theatre."
Transcription by Richard A. Edwards
Courtesy of the Rare Book, Manuscript, &
Special Collections Library, Duke University, Durham, NC
The original can be seen on our website
December 7, 1914
"On Monday, Dec. 7th., the moving pictures of "Summer Days with Ella
Wheeler Wilcox" and the photo play of my poem, "The Price He paid" will
open in one of the New York Theatres, I belive it is the New York. I loathe
the play. It was written by a man famous in the photo play field but my
poem was quite lost sight of in the thing he constructed. However
the Warner Features people who have it in hand, think it is going to be
a great money maker and hereafter I will, at least, oversee my scenarios,
before they are put into films. It was shown at The Globe Theatre last
month to the bookers, and I rather dread seeing it again, so I am not going
to stay over for it but hurrying home to my three "H's", Husband, Home
and Harp." From a letter from Ella to Elsa, December 1, 1914.
The Price He Paid (1914) Directed by Lawrence B. McGill, Writing credits
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (poem)
Credited cast overview: Thomas V. Emery as Charlie Duke, Reeva Greenwood
as Patrice , Philip Hahn as Richard, Edith Hinckle as Mrs. Lyons, Julia
Hurley as Granny, Gertrude Shipman as Lucie, Hahn's wife, Jack Standing
as The doctor.
Black and White Silent Film
Ella's Filmography is available at: http://184.108.40.206/individuals/edwardsr/ella/bib/bibfilm.htm
Upon December's windy portico
The Old Year stood, and looked
out where the sun
Went wading down the West,
through drifting clouds.
'I, too, shall sink full soon
to rest,' he sighed,
'And follow where my children's
feet have trod;
Brave January, beauteous May
My lovely daughters, and my
All, all save one, have left
me for that bourne
Men call the Past. It
seems but yesterday
I saw fair August, laughing
with the Sea,
Snaring the Earth with her
And making conquest, even of
Yet has she gone, and left
me here to mourn.'
Then spake December, from an
'Father, the night grows cold;
come in and rest.
Sit with me here beside this
I have not left thee; thou
art not alone;
My house is thine; all warm
with love and light,
And bright with holly and with
My stalwart arm is thine to
The feast is spread, I only
wait for thee;
God smiles upon thy dead, smile
thou on me.'
Then through the open door
the Old Year passed
And darkness settled on the
of Progress and New Thought Pastels.
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1911.
ONCE IN A WHILE
Once in a while, in this world so strange,
To lighten our sad regrets,
We find a heart that is true through
A heart that never forgets.
Oh rare as a blossoming rose in December--
As a bird in an Arctic
Is a heart, a heart that can remember
Through sorrow and change
Once in a while we find a love
That will live through
life and death,
Ay! that will follow the soul above,
Not passing away with
But rarer, oh rarer by far and stranger
Than a spring in the
Is a love that will last, with toil,
And strife on every hand.
Once in a while we find a friend
That will cling through
good or ill,
Whose friendship follows us e'en to
Be it up or adown the
But the heart so true, and the love
And friendship's faithful
Whether we dwell in squalor or splendor,
We find but "once in
by Ella Wheeler
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
As the dead year is clasped by a dead December,
So let your dead sins with your dead
A new life is yours, and a new hope. Remember,
We build our own ladders to climb to
Stand out in the sunlight of Promise, forgetting
Whatever the Past held of sorrow or
We waste half our strength in a useless regretting;
We sit by old tombs in the dark too
Have you missed in your aim? Well, the mark is still shining.
Did you faint in the race? Well, take
breath for the next.
Did the clouds drive you back? But see yonder their lining.
Were you tempted and fell? Let it serve
for a text.
As each year hurries by let it join that procession
Of skeleton shapes that march down to
While you take your place in the line of Progression,
With your eyes on the heavens, your
face to the blast.
I tell you the future can hold no terrors
For any sad soul while the stars revolve,
If he will stand firm on the grave of his errors,
And instead of regretting, resolve,
It is never too late to begin rebuilding,
Though all into ruins your life seems
For see how the light of the New Year is gilding
The wan, worn face of the bruised old
works of Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Edinburgh : W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell, 1917.
A GOLDEN YEAR
Linger, linger, oh royal year!
For I grieve to see you dying.
Rest on the hilltops---loiter near;
Wait, O Time, in your flying.
For never, in all the twice ten years,
You have brought to build my twenty,
Never was one so free from tears--
So overflowing with plenty.
Filled to the brim with the purest draughts,
That I sip in fearless pleasure;
While an unseen spirit watches and laughs,
And again refills the measure.
My brightest dreams, and my fondest hopes,
The year has gathered together,
And right bountifully they have come to me,
From the Spring to the Autumn weather.
The rarest of flowers, subtle and sweet,
That grew in the world Ideal,
Have dropped their seeds in the soil at my feet,
And blossomed among the Real.
And Love, like a rose, still blossoms and blows,
Passion-hearted, yet tender.
And my path is strewn with the glories of June,
And I'm hedged about with its splendor.
Care flew over the hills, one day,
And I sang, as he swift retreated;
And Hope took his crown, and Joy settled down,
On the throne where Care had been seated.
Contentment hedged me all round about,
And Love built his blazing fire;
And Happiness poured his treasures out,
And left me with no desire.
I have walked breast high in a sea of bliss:
I have loved my God, and my brother.
There never before was a year like this--
There never can be another.
Linger, loiter, a little while,
For I grieve to see you dying!
But even in grief, I can only smile,
For my heart is too light for sighing.
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
Nearly two thousand years have passed since Christ came
to earth, and while His natal day is becoming more and more widely known
and celebrated, the world is still far from understanding
His simple philosophy of brotherhood.
In tens of thousands of churches on this Christmas
day as on preceding ones all over the civilized world, professed followers
of Christ--good meaning people, who believe they are Christians--will say
with lip and heart, "Peace on earth and good will to men," and they will
go forth from the churches to fight their fellowmen on bloody battlefields,
or in the more silent conflicts of the business world.
Millionaire Christians who have just planned a corner
on wheat or pork, which shall pauperize
thousands of their brother men but shall swell their own millions into
billions, will bow their gray heads reverently on the velvet backs of costly
pews, and glorify the name of that gentle Being who was born in a manger,
and who bade his followers to "Do unto others as they would be done by."
Men who lie awake nights to perfect schemes of getting
the better of competitors, will join in hallelujahs sung to the simple
Carpenter who lived only to do good to mankind, and who said, "Love your
Men who have put away wives of whom they were weary
and married others for whom they had conceived a passion; women who have
bribed lawyers to divorce them and clergymen to remarry them, will go to
church and worship the Christ whose religion proclaims against a plurality
of wives and husbands.
Meantime, in spite of all these unwholesome facts,
and many more as disagreeable ones which could be mentioned, the world
is slowly but steadily advancing toward the Christ standard.
Humanity is cleaner and kinder than it was even
a few hundred years ago.
In the early days of Christian rule there was a
deep-seated objection in the church against cleanliness.
Because the pagans had been devoted to baths, the
church considered bodily purity synonymous with impiety of the soul.
Monks were allowed two baths a year in the middle
ages, and a moistened corner of a towel, which was common property in the
convents, served for the nuns' occasional ablutions.
Even in the seventeenth century it caused a sensation
in a convent, when a duchess who had turned her thoughts to religious matters
for a season demanded a foot bath.
The desire for clean extremities was deemed unregenerate.
That was less than two hundred years ago, and to-day
our churches believe that cleanliness is next to godliness, and an untidy
Christian is as rare as a clean native Indian. Indeed, the generally
accepted idea to-day is that some moral slackness pervades the mind of
one whose person is not clean.
And just as we have progressed in neatness, so we
have in kindness and tolerance. One hundred years ago we burned as
witches people who possessed clairvoyant powers. To-day we call them
"phychists," and science studies them with interest. A century ago good
Christians put insane people in dungeons and fetters, believing them to
be possessed of devils.
To-day we know better--we know they are diseased
sufferers, and we bring science and sympathy to bear upon their misfortunes.
Yet our prisons, our insane asylums, our reform
schools and our poorhouses, all of them supposed to be conducted on Christian
principles, would startle the tender Christ were He to return to us this
Christmas day and make a visiting tour among them.
What consternation would ensue were His calm eyes
to penetrate the dark corners and His hand to reveal what lay behind closed
Meanwhile we can only thank God and progress that
things are so much better than they used to be, even while we are filled
with wonder that they are not better than they are.
Christ never asked for forms and conventions and
complicated dogmas. That is all man's doing.
Christ does not want you to give largely to the
church while you grind your fellowman in the mill of business.
He does not want you to make generous gifts to the
poor on Christmas day while on every other you indulge in selfish, sordid
methods of dealing with humanity.
Here are a few suggestions for practical Christianity
during these holiday times.
If you are a married man, do not starve your wife's
heart and brain by giving her no affection and no recreation during eleven
months of the year, and then expect to make her happy by an elaborate Christmas
Pay your iceman and your milkman, and your paper
bill and all other bills before you display your generosity to churches,
hospitals, fresh air funds or personal friends.
It is better to be called stingy than dishonest.
A little consideration, a little affection, a little
thoughtfulness, and a continual regard for the feelings and rights of others
in your home and business relations every day of the year, is more acceptable
to Christ than a large display on His birthday of piety and benevolence.
Though the world is full of sinning,
Of sorrow and of woe,
Yet the devil makes an inning
Every time we say it's so.
And the way to set him scowling
And to put him back a pace,
Is to stop this stupid scowling
And to look things in the
If you glance at history's pages,
In all lands and eras known,
You will find the vanished ages
Far more wicked than our
As you scan each word and letter,
You will realize it more
That the world to-day is better
Than it ever was before.
And in spite of all the trouble
That abounds on earth to-day,
Just remember it was double
In the ages passed away.
And these wrongs shall all be righted,
Good shall dominate the
For the darkness now is lighted
By the torch in Science'
Forth from little motes in chaos,
We have come to what we
And no evil force can stay us--
We shall mount from star
We shall break away each fetter
That has bound us heretofore,
And the world to-day is better
Than it ever was before.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler
Wilcox. Chapter LVII.
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901. Typed for the web site by Kimberlee
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