When her Poems of Passion was published in 1883, Wheeler gained notoriety for writing “immoral” poetry. Her subsequent works showed a marked change in content, focusing on temperance, religion, and sentimental, inspirational verse. Her best known poem is “Solitude,” which earned her five dollars when it was published in an 1883 issue of the New York Sun. It famously opens, “Laugh and the world laughs with you / Weep and you weep alone.” What inspired her to write these lines?More… Discuss
Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it’s 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 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.