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 long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.
Short Poem Analysis
"Solitude" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox is a contemplative and introspective poem that reflects on the value and impact of solitude on one's inner self. Through its reflective tone and vivid imagery, the poem explores the restorative and transformative aspects of being alone.
The poem portrays solitude as a peaceful and enriching experience. The speaker emphasizes that in moments of solitude, the noise and distractions of the world fade away, allowing one to engage in introspection and self-discovery.
The opening lines, "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; / Weep, and you weep alone," suggest that in moments of joy, others may join in, but in moments of sorrow, one often finds oneself alone. This sets the stage for the poem's exploration of solitude as a companion during challenging times.
The poem conveys the idea that solitude provides an opportunity for inner growth and reflection. The speaker describes solitude as a friend that "nods and smiles" and "sheds the light of love," suggesting that it is a source of comfort and understanding.
The poem's final lines, "But the soul that is strong and clean / Laughing hours of life away," highlight the strength and resilience that can be nurtured through solitude. The image of the "strong and clean" soul suggests that solitude can purify and strengthen one's inner being.
"Solitude" is a celebration of the restorative power of being alone with one's thoughts and emotions. The poem encourages readers to embrace solitude as a means of self-discovery, reflection, and personal growth. Through its gentle and contemplative language, the poem offers a positive perspective on the value of spending time in one's own company and finding solace and strength in moments of solitude.