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.
ELLA WHEELER WILCOX
I remember my mum reciting parts of this. It’s one of those things I heard as a young person and it weaved itself into the fabric or plasticity of my brain, mind and spirit... I love it for encouraging self empowerment but also see it as a harsh lesson or take on human nature... parts of it are hard to swallow and maybe don’t ring as true for our generation? I disagree that we weep alone. I think when we show vulnerability, open our hearts, take accountability for our circumstances and show acceptance for what IS, then others gravitate to be close knowing that one day they too may need comfort. Victimhood, on the other hand, seems like a human repellent... like a contagious disease... I think that’s what she’s means in terms of the mindset in which we find ourselves weeping alone.
And, the harsh reality too that we die alone... how important then, to love your own spirit and be comforted by your own soul.
My favourite line is: “Succeed and give, and it helps you live” 💗