The world is a queer old fellow;
As you journey along by his side
You had better conceal any trouble you feel
If you want to tickle his pride.
No matter how heavy your burden —
Don’t tell about it, pray,
He will only grow colder and shrug his shoulder
And hurriedly walk away.
But carefully cover your sorrow,
And the world will be your friend,
If only you’ll bury your woes and be merry
He’ll cling to you close to the end.
Don’t ask him to lift one finger
To lighten your burden, because
He never will share it, but silently bear it,
And he will be loud with applause.
The world is a vain old fellow,
You must laugh at his sallies of wit
No matter how brutal, remonstrance is futile
And frowns will not change him one whit.
And since you must journey together
Down paths where all mortal feet go,
Why life holds more savor to keep in his favor,
For he’s an unmerciful foe.
— Ella Wheeler Wilcox in New York Mercury.
The Watchman and Southron (Sumter, South Carolina), 27 July 1887, p. 4 (1st column)
Daphne Dale, The Speakers’ Library: The Latest and Most Popular Literary Gems for Public and Parlor Entertainment, Chicago: Elliott & Beezley, 1890, pp. 315-316
Notes by Andrew Guild:
This poem is by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, who was born in 1850 in the USA, and died in 1919.