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Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Lake in Sri Lanka

Lake in Sri Lanka

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;

Weep, and you weep alone.

For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,

But have trouble enough of its own.

Sing, and the hills will answer

Sigh, it s lost on the air.

The echoes bound to a joyful sound,

But shrink from voicing with 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.

They 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 a 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.

(Written in 1883)

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