SOLITUDE

     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 nectar'd 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 large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
    Through the narrow aisles of pain.

The Age-Herald [Birmingham, Ala.] 29 Oct. 1901: 4.

Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.


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