Laugh, and the world laughs with you ;
     Weep, and you weep alone ;
         For the sad old earth
         Must borrow it's mirth,
It has trouble enough of it's own.

Sing, and the hills will answer ;
     Sigh, it is lost on the air ;
         To 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 want 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 lifes gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded ;
     Fast, and the world goes by ;
         Succeed and give,
         And it helps you live,
But it cannot 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.

Akron Beacon Journal 17 Feb. 1906: 7.

Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.

Back to Poem Index