by Lois Flesche
Ella Wheeler Wilcox, who lived in
Short Beach from 1891 until her death in 1919, was
considered the “Poetess of Passion” and was among the
most famous of Branford’s residents.
Her first book, Drops
of Water, was published in 1872, when she was 22
years old, but her most famous book, Poems of
Passion, published in 1883, brought her fame
throughout the United States and Europe. She is perhaps
best remembered for her poem Solitude, which
begins: Laugh, and the world laughs with you/ Weep, and
you weep alone.”
A highlight of her career
came in 1901 when she was selected by W. R. Hearst,
editor of N.Y. American newspaper, to write a poet’s
impression of a royal funeral upon the death of Queen
Born in 1850 in
Wisconsin, Ella Wheeler married Robert Wilcox of Meridan,
Connecticut in 1884. The couple lived for a time in New
York City but in 1891 came for a visit to Short Beach,
fell in love with the area and made it their year around
house. It became the site for many social gatherings
that brought together literary and artistic figures of
Ella Wilcox termed her
Short Beach home her “Earthly Eden” and wrote a poem,
Granite Bay, dedicated to the area.
Laugh, and the world laughs with
Weep and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must
borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its
Sing and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound to a joyful
But shrink from voicing care.
Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure of all
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are
Be sad, and you lose them all –
There are none to decline your
But alone you must drink life’s
Feast and your halls are
Fast and the world goes by.
Succeed and give and it helps
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of
For a large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file
Through the narrow aisles of
Questions or Suggestions?