Solitude

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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.

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