Don’t Quit by Edgar Albert Guest

Don’t Quit

by Edgar Albert Guest

Don't Quit by Edgar Albert Guest


When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

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 queer with its twists and turns.

As everyone of us sometimes learns.

And many a fellow turns 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.

Often the goal is nearer than it seems to a faint and faltering man;


Often the struggler has given up when he might have captured the victor’s cup;

and he learned too late when the night came down,

how close he was to the golden crown.


Success is failure turned inside out – the silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

and when you never can tell how close you are,

it may be near when it seems afar;

so stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit – it’s when things seem worst, you must not quit.

About the Poet

Edgar Albert Guest was a British-born U.S. writer whose poems were widely read during the first half of the 20th century. Guest’s family relocated from Warwickshire, England to the United States in 1891, when Guest was 10 years old.

Edgar Guest began his career at the Detroit Free Press in 1895, where he first worked as a copyboy. He was soon promoted to police writer and later to exchange editor, and in 1904 he began writing verse for the Free Press under the heading “Chaff.”

Those columns evolved into an immensely popular daily feature entitled “Breakfast Table Chat,” which, at the height of its popularity, was syndicated in about 300 other newspapers.

In 1916 Guest published A Heap O’ Livin’, a collection of verses that eventually sold more than 1,000,000 copies. That work was followed by Just Folks (1918), Rhythms of Childhood (1924), Life’s Highway (1933), and Living the Years (1949).

Summary of the Poem

Edgar Albert Guest‘s inspirational poem ‘Don’t Quit’ should inspire readers to work hard no matter how impossible a situation appears.

The speaker admits in the first stanzas of this poem that things will seem “low” at times in one’s life. One may wish to be happy but must contend with negative circumstances beyond their control. “Rest if you must, but don’t quit,” he says on these occasions.

As the lines progress, the speaker includes a number of hazy descriptions of people who have struggled and given up without realizing how close they were to success.

The poem concludes on the same note it began, encouraging readers to persevere even when “you’re hardest hit.”

Structure and Form

Edgar Albert Guest‘s ‘Don’t Quit’ is a four-stanza poem divided into uneven sets of lines. The first two stanzas have five lines, known as quintains, the second has three lines, known as tercets, and the fourth has four lines. This is referred to as a quatrain.

The stanzas also contain numerous examples of perfect rhymes. The first and second stanzas rhyme AABBC and AABCD, respectively. The third stanza rhymes ABB, while the final four lines rhyme ABBC.

Although the poem does not adhere to a single rhyme scheme, the use of rhyme throughout aids in the creation of a consistent pattern, making the poem more song-like as a whole.

Literary Techniques

Several literary devices are employed by the poet throughout ‘Don’t Quit.’ Among these are, but are not limited to:

1. Caesura

A pause in a line of verse is introduced by the poet. This could be accomplished through the use of punctuation or a natural pause in the meter. For instance,  “when care is pressing you down a bit – rest if you must, but don’t you quit”.

2. Imagery

Imagery is the use of descriptive language that is particularly interesting. It should arouse the reader’s senses, inspiring them to vividly imagine the scene. For instance, “Don’t give up though the pace seems slow – you may succeed with another blow.”

3. Alliteration

Alliteration occurs when a poet uses the same consonant sound at the beginning of several lines. For example, in line four of the first stanza, “smile” and “sigh” and “twists” and “turns” in line one of the second stanza.

4. Repetition

When a poet repeats one or more elements of a poem, this is known as repetition. This could be a structure, an image, a word, a phrase, or something else. In this instance, the poet employs several forms of repetition, including anaphora.

In conclusion, perseverance is the central theme of this poem. Whatever one is going through in life, it is critical to remain strong, and confident, and not give up, no matter what the outcome appears to be.

Readers who appreciated this content should check some of the other poems and poetry commentary here.

Comments (1)

  1. Major thankies for the article post.Much thanks again. Awesome.

    January 17, 2024 at 1:08 am

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