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Don't Quit
John Greenleaf Whittier

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 slowó
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside outó
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 hitó
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

This poem is in the public domain.

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.

Post New Comment:
This poem wasn't written by Whittier, it was written by Edgar Guest and originally published by multiple newspapers in 1921. It has since been incorrectly attributed to numerous other people. But the evidence that it was written by Guest is overwhelming.
Posted 05/28/2021 12:58 PM
Plant Man:
This poem helped create in me a don?t quit attitude in my life while in high school. I used it in speeches then and nearly forty years later it hangs on the wall of my office and I am still using it to encourage people NOT TO QUIT.
Posted 08/19/2020 09:39 PM
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit. (You have to fight because you can and you want to) this is nice poem for all person or someone to realize that not quit and still fighting into end
Posted 10/29/2019 09:29 PM
"Success is failure turned inside out" is a brilliant line.
Posted 04/28/2014 08:47 AM
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
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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