Be Glad, and Your Friends are Many;
Laugh, and the World Laughs With You
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Two photos of Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)
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 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 large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.
2. The Year Outgrows the Spring
The year outgrows the spring it thought so sweet,
And clasps the summer with a new delight,
Yet wearied, leaves her languors and her heat
When cool-browed autumn dawns upon his sight.
The tree outgrows the bud’s suggestive grace,
And feels new pride in blossoms fully blown.
But even this to deeper joy gives place
When bending boughs ’neath blushing burdens groan.
Life’s rarest moments are derived from change.
The heart outgrows old happiness, old grief,
And suns itself in feelings new and strange;
The most enduring pleasure is but brief.
Our tastes, our needs, are never twice the same.
Nothing contents us long, however dear.
The spirit in us, like the grosser frame,
Outgrows the garments which it wore last year.
Change is the watchword of Progression. When
We tire of well-worn ways we seek for new.
This restless craving in the souls of men
Spurs them to climb, and seek the mountain view.
So let who will erect an altar shrine
To meek-browed Constancy, and sing her praise.
Unto enlivening Change I shall build mine,
Who lends new zest and interest to my days.
The above poems are reproduced from the book “Poems of Passion”, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, which is available online in Project Gutenberg. They were also published in the March 2016 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”, pp. 15-16.