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Ella Wheeler Wilcox


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 words of comfort, of defence, and hope,
     To mortals crushed by sorrow and by error.
And though thy feet through shadowy paths may grope,
     Thou shalt not walk in loneliness or terror.

Give of thy gold, though small thy portion be.
     Gold rusts and shrivels in the hand that keeps it.
It grows in one that opens wide and free.
     Who sows his harvest is the one who reaps it.

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.

This poem is in the public domain.



Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) was a popular and prolific poet. Published and lauded before she even graduated from high school, Ella preferred to write happy, upbeat poetry and was much beloved for it. More than a dozen of her poems are included in the book, Best Loved Poems of the American People (Doubleday, 2008). The familiar saying, "Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep, and you weep alone. . ." comes from her best-known poem, "Solitude." A morally strong and spiritual person, Ella believed that her purpose on earth was to practice kindness and service. Read more about her here.


Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
Wonderful poem with a wonderful message.
Posted 12/08/2023 08:30 AM
Francis EDELINE A very fine poem. I particularly admire the masterful craftsmanship of the writing. The result is that some of her lines tend to stay in our memory like proverbs.
Posted 11/29/2023 12:37 PM
True and wise words!
Posted 11/28/2023 03:15 PM
So finished, Ellas poems. The last stanza especially.
Posted 11/28/2023 10:39 AM
.Give thoughts of cheer, Of courage and success, to friend and stranger. Again, I am impressed by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. I will be looking to read more of her poetry. Thanks for the link.
Posted 11/28/2023 10:20 AM
Darrell Arnold:
I wish I had known this woman, personally. She was giving my living, by writing, by being. She gives us hope and optimism. My kind of gal.
Posted 11/28/2023 08:17 AM
This poem reminds us that there are so many ways to give each and every day.
Posted 11/28/2023 07:02 AM
Joan Luther:
Giving Tuesday: we have an Angel Tree at churchthis is what popped into my mind when reading this giving poem. What a true joy it has been to give a child gifts! Seems almost selfish, realizing that. Tis better to give that to true!
Posted 11/28/2023 06:52 AM

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