24 Ella Wheeler Wilcox Poems

Let these Ella Wheeler Wilcox poems give you positive and uplifting thoughts about many different aspects of life. Ella's writings were optimistic and encouraging. Her poetry has impacted many a person's life. One of her more famous poems, Solitude, is a true example of her positive thoughts.

She was born in Wisconsin, US on November 5th, 1850, she died on October 30th, 1919. But her poems live on today. Be inspired and encouraged by her words!

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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Popular Short  Famous Poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox:

  1. Does It Pay
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    If one poor burdened toiler o’er life’s road,
    Who meets us by the way,
    Goes on less conscious of his galling load,
    Then life, indeed, does pay.

    If we can show one troubled heart the gain
    That lies alway in loss,
    Why, then, we too are paid for all the pain
    Of bearing life’s hard cross.

    If some despondent soul to hope is stirred,
    Some sad lip made to smile,
    By any act of ours, or any word,
    Then, life has been worth while.

  2. Poems About Life
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  3. It Might Have Been
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    We will be what we could be. Do not say,
    "It might have been, had not or that, or this"
    No fate can keep us from the chosen way;
    He only might who is.

    We will do what we could do. Do not dream
    Chance leaves a hero, all uncrowned to grieve.
    I hold, all men are greatly what they seem;
    He does who could achieve.

    We will climb where we could climb. Tell me not
    Of adverse storms that kept thee from the height.
    What eagle ever missed the peak he sought?
    He always climbs who might.

    I do not like the phrase, "It might have been!"
    It lacks all force, and life's best truths perverts:
    For I believe we have, and reach, and win,
    Whatever our deserts.

  4. Poems of Encouragement
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  5. Optimism
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    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.
    The fragrance and the beauty of the rose
    Delight me so, slight thought I give its thorn;
    And the sweet music of the lark's clear song
    Stays longer with me than the night hawk's cry.
    And e'en in this great throe of pain called Life,
    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.

  6. Optimistic Poems
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  7. Distrust
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Distrust that man who tells you to distrust;
    He takes the measure of his own small soul,
    And thinks the world no larger. He who prates
    Of human nature's baseness and deceit
    Looks in the mirror of his heart, and sees
    His kind therein reflected. Or perchance
    The honeyed wine of life was turned to gall
    By sorrow's hand, which brimmed his cup with tears,
    And made all things seem bitter to his taste.
    Give him compassion! But be not afraid
    Of nectared Love, or Friendship's strengthening draught,
    Nor think a poison underlies their sweets.
    Look through true eyes - you will discover truth;
    Suspect suspicion, and doubt only doubt.

  8. Poems about Truth
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  9. The Fault Of The Age
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    The fault of the age is a mad endeavor
    To leap to heights that were made to climb:
    By a burst of strength, of a thought most clever,
    We plan to forestall and outwit Time.

    We scorn to wait for the thing worth having;
    We want high noon at the day's dim dawn;
    We find no pleasure in toiling and saving,
    As our forefathers did in the old times gone.

    We force our roses, before their season,
    To bloom and blossom for us to wear;
    And then we wonder and ask the reason
    Why perfect buds are so few and rare.

    We crave the gain, but despise the getting;
    We want wealth - not as reward, but dower;
    And the strength that is wasted is useless fretting
    Would fell a forest or build a tower.

    To covet the prize, yet to shrink from the winning;
    To thirst for glory, yet fear to fight;
    Why what can it lead to at last, but sinning,
    To mental languor and moral blight?

    Better the old slow way of striving,
    And counting small gains when the year is done,
    Than to use our force and our strength in contriving,
    And to grasp for pleasure we have not won.

  10. New Year Poems
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  11. The Lost Land
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    There is a story of a beauteous land,
    Where fields were fertile and where flowers were bright;
    Where tall towers glistened in the morning light,
    Where happy children wandered hand in hand,
    Where lovers wrote their names upon the sand.
    They say it vanished from all human sight,
    The hungry sea devoured it in a night.

    You doubt the tale? ah, you will understand;
    For, as men muse upon that fable old,
    They give sad credence always at the last,
    However they have cavilled at its truth,
    When with a tear-dimmed vision they behold,
    Swift sinking in the ocean of the Past,
    The lovely lost Atlantis of their Youth.

  12. Poems on Aging
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  13. A Face
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Between the curtains of snowy lace,
    Over the way is a baby's face;
    It peeps forth, smiling in merry glee,
    And waves its pink little hand at me.

    My heart responds with a lonely cry -
    But in the wonderful By-and-By -
    Out from the window of God's "To Be,"
    That other baby shall beckon to me.

    That ever-haunting and longed-for face,
    That perfect vision of infant grace,
    Shall shine on me in a splendour of light,
    Never to fade from my eager sight.

    All that was taken shall be made good;
    All that puzzles me understood;
    And the wee white hand that I lost, one day,
    Shall lead me into the Better Way.

  14. Baby Poems
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  15. Secrets
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Think not some knowledge rests with thee alone.
    Why, even God's stupendous secret, Death,
    We one by one, with our expiring breath,
    Do, pale with wonder, seize and make our own;
    The bosomed treasures of the Earth are shown,
    Despite her careful hiding; and the air
    Yields its mysterious marvels in despair
    To swell the mighty storehouse of things known.
    In vain the sea expostulates and raves;
    It cannot cover from the keen world's sight
    The curious wonders of its coral caves.
    And so, despite thy caution or thy tears,
    The prying fingers of detective years
    Shall drag thy secret out into the light.

  16. The Instructor
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Not till we meet with Love in all his beauty,
    In all his solemn majesty and worth,
    Can we translate the meaning of life's duty,
    Which God oft writes in cipher at our birth.

    Not till Love comes in all his strength and terror
    Can we read others' hearts; not till then know
    A wide compassion for all human error,
    Or sound the quivering depths of mortal woe.

    Not till we sail with him o'er stormy oceans,
    Have we seen tempests; hidden in his hand
    He holds the keys to all the great emotions;
    Till he unlocks them, none can understand.

    Not till we walk with him on lofty mountains
    Can we quite measure heights. And, O sad truth!
    When once we drink from his immortal fountains,
    We bid farewell to the light heart of youth.

    Thereafter our most perfect day will borrow
    A dimming shadow from some dreaded night;
    So great grows joy it merges into sorrow,
    And evermore pain tinctures our delight.

  17. Short Love Poems
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  18. A Grey Mood
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    As we hurry away to the end, my friend,
    Of this sad little farce called existence,
    We are sure that the future will bring one thing,
    And that is the grave in the distance.
    And so when our lives run along all wrong,
    And nothing seems real or certain,
    We can comfort ourselves with the thought (or not)
    Of that spectre behind the curtain.

    But we haven't much time to repine or whine,
    Or to wound or jostle each other;
    And the hour for us each is to-day, I say,
    If we mean to assist a brother.
    And there is no pleasure that earth gives birth,
    But the worry it brings is double;
    And all that repays for the strife of life
    Is helping some soul in trouble.

    I tell you, if I could go back the track
    To my life's morning hour,
    I would not set forth seeking name or fame,
    Or that poor bauble called power.
    I would be like the sunlight, and live to give;
    I would lend, but I would not borrow;
    Nor would I be blind and complain of pain,
    Forgetting the meaning of sorrow.

    This 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.
    It is reeking with hearts that ache and break,
    Which we ought to comfort and strengthen,
    As we hurry away to the end, my friend,
    And the shadows behind us lengthen.

  19. Poems About Helping Others
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  20. Uselessness
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Let mine not be the saddest fate of all,
    To live beyond my greater self; to see
    My faculties decaying, as the tree
    Stands stark and helpless while its green leaves fall
    Let me hear rather the imperious call,
    Which all men dread, in my glad morning time,
    And follow death ere I have reached my prime,
    Or drunk the strengthening cordial of life's gall.
    The lightning's stroke or the fierce tempest blast
    Which fells the green tree to the earth to-day
    Is kinder than the calm that lets it last,
    Unhappy witness of its own decay.
    May no man ever look on me and say,
    "She lives, but all her usefulness is past."

  21. Living Life Poem
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  22. Bleak Weather
    Poet: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Dear Love, where the red lilies blossomed and grew
    The white snows are falling;
    And all through the woods where I wandered with you
    The loud winds are calling;
    And the robin that piped to us tune upon tune,
    Neath the oak, you remember,
    O’er hilltop and forest has followed the June
    And left us December.

    He has left like a friend who is true in the sun
    And false in the shadows;
    He has found new delights in the land where he’s gone,
    Greener woodlands and meadows.
    Let him go! what care we? let the snow shroud the lea
    Let it drift on the heather;
    We can sing through it all; I have you, you have me,
    And we’ll laugh at the weather.

    The old year may die and a new year be born
    That is bleaker and colder:
    It cannot dismay us; we dare it, we scorn,
    For our love makes us bolder.
    Ah, Robin! sing loud on your far distant lea,
    You friend in fair weather!
    But here is a song sung that’s fuller of glee
    By two warm hearts together.

More Poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
13. Solitude 14. Show Me The Way
15. You Can Never Tell 16. Impatience
17. Life Is Too Short For 18. Whatever Is — Is Best
19. Old And New 20. Keep Out Of The Past
21. Love Poetry 22. What Love Is
23. Answered Prayers 24. The Actor

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