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Don't Quit
by
John Greenleaf Whittier


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When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

This poem is in the public domain.

 

 
Purchase a framed print of this poem.

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 - 1892) was one of the "Fireside Poets," called such because their work was popular enough to be read (ostensibly by the fire) in homes all over America. And Whittier was one of those rare poets who actually made a rather comfortable living from the proceeds of his work. Born into a Massachusetts farm family, Whittier was introduced to poetry by one of his school teachers. An avid reader and writer early on, Whittier spent much of his working life as an editor, though he had political aspirations as well. He was a staunch abolitionist, and produced two collections of anti-slavery poems, along with an anti-slavery pamphlet that managed to incur the wrath of bothsides and effectively any hopes Whittier had of a political career. Critical opinion on the value of Whittier's poetry is mixed. Some dismiss it as overly emotional, while others believe the heartfelt simplicity is precisely its appeal.

 

 


New comments are closed for now.
Messenger:
There is absolutely no way he wrote this poem! Read the wording Noone from that Era would talk like that. This poem was written by a young boy in Ohio who's Mother abandon him and his Father spent years in the prison system.
Posted 08/24/2016 09:21 AM
Cindy:
"Success is failure turned inside out" is a brilliant line.
Posted 04/28/2014 08:47 AM
Latha:
The world would be a better place if everyone follows this! Nice poem with a lot of good sense!
Posted 04/28/2014 06:17 AM
KevinArnold:
Oh, yeah. This poem reminds me of Ella Wheeler Wilcox's work--skirting the edge of sentimentality but never going over it. A pep talk I know I can use and I'm sure I'm not alone.
Posted 04/27/2014 11:31 PM


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