Don't Quit

by 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 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. 

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.