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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  • Our lives are songs. God writes the words, / And we set them to music at pleasure; / And the song grows glad, or sweet, or sad, / As we choose to fashion the measure.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Our Lives," Shells ()
  • Back on its golden hinges / The gate of Memory swings, / And my heart goes into the garden / And walks with the olden things.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Memory's Garden," Shells ()
  • This world is a sad, sad place I know; / And what soul living can doubt it. / But it will not lessen the want and woe, / To be always singing about it.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "This World," Shells ()
  • All roads that lead to God are good.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "The Goal," Maurine ()
  • There is no balking Genius. Only death / Can silence it — or hinder.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Part Sixth," Maurine ()
  • ... critics and reviewers do not use / Their precious ammunition to abuse / A worthless work. That, left alone, they know / Will find its proper level; and they aim / Their batteries at rising works which claim / Too much of public notice.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Part Seventh," Maurine ()
  • For life is a poem to leisurely read, / And the joy of a journey lies not in its speed.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Reply to Rudyard Kipling's Poem," Poems of Passion ()
  • All love that has not friendship for its base, / Is like a mansion built upon the sand. / Love, to endure life's sorrow and earth's woe, / Needs friendship's solid masonwork below.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Upon the Sand," Poems of Passion ()
  • Let there be many windows to your soul, / ... Not the narrow pane / Of one poor creed can catch the radiant rays / That shine from countless sources.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Progress," Poems of Passion ()
  • 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.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Solitude," Poems of Passion ()
  • No question is ever settled / Until it is settled right.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Settle the Question Right," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • Day's sweetest moments are at dawn.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Dawn," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • Whatever comes, this too shall pass away.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "This Too Shall Pass Away," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • I hold it true that thoughts are things / Endowed with bodies, breath, and wings, / And that we send them forth to fill / The world with good results — or ill.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Secret Thoughts," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • Talk health. The dreary, never-ending tale / Of mortal maladies is worn and stale; / You cannot charm or interest or please / By harping on that minor chord disease. / Say you are well, or all is well with you, / And God shall hear your words and make them true.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Speech," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • Talk happiness. The world is sad enough / Without your woe. No path is wholly rough. / Look for the places that are smooth and clear ...

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Speech," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • The splendid discontent of God / With chaos, made the world, / ... / And from the discontent of man / The world's best progress springs.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Discontent," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • Passion is what the sun feels for the earth / When harvests ripen into golden birth.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "The Difference," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • Love much. Earth has enough of bitter in it.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Love Much," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • One of us two must sometime face existence / Alone with memories that but sharpen pain. / ... / One of us two shall find all life, all beauty, / All joy on earth, a tale forever done; / Shall know henceforth that life means only duty. / O God! O God! have pity on that one!

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "One of Us Two," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • As the dead year is clasped by a dead December, / So let your dead sins with your dead days lie.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Resolve," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes ...

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Optimism," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • Whatever is — is best.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • poem title, Poems of Pleasure ()
  • The world is a vaporous jest at best, / Tossed off by the gods in laughter; / And a cruel attempt at wit were it. / If nothing better came after.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "A Gray Mood," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • Give us that grand word 'woman' once again, / And let's have done with 'lady'; one's a term / Full of fine force, strong, beautiful, and firm, / Fit for the noblest use of tongue or pen; / And one's a word for lackeys.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Woman," Poems of Pleasure ()
  • It is easy enough to be pleasant / When life flows by like a song, / But the man worth while is the one who will smile / When everything goes dead wrong.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Worth While," An Erring Woman's Love ()
  • So many gods, so many creeds, / So many paths that wind and wind / While just the art of being kind, / Is all the sad world needs.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "The World's Need," Custer ()
  • ... the two kinds of people on earth I mean, / Are the people who lift and the people who lean.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Which Are You?" Custer ()
  • With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "You Never Can Tell," Custer ()
  • I think of death as some delightful journey / That I shall take when all my tasks are done ...

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "The Journey," in Planets and Peoples ()
  • Time owes me such a heavy debt; / How can he ever make things right?

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Songs From the Turret," Three Women ()
  • There is new strength, repose of mind and inspiration in fresh apparel.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Old Clothes," The Heart of the New Thought ()
  • ... love moves the world along.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Repetition," Poems of Power ()
  • I do not question what the years portend — / Of good or ill, whatever wind may blow; / It is enough, enough for me to know / I shall be given courage to the end.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Unto the End," Poems of Power ()
  • Love is the only duty that we know ...

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Threefold," Poems of Power ()
  • Oh, dark, inevitable and awful day, / When one of us must go and one must stay!

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "That Day," Poems of Power ()
  • When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow, / We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago, / And etched on vacant places / Are half-forgotten faces / Of friends we used to cherish, and loves we used to know ...

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Christmas Fancies," Poems of Power ()
  • We must not force events, but rather make / The heart soil ready for their coming, as / The earth spreads carpets for the feet of Spring.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Preparation," Poems of Power ()
  • Change is the watchword of progression. When / We tire of well-worn ways, we seek for new. / This restless craving in the souls of men / Spurs them to climb, and seek the mountain view.

  • It has always been my belief that children inherit the suppressed tendencies of their parents. A clergyman's son frequently shows abnormal tastes for the pleasures that his father denied himself ...

  • A day which passed without a poem from my pen I considered lost and misused.

  • A weed is but an unloved flower!

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "The Weed," New Thought Pastels ()
  • You may choose your word like a connoisseur, / And polish it up with art, / But the word that sways, and stirs, and stays, / Is the word that comes from the heart.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "The Word," New Thought Pastels ()
  • I value more than I despise / My tendency to sin, / Because it helps me sympathize / With all my tempted kin.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Understood," New Thought Pastels ()
  • Thank Fate for foes! I hold mine dear / As valued friends. He cannot know / The zest of life who runneth here / His earthly race without a foe.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Foes," Poems of Cheer ()
  • Content is not the pathway to great deeds.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "The Choosing of Esther," Poems of Progress ()
  • ... good music is wine turned to sound.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "The Choosing of Esther," Poems of Progress ()
  • At times I am the mother of the world; / And mine seem all its sorrows, and its fears.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "The World-Child," Poems of Progress ()
  • 'Tis a curious fact that a generous act / Brings leisure and luck to a day.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Time Enough," Poems of Progress ()
  • A thousand creeds have come and gone; / But what is that to you or me? / Creeds are but branches of a tree, / The root of love lives on and on.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "The Goal," Poems of Progress ()
  • I am the voice of the voiceless; / Through me the dumb shall speak; / Till the deaf world's ear be made to hear / The cry of the wordless weak. / ... / And I am my brother's keeper, / And I will fight his fight, / And speak the word for beast and bird, / Till the world shall set things right.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "The Voice of the Voiceless," Poems of Experience ()
  • That which we most desire, / With understanding, we at last obtain, / In part or whole. I hold there is no rain, / No deluge, that can quench a heavenly fire.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Circumstance," Yesterdays ()
  • Contentment comes when sought, / While Happiness pursued was never caught.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Content and Happiness," Yesterdays ()
  • The human race / Has climbed on protest.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Protest," Poems of Problems ()
  • To sin by silence, when we should protest, / Makes cowards out of men.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Protest," Poems of Problems ()
  • I fling my past behind me like a robe / Worn threadbare in the seams, and out of date. / I have outgrown it.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "The Past," The Collected Poems of Ella Wheeler Wilcox ()
  • Have you heard of the terrible family They, / And the dreadful venomous things They say?

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "They Say" (1890), in James Gilchrist Lawson, ed., The World's Best-Loved Poems ()
  • The rankling wound which aches and thrills / Is dealt by hands we love.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Life's Scars," in Hazel Felleman, ed., The Best Loved Poems of the American People ()
  • The only folks who really wound / Are those we love the best.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Life's Scars," in Hazel Felleman, ed., The Best Loved Poems of the American People ()
  • One ship drives east and another drives west / With the selfsame winds that blow. / 'Tis the set of sails and not the gales / Which tells us the way to go.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Winds of Fate," in Hazel Felleman, ed., The Best Loved Poems of the American People ()
  • 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,
    • "Solitude," Poems of Passion ()
  • Don’t look for flaws as you go through life; / And even when you find them, / It is wise and kind to be somewhat blind, / And look for the virtue behind them.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "As You Go Through Life," in The Sunday School Helper ()

Ella Wheeler Wilcox, U.S. writer, poet, journalist

(1859 - 1919)