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ELLA WHEELER WILCOX
American writer, poet and journalist
(1850 - 1919)

Change is the watchword of progression.
      - [Change]

No question is ever settled
  Until it is settled right.
      - [Right]

One ship sails east, another west,
  By the self-same winds that blow.
    It isn't the gales, it's the set of the sails,
      That determines the way we go.
      - [Direction]

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 nectar'd wine,
              But alone you must drink life's gall.
      - [Friendship]

There is new strength, repose of mind, and inspiration in fresh apparel.
      - [Apparel]

Though smooth be the heartless prayer, no ear in heaven will mind it;
  And the finest phrase falls dead, if there is no feeling behind it.
      - Art and Heart (st. 2) [Prayer]

And from the discontent of man
  The world's best progress springs.
      - Discontent [Discontent]

The world has a thousand creeds, and never a one have I;
  Nor church of my own, though a million spires are pointing the way on high.
    But I float on the bosom of faith, that bears me along like a river;
      And the lamp of my soul is alight with love, for life, and the world, and the Giver.
      - Heresy [Religion]

But though that place I never gain,
  Herein lies comfort for my pain:
    I will be worthy of it.
      - I Will be Worthy of It [Worth]

The days grow shorter, the nights grow longer,
  The headstones thicken along the way;
    And life grows sadder, but love grows stronger
      For those who walk with us day by day.
      - Interlude [Life]

If all the ships I have at sea
  Should come a-sailing home to me,
    Ah, well! the harbor would not hold
      So many ships as there would be
        If all my ships came home from sea.
      - My Ships, from "Poems of Passion" [Ships]

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.
      - Our Lives (st. 102),
        claimed for Rev. Thomas Gibbons in his 1700's book, see "Notes and Queries", Apr. 1, 1905
        [Life]

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
  Fast, and the world goes by.
      - Solitude [Festivities]

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.
      - Solitude,
        claimed by Col. John A. Joyce, who had it engraved on his tombstone
        [Laughter]

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 [Religion]

And let its meaning permeate
  Whatever comes, This too shall pass away.
      - This too shall pass away [Time]

One ship drives East, and one drives West,
  By the selfsame wind that blows;
    It's the set of the sails, and not the gales,
      Which determines the way it goes.
      - Winds of Fate [Ships]

It is easy enough to be prudent,
  When nothing tempts you to stray;
    When without or within no voice of sin
      Is luring your soul away;
        But it's only a negative virtue
          Until it is tried by fire,
            And the life that is worth the honor of earth,
              Is the one that resists desire.
      - Worth While [Worth]

'Tis easy enough to be pleasant,
  When life flows along like a song;
    But the man worth while is the one who will smile
      When everything does dead wrong;
        For the test of the heart is trouble,
          And it always comes with the years,
            But the smile that is worth the praise of earth
              Is the smile that comes through tears.
                . . . .
                  But the virtue that conquers passion,
                    And the sorrow that hides in a smile--
                      It is these that are worth the homage of earth,
                        For we find them but once in a while.
      - Worth While [Smiles]


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