Laugh and the world laughs with you

In the 1970’s (when we still sent greeting cards) I received a card with this poem on the front. I love the way the words roll along and almost turn into a song. The first two lines are often quoted when life gets difficult. It’s a cynical poem and I wish I could remember who sent it to me, perhaps I should have read more into the card and my relationship with the sender.

Solitude : EW Wilcox
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.

Howick Falls, KZN

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