Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850–October 30, 1919) was an American author and poet. Her best-known work was Poems of Passion, and her autobiography, "The Worlds and I" published in 1918 shortly before her death.


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Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For this brave 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.

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.

No question is ever settled
Until it is settled right. (Settle the Question Right.)

Here, on this side of the grave,
Here, should we labor and love.
(Here and Now)

So many gods, so many creeds;
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs. (The World’s Need)

You never can tell when you do an act
Just what the result will be;
But with every deed you are sowing a seed,
Though the harvest you may not see.
Each kindly act is an acorn dropped
In God's productive soil;
You may not know, yet the tree shall grow
And shelter the brows that toil.
You never can tell what your thoughts will do
In bringing you hate or love;
For thoughts are things, and their airy wings
Are swifter than carrier doves.
They follow the law of the universe—
Each thing must create its kind;
And they speed o'er the track to bring you back
Whatever went out from your mind. - You Never Can Tell (1895)

New Thought Pastels (1913)

Between the finite and the infinite
The missing link of Love has left a void.
Supply the link, and earth with Heaven will join
In one continued chain of endless life. - The Way (1913)

Hell is wherever Love is not, and Heaven
Is Love's location. No dogmatic creed,
No austere faith based on ignoble fear
Can lead thee into realms of joy and peace.
Unless the humblest creatures on the earth
Are bettered by thy loving sympathy
Think not to find a Paradise beyond. - The Way (1913)

There is no sudden entrance into Heaven.
Slow is the ascent by the path of Love. - The Way (1913)

Body and mind, and spirit, all combine
To make the Creature, human and divine.
Of this great trinity no part deny.
Affirm, affirm, the Great Eternal I. - Affirm

Affirm the body, beautiful and whole,
The earth-expression of immortal soul.
Affirm the mind, the messenger of the hour,
To speed between thee and the source of power.
Affirm the spirit, the Eternal I -
Of this great trinity no part deny. - Affirm

Each mental wave we send out from the mind,
Or base, or kind,
Completes its circuit, then with added force
Seeks its own source. - Effects

You may choose your word like a connoisseur,
And polish it up with art,
But the word that sways, and stirs, and stays,
Is the word that comes from the heart.
You may work on your word a thousand weeks,
But it will not glow like one
That all unsought, leaps forth white hot,
When the fountains of feeling run. - The Word

Look to the Great Eternal Cause
And not to any man, for light.
Look in; and learn the wrong, and right,
From your own soul's unwritten laws.
And when you question, or demur,
Let Love be your Interpreter. - Assistance

If fallacies come knocking at my door,
I'd rather feed, and shelter full a score,
Than hide behind the black portcullis, doubt,
And run the risk of barring one Truth out.
And if pretension for a time deceive,
And prove me one too ready to believe,
Far less my shame, than if by stubborn act,
I brand as lie, some great colossal Fact. - Credulity

Not to the curious or impatient soul
That in the start, demands the end be shown,
And at each step, stops waiting for a sign;
But to the tireless toiler toward the goal,
Shall the great miracles of God be known
And life revealed, immortal and divine. - Conciousness

Breathe 'God,' in any tongue —it means the same;
LOVE ABSOLUTE: Think, feel, absorb the thought;
Shut out all else; until a subtle flame
(A spark from God's creative centre caught)
Shall permeate your being, and shall glow,
Increasing in its splendour, till, YOU KNOW. - Knowledge

Give, and thou shalt receive. Give thoughts of cheer,
Of courage and success, to friend and stranger.
And from a thousand sources, far and near,
Strength will be sent thee in thy hour of danger. - Give

Give of thy love, nor wait to know the worth
Of what thou lovest; and ask no returning.
And wheresoe'er thy pathway leads on earth,
There thou shalt find the lamp of love-light burning. - Give

Divine the Powers that on this trio wait.
Supreme their conquest, over Time and Fate.
Love, Work, and Faith —these three alone are great. - Three Things

Who climbs the mountain does not always climb.
The winding road slants downward many a time;
Yet each descent is higher than the last.

Who would attain to summits still and fair,
Must nerve himself through valleys of despair. - Climbing

All love that has not friendship for its base,
Is like a mansion built upon the sand. - Love

To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men. - Protest, contained in "Poems of Problems", pp. 154–55 (1914). This quotation is often misattributed to Abraham Lincoln.


  • There is no chance, no fate that can circumvent, hinder, or control the firm resolve of a determined soul. Gifts count for nothing. Will alone is great, and everything gives way before it. For there is no obstacle that can stay the mighty force of a sea-seeking river or cause the ascending orb of day to wait. - Often quoted by the Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji