The Inspirational Words Of Wisdom Of Edgar Albert Guest

On Quitting

How much grit do you think you’ve got?
Can you quit a thing that you like a lot?
You may talk of pluck; it’s an easy word,
And where’er you go it is often heard;
But can you tell to a jot or guess
Just how much courage you now possess?

You may stand to trouble and keep your grin,
But have you tackled self-discipline?
Have you ever issued commands to you
To quit the things that you like to do,
And then, when tempted and sorely swayed,
Those rigid orders have you obeyed?

Don’t boast of your grit till you’ve tried it out,
Nor prate to men of your courage stout,
For it’s easy enough to retain a grin
In the face of a fight there’s a chance to win,
But the sort of grit that is good to own
Is the stuff you need when you’re all alone.

How much grit do you think you’ve got?
Can you turn from joys that you like a lot?
Have you ever tested yourself to know
How far with yourself your will can go?
If you want to know if you have grit,
Just pick out a joy that you like, and quit.

It’s bully sport and it’s open fight;
It will keep you busy both day and night;
For the toughest kind of a game you’ll find
Is to make your body obey your mind.
And you never will know what is meant by grit
Unless there’s something you’ve tried to quit.

Edgar Albert Guest published more than twenty volumes of poetry and was thought to have written over 11,000 poems. Guest has been called “the poet of the people” because his poems presented a deeply sentimental view of everyday life. Most often, his poems were fourteen lines long.

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It Couldn’t Be Done

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
But, he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one has done it”;
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle it in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That “couldn’t be done,” and you’ll do it.

1919 was the date of publication of this poem in “The Path To Home” but it is known to have been in print at least as early as 1917. He started working in 1893 when he was eleven years old after his father lost his job. He dropped out of high school to work full-time at Detroit Free Press as a copy boy. He worked there for almost sixty-five years and moved up the ranks from copy boy to “a newspaper man who wrote verses.” as he put it himself.

“I take simple everyday things that happen to me and I figure it happens to a lot of other people and I make simple rhymes out of them.”

Courage, Courage, Courage  

When the burden grows heavy, and rough is the way,
When you falter and slip, and it isn’t your day,
And your best doesn’t measure to what is required,
When you know in your heart that you’re fast growing tired,
With the odds all against you, there’s one thing to do:
That is, call on your courage and see the thing through.

Who battles for victory ventures defeat.
Misfortune is something we all have to meet ;
Take the loss with the grace you would take in the gain.
When things go against you, don’t whine or complain;
Just call on your courage and grin if you can.
Though you fail to succeed, do not fail as a man.

There are dark days and stormy, which come to us all,
When about us in ruin our hopes seem to fall.
But stand to whatever you happen to meet—
We must all drink the bitter as well as the sweet.
And the test of your courage is: What do you do
In the hour when reverses are coming to you.

Never changed is the battle by curse or regret,
Though you whimper and whine, still the end must be met
And who fights a good fight, though he struggle in vain,
Shall have many a vict’ry to pay for his pain.
So take your reverses as part of the plan
Which God has devised for creating a man.

All of Guest’s poems were published in Newspapers before being collected in bound volumes. The Chicago firm of Reilly and Britton began publishing his books at a rate of nearly one per year. His collections include Just Folks (1917), Over Here (1918), When Day Is Done (1921), The Passing Throng (1923), Harbor Lights of Home (1928), and Today and Tomorrow (1942).

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See It Through

When you’re up against a trouble,
    Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
    Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
    Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
    See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
    And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
    Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
    Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
    See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
    When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
    Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
    Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
    See it through!

He published his verses under the heading “Chaff” in the free press. Those columns evolved into an immensely popular daily feature entitled “Breakfast Table Chat,” and were carried by more than 300 newspapers. For more than 30 years, there was not a single day that the newspaper went into print without Eddie’s verse in it. In 1939, he told “Editor & Publisher,” “I’ve never been late with my copy and I’ve never missed an edition. And that’s seven days a week.”

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Keep Going

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 queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure 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 slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And 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 that you mustn’t quit.

I want to be able, as days go by, always to look myself straight in the eye

Edgar Albert Guest

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Hard Luck

Ain’t no use as I can see
In sittin’ underneath a tree
An’ growlin’ that your luck is bad,
An’ that your life is extra sad;
Your life ain’t sadder than your neighbor’s
Nor any harder are your labors;
It rains on him the same as you,
An’ he has work he hates to do;
An’ he gits tired an’ he gits cross,
An’ he has trouble with the boss;
You take his whole life, through an’ through,
Why, he’s no better off than you.

If whinin’ brushed the clouds away
I wouldn’t have a word to say;
If it made good friends out o’ foes
I’d whine a bit, too, I suppose;
But when I look around an’ see
A lot o’ men resemblin’ me,
An’ see ’em sad, an’ see ’em gay
With work t’ do most every day,
Some full o’ fun, some bent with care,
Some havin’ troubles hard to bear,
I reckon, as I count my woes,
They’re ’bout what everybody knows.

The day I find a man who’ll say
He’s never known a rainy day,
Who’ll raise his right hand up an’ swear
In forty years he’s had no care,
Has never had a single blow,
An’ never known one touch o’ woe,
Has never seen a loved one die,
Has never wept or heaved a sigh,
Has never had a plan go wrong,
But allas laughed his way along;
Then I’ll sit down an’ start to whine
That all the hard luck here is mine.

This English-born American poet, popular in the first half of the 20th century, was born in Birmingham, England in 1881, and moved to Michigan USA as a young child. He found great success in his lifetime. His most popular collection, “It Takes a Heap o’ Livin’,” sold more than a million copies by itself. Edgar Guest died in his sleep on August 5, 1959 due to a cerebral hemorrhage and was buried in Detroit’s Woodlawn Cemetery.

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Equipment

Figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You’ve all that the greatest of men have had,
Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes,
And a brain to use if you would be wise.
With this equipment they all began,
So start for the top and say “I can.”

Look them over, the wise and great,
They take their food from a common plate
And similar knives and forks they use,
With similar laces they tie their shoes,
The world considers them brave and smart.
But you’ve all they had when they made their start.

You can triumph and come to skill,
You can be great if only you will,
You’re well equipped for what fight you choose,
You have legs and arms and a brain to use,
And the man who has risen, great deeds to do
Began his life with no more than you.

You are the handicap you must face,
You are the one who must choose your place,
You must say where you want to go.
How much you will study the truth to know,
God has equipped you for life, But He
Lets you decide what you want to be.

Courage must come from the soul within,
The man must furnish the will to win,
So figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You were born with all that the great have had,
With your equipment they all began.
Get hold of yourself, and say: “I can.”

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BONUS POEM

Myself

I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun
and hate myself for the things I have done.
I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
a lot of secrets about myself
and fool myself as I come and go
into thinking no one else will ever know
the kind of person I really am,
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
but here in the struggle for fame and wealth
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know that
I am bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and so,
whatever happens I want to be
self respecting and conscience free.

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Edgar Albert Guest’s Works:

A Dozen New Poems (1920)
A Heap o’ Livin’ (1916)
All That Matters (1922)
All in a Lifetime (1938)
Between You and Me: My Philosophy of Life (1938)
Collected Verse of Edgar Guest (1934)
Faith (1932)
Harbor Lights of Home (1928)
Home Rhymes, from Breakfast Table Chat (1909)
Just Folks (1917)
Just Glad Tidings (1916)
Life’s Highway (1933)
Living the Years (1949)
Mother (1925)
Over Here (1918)
Poems for the Home Folks (1930)
Rhymes of Childhood (1928)
Sunny Songs (1920)
The Friendly Way (1931)
The Light of Faith (1926)
The Passing Throng (1923)
The Path to Home (1919)
Today and Tomorrow (1942)
When Day Is Done (1921)
You (1927)

4 Comments Add yours

    1. KENDI KARIMI says:

      Thank you. 💛❤️💙

      Liked by 1 person

      1. KENDI KARIMI says:

        Thank you. I also follow you too. 🤗

        Like

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