Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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No question is ever settled
Until it is settled right.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850October 30, 1919) was an American poet.

Quotes[edit]

  • How fleeting the sorrows of youth, how slight the foundations on which the young build towers of despair
    • From Forward to Yesterdays Gay & Hancock 1910 edition kindle ebook ASIN
  • There is no language that love does not speak
    • from Love's Language Poems of Progress 1913 edition
  • The world needs divine power in every human being the recognition of which is the secret to all success and happiness
    • from introduction to Poems of Power 1918 edition
  • Oh you who read some song I have sung
    What know you of the soul from whence it sprung
    • from The Poets Song in Poems of Passion 1883 edition
  • It is impossible to pursue a successful literary career and follow the advice of all one's 'best friends'.I feel compelled to follow the light which my own intellect & judgement cast upon my way, rather than any one of the many conflicting rays which other minds would lend me.
    • from Preface to Poems of Passion 1883 edition

Poetry quotes[edit]

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For this sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
You never can tell when you do an act
Just what the result will be;
But with every deed you are sowing a seed,
Though the harvest you may not see.
I see more light than darkness in the world…
I detect more good than evil in humanity.
Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes,
And men grow better as the world grows old.
  • Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
    Weep, and you weep alone.
    For this brave 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.
    • Solitude
  • 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.
    • Solitude
  • 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.
    • Solitude
  • Here, on this side of the grave,
    Here, should we labor and love.
    • Here and Now
  • 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.
    • The World's Need
  • You never can tell when you do an act
    Just what the result will be;
    But with every deed you are sowing a seed,
    Though the harvest you may not see.

    Each kindly act is an acorn dropped
    In God's productive soil;
    You may not know, yet the tree shall grow
    And shelter the brows that toil.

    You never can tell what your thoughts will do
    In bringing you hate or love;
    For thoughts are things, and their airy wings
    Are swifter than carrier doves.
    They follow the law of the universe —
    Each thing must create its kind;
    And they speed o'er the track to bring you back
    Whatever went out from your mind.

    • You Never Can Tell (1895).

Poems of Pleasure (1900)[edit]

  • I'm no reformer; for I see more light
    Than darkness in the world; mine eyes are quick
    To catch the first dim radiance of the dawn,
    And slow to note the cloud that threatens storm.
    • Optimism
  • I find a rapture linked with each despair,
    Well worth the price of anguish. I detect
    More good than evil in humanity.
    Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes,
    And men grow better as the world grows old.
    • Optimism
  • No question is ever settled
    Until it is settled right.
    • Settle the Question Right. [1]

New Thought Pastels (1913)[edit]

Unless the humblest creatures on the earth
Are bettered by thy loving sympathy
Think not to find a Paradise beyond.
There is no sudden entrance into Heaven.
Slow is the ascent by the path of Love.
Look in; and learn the wrong, and right,
From your own soul's unwritten laws.
And when you question, or demur,
Let Love be your Interpreter.
And if pretension for a time deceive,
And prove me one too ready to believe,
Far less my shame, than if by stubborn act,
I brand as lie, some great colossal Fact.


  • Between the finite and the infinite
    The missing link of Love has left a void.
    Supply the link, and earth with Heaven will join
    In one continued chain of endless life.
    • The Way (1913).
  • Hell is wherever Love is not, and Heaven
    Is Love's location.
    No dogmatic creed,
    No austere faith based on ignoble fear
    Can lead thee into realms of joy and peace.
    Unless the humblest creatures on the earth
    Are bettered by thy loving sympathy
    Think not to find a Paradise beyond.
    • The Way (1913).
  • There is no sudden entrance into Heaven.
    Slow is the ascent by the path of Love.
    • The Way (1913).
  • Body and mind, and spirit, all combine
    To make the Creature, human and divine.

    Of this great trinity no part deny.
    Affirm, affirm, the Great Eternal I.

    • Affirm
  • Affirm the body, beautiful and whole,
    The earth-expression of immortal soul.

    Affirm the mind, the messenger of the hour,
    To speed between thee and the source of power.

    Affirm the spirit, the Eternal I —
    Of this great trinity no part deny.

    • Affirm
  • Each mental wave we send out from the mind,
    Or base, or kind,
    Completes its circuit, then with added force
    Seeks its own source.
    • Effects.
  • 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.

    You may work on your word a thousand weeks,
    But it will not glow like one
    That all unsought, leaps forth white hot,
    When the fountains of feeling run.

    • The Word
  • Look to the Great Eternal Cause
    And not to any man, for light.
    Look in; and learn the wrong, and right,
    From your own soul's unwritten laws.
    And when you question, or demur,
    Let Love be your Interpreter.
    • Assistance
  • If fallacies come knocking at my door,
    I'd rather feed, and shelter full a score,
    Than hide behind the black portcullis, doubt,
    And run the risk of barring one Truth out.

    And if pretension for a time deceive,
    And prove me one too ready to believe,
    Far less my shame, than if by stubborn act,
    I brand as lie, some great colossal Fact.

    • Credulity
  • Not to the curious or impatient soul
    That in the start, demands the end be shown,
    And at each step, stops waiting for a sign;
    But to the tireless toiler toward the goal,
    Shall the great miracles of God be known
    And life revealed, immortal and divine.
    • Conciousness.
  • Breathe "God," in any tongue — it means the same;
    LOVE ABSOLUTE
    : Think, feel, absorb the thought;
    Shut out all else; until a subtle flame
    (A spark from God's creative centre caught)
    Shall permeate your being, and shall glow,
    Increasing in its splendour, till, YOU KNOW.
    • Knowledge
  • Give, and thou shalt receive. Give thoughts of cheer,
    Of courage and success, to friend and stranger.
    And from a thousand sources, far and near,
    Strength will be sent thee in thy hour of danger.
    • Give
  • Give of thy love, nor wait to know the worth
    Of what thou lovest; and ask no returning.
    And wheresoe'er thy pathway leads on earth,
    There thou shalt find the lamp of love-light burning.
    • Give
  • Divine the Powers that on this trio wait.
    Supreme their conquest, over Time and Fate.
    Love, Work, and Faith — these three alone are great.
    • Three Things.
  • Who climbs the mountain does not always climb.
    The winding road slants downward many a time;
    Yet each descent is higher than the last.
    • Climbing
  • Who would attain to summits still and fair,
    Must nerve himself through valleys of despair.
    • Climbing
  • All love that has not friendship for its base,
    Is like a mansion built upon the sand.
    • Love
  • To sin by silence, when we should protest,
    Makes cowards out of men.
    • Protest, contained in "Poems of Problems", pp. 154–55 (1914). This quotation is often misattributed to Abraham Lincoln.
  • There is no chance, no destiny, no fate,
    Can circumvent or hinder or control
    The firm resolve of a determined soul.

    Gifts count for nothing; will alone is great;
    All things give way before it soon or late.
    What obstacle can stay the mighty force
    Of the sea seeking river in its course,
    Or cause the ascending orb of day to wait?
    • "Will," included in Maurine: And Other Poems, p. 145 (1888). Often quoted by Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji.

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