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The Way of the World

From the Newark Evening Star, April 30, 1915. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you,
    Weep, and you weep alone.
This odd old earth must borrow its mirth,
    It has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer.
    Sigh, and it is lost on the air.
The echoes rebound to a joyful sound
    But they shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you,
    Grieve and they turn to go;
They want full measure of your pleasure,
    But they do not want 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—
Forget and forgive, it will help you to live,
    But no man can help you to die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
    For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all march on
    Thro’ the narrow aisle of pain.

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