November 5, 2010

Wilcox: Laugh, and the world laughs with you

Born in Johnstown Center, Wisconsin on November 5, 1850, Ella Wheeler started writing poetry and sketches as a teenager. She started publishing in newspapers and magazines at age 14. Her parents were poor and she used the income from writing to support them. Despite their meager means, her parents supported her and encouraged her to go to school at the University of Wisconsin. She married a businessman from Connecticut named Robert Wilcox in 1884. They moved to New York, where she continued writing.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox was known for her uplifting messages reflecting her positive outlook on life. Case in point:

'Tis easy enough to be pleasant
  When life flows along like a song,
But a man worth while is the man who will smile
  When everything goes dead wrong.

More famously, Wilcox's poem "Solitude" expresses a sentiment in its first lines which has since become a cliche.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
   For the sad old earth
   Must borrow its mirth,
It 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...

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.

Towards the end of her life, Wilcox became more and more interested in spiritual matters, even writing a book on the subject. When her husband died, she attempted (successfully) to contact him from beyond the grave.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.