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Poems About Perseverance

Table of Contents

  1. Persevere by Anonymous
  2. Keep A-Pluggin' Away by Laurence Dunbar
  3. The Hustling Pumpkin Vine by Ed. Blair
  4. Perseverance by Alice Cary
  5. Good Company by Anonymous
  6. How Did You Die? by Edmund Vance Cooke
  7. Keep a-Goin by Frank L. Stanton
  8. Perseverance by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  9. God Will Count Your Honest Try by William Henry Dawson
  10. Endeavor by Anonymous
  11. Try, Try Again by William E. Hickson
  12. Boys Wanted by Anonymous
  13. Effort by Edgar A. Guest
  14. I Will Be Worthy of It by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  15. Clinching the Bolt by Edgar A. Guest
  16. Earnestness by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  17. Resolve by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  18. His Other Chance by Edgar A. Guest
  19. Do Your Best by Kate Louise Wheeler
  20. Resolution by Ruby Archer
  21. What the Birds Teach Us by J. R. Eastwood
  22. Keep Going by Edgar A. Guest
  23. See It Through by Edgar A. Guest

By diligence and patience, the mouse bit in two the cable.

– Ben Franklin
Poor Richard's Almanack
  1. Persevere

    Be patient,—stick with it and hold fast:
    The man who travels a mile each day,
    May get 'round the world at last.

    - Anonymous
    by Anonymous

    The fisher who draws in his net too soon,
    Won't have any fish to sell;
    The child who shuts up his book too soon,
    Won't learn any lessons well.

    If you would have your learning stay,
    Be patient,—stick with it and hold fast:
    The man who travels a mile each day,
    May get round the world at last.

    Old man Can't is dead; I helped bury him.

    – Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' Grandfather
  2. Keep A-Pluggin' Away

    Perseverance still is king;
    Time its sure reward will bring;
    Work and wait unwearying,—
    Keep a-pluggin' away.

    - Paul Laurence Dunbar
    Keep A-Pluggin' Away
    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    I've a humble little motto
    That is homely, though it's true, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    It's a thing when I've an object
    That I always try to do, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    When you've rising storms to quell,
    When opposing waters swell,
    It will never fail to tell, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.

    If the hills are high before
    And the paths are hard to climb,
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    And remember that successes
    Come to him who bides his time, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    From the greatest to the least,
    None are from the rule released.
    Be thou toiler, poet, priest,
    Keep a-pluggin' away.

    Delve away beneath the surface,
    There is treasure farther down, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    Let the rain come down in torrents,
    Let the threat'ning heavens frown,
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    When the clouds have rolled away,
    There will come a brighter day
    All your labor to repay, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.

    There 'll be lots of sneers to swallow.
    There 'll be lots of pain to bear, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    If you've got your eye on heaven,
    Some bright day you'll wake up there,
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    Perseverance still is king;
    Time its sure reward will bring;
    Work and wait unwearying,—
    Keep a-pluggin' away.

  3. The Hustling Pumpkin Vine

    by Ed. Blair

    Say boy, don't go a mopin' 'round 'n' talkin' in a whine,
    But go out in the field and view the hustling pumpkin vine.
    It has the kind o' stuff in it that's needed, boy, in you,
    A kind o' get there quality thet most folks say will do.

    The weeds may grow around it but the pumpkin vine don't stop,
    It shows it's there fer business an' it climbs right out on top.
    An' if it strikes a big stone fence or ditch that may be wide,
    It jes' lines out 'n strings the pumpkins on the other side.

    So boy, don't let the weeds or ditches drive you from your way,
    But go ahead and get on top—do something every day.
    An' if things look discouraging, don't ever mope or whine,
    But go and learn a lesson from the hustling pumpkin vine.

  4. Perseverance

    by Alice Cary

    The boy who does a stroke, and stops—
    Will ne’er a great man be;
    ’Tis the aggregate of single drops
    That makes the sea the sea.

    The mountain was not at its birth
    A mountain, so to speak:
    The little atoms of sand and earth
    Have made its peak a peak.

    Not all at once the morning streams
    Its gold above the gray,
    It takes a thousand little beams
    To make the day the day

    Not from the snow-drift, May awakes,
    In purples, reds, and greens;
    Spring's whole bright retinue it takes
    To make her queen of queens.

    Upon the orchard, rain must fall,
    And soak from branch to root,
    And blossoms bloom and fade withal,
    Before the fruit is fruit.

    The farmer needs must sow and till
    And wait the wheaten head,
    Then cradle, thresh, and go to mill,
    Before his bread is bread.

    Swift heels may get the early shout,
    But, spite of all the din,
    It is the patient holding out
    That makes the winner win.

    Make this your motto, then, at start,
    ’Twill help to smooth the way,
    And steady up both hand and heart,—
    “Rome wasn't built in a day!”

  5. Good Company

    by Anonymous

    “I’ll Try!” is a soldier;
    “I will” is a king;
    Be sure they are near
    When the school-bells ring.

    When school-days are over,
    And boys are men,
    “I’ll Try!” and “I Will!”
    Are good things then.

  6. How Did You Die?

    It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
    But to lie there—that's disgrace.

    - Edmund Vance Cooke
    How Did You Die?
    by Edmund Vance Cooke

    Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
    With a resolute heart and cheerful?
    Or hide your face from the light of day
    With a craven soul and fearful?
    Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
    Or a trouble is what you make it,
    And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
    But only how did you take it?

    You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that!
    Come up with a smiling face.
    It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
    But to lie there—that's disgrace.
    The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce
    Be proud of your blackened eye!
    It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts;
    It's how did you fight and why?

    And though you be done to the death, what then?
    If you battled the best you could,
    If you played your part in the world of men,
    Why, the Critic will call it good.
    Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
    And whether he's slow or spry,
    It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts,
    But only, how did you die?

  7. Keep a-Goin

    by Frank L. Stanton

    If you strike a thorn or rose,
    Keep a-goin'!
    If it hails, or if it snows,
    Keep a-goin!
    'Taint no use to sit an' whine,
    When the fish ain't on yer line;
    Bait yer hook an' keep a-tryin'—
    Keep a-goin'!

    When the weather kills yer crop,
    Keep a-goin'!
    When you tumble from the top,
    Keep a-goin'!
    S'pose you're out of every dime,
    Bein' so ain't any crime;
    Tell the world you're feelin' prime—
    Keep a-goin'!

    When it looks like all is up,
    Keep a-goin'!
    Drain the sweetness from the cup,
    Keep a-goin'!
    See the wild birds on the wing,
    Hear the bells that sweetly ring,
    When you feel like sighin' sing—
    Keep a-goin'!

  8. Perseverance

    by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    We must not hope to be mowers,
    And to gather the ripe gold ears,
    Unless we have first been sowers
    And watered the furrows with tears.

    It is not just as we take it,
    This mystical world of ours,
    Life's field will yield as we make it
    A harvest of thorns or of flowers.

    Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

    – 2 Corinthians 9:6
    The Bible, NIV

  9. God Will Count Your Honest Try

    by William Henry Dawson

    If in life's great, onward battle
    You have done your best and lost,
    If amid the din and rattle
    You regarded not the cost,
    If you met your foeman bravely,
    If you dared to do or die,
    God will credit you, most surely,
    For your fearless, honest try.

    Have you sometimes felt discouraged,
    Felt that life had lost its charm,
    And that every effort failed you,
    Bringing to you only harm?
    Look within and ask this question:
    "Have I done my level best?"
    If you answer, without guessing,
    "Yes," then God will do the rest.

    Has this neighbor won more glory?
    That one more of earthly store?
    Though your hair is thin and hoary,
    Are you poorer than before?
    Have you helped, with hands quite willing?
    Have you heard the orphan's cry?
    Given part of your last shilling?
    God will count your honest try.

  10. Endeavor

    You will never know your strength
    Without a test;
    Just by Better Street at length
    One reaches Best.

    - Anonymous
    by Anonymous

    "If at first you don't succeed,
    Try try again,"—
    That's a manly sort of creed
    For boys and men.

    Trying doesn't cost a cent,
    May win a prize;
    Men that mope in discontent
    Will never rise.

    There is magic in a try,
    Vigor and vim;
    He that trusts in "by and by,"
    Look out for him!

    You will never know your strength
    Without a test;
    Just by Better Street at length
    One reaches Best.

    Old man Can't is dead; I helped bury him.

    – Myers Anderson
    Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' Grandfather

  11. Try Again

    If at first you don't succeed,
    Try, try again;

    - Anonymous
    Try, Try Again
    by Anonymous. "Try Again" is a time honored short poem that teaches a life lesson which all children should learn: persistence in spite of failure.

    'T is a lesson you should heed,
    Try, try again;
    If at first you don't succeed,
    Try, try again;
    Then your courage should appear,
    For, if you will persevere,
    You will conquer, never fear;
    Try, try again.

    Once or twice though you should fail,
    Try, try again;
    If you would at last prevail,
    Try, try again;
    If we strive, 'tis no disgrace
    Though we do not win the race;
    What should you do in the case?
    Try, try again.

    If you find your task is hard,
    Try, try again;
    Time will bring you your reward,
    Try, try again.
    All that other folks can do,
    Why, with patience, should not you?
    Only keep this rule in view:
    Try, try again.

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.

    – Thomas Edison quote on failure

  12. Boys Wanted

    Not the weak and whining drones,
    Who all troubles magnify;
    Not the watchword of “I can’t,”
    But the nobler one, “I’ll try.”

    - Anonymous
    Boys Wanted
    by Anonymous

    Boys of spirit, boys of will,
    Boys of muscle, brain and power,
    Fit to cope with anything,
    These are wanted every hour.

    Not the weak and whining drones,
    Who all troubles magnify;
    Not the watchword of “I can’t,”
    But the nobler one, “I’ll try.”

    Do whate’er you have to do
    With a true and earnest zeal;
    Bend your sinews to the task,
    “Put your shoulders to the wheel.”

    Though your duty may be hard,
    Look not on it as an ill;
    If it be an honest task,
    Do it with an honest will.

    In the workshop, on the farm,
    At the desk, where’er you be,
    From your future efforts, boys,
    Comes a nation’s destiny.

  13. Adventurer's Luck

    by James W. Whilt

    Did you ever go a-trapping
    Where you knew the fur was plenty,
    Where a year ago you could have
    Made a bunch of "jack"?
    Next fall you got in early,
    Built your cabin in a hurry,—
    Then didn't even find a weasel track?

    Did you ever go prospecting
    Where the gold was found in millions,
    And even every musher
    Had made a pile of wealth?
    And you worked just like a beaver
    Cause you felt you couldn't leave 'er,
    And all you got was badly broken health?

    Did you ever go a-fishing
    When the weather,—it was perfect!
    And you gathered up your tackle
    And had it fixed just right:
    And you whipped the streams and bait-fished
    And maybe swore a little,
    And then you never even got a bite?

    Did you ever go a-hunting
    When the woods were damp and gloomy,
    Where everything was stillness
    And everywhere a trail,
    And you traveled over ridges,
    Through the hollows, round the ledges
    And then you never even glimpsed a tail?

    But such is luck I find it,
    And the fellow who stays by it
    Will at last succeed and win the day:
    Be he trapper, or prospector,
    Be he fisherman, or hunter,
    I have always found it
    That it's pluck that wins the day.

  14. Effort

    by Edgar A. Guest

    He brought me his report card from the teacher and he said
    He wasn't very proud of it and sadly bowed his head.
    He was excellent in reading, but arithmetic, was fair,
    And I noticed there were several "unsatisfactorys" there;
    But one little bit of credit which was given brought me joy—
    He was "excellent in effort," and I fairly hugged the boy.

    "Oh, it doesn't make much difference what is written on your card,"
    I told that little fellow, "if you're only trying hard.
    The 'very goods' and 'excellents' are fine, I must agree,
    But the effort you are making means a whole lot more to me;
    And the thing that's most important when this card is put aside
    Is to know, in spite of failure, that to do your best you've tried.

    "Just keep excellent in effort—all the rest will come to you.
    There isn't any problem but some day you'll learn to do,
    And at last, when you grow older, you will come to understand
    That by hard and patient toiling men have risen to command
    And some day you will discover when a greater goal's at stake
    That better far than brilliance is the effort you will make."

  15. I Will Be Worthy of It

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    I may not reach the heights I seek,
    My untried strength may fail me;
    Or, half-way up the mountain peak,
    Fierce tempests may assail me.
    But though that place I never gain,
    Herein lies comfort for my pain—
    I will be worthy of it.

    I may not triumph in success,
    Despite my earnest labor;
    I may not grasp results that bless
    The efforts of my neighbor;
    But though my goal I never see
    This thought shall always dwell with me—
    I will be worthy of it.

    The golden glory of Love's light
    May never fall on my way;
    My path may always lead through night,
    Like some deserted by-way;
    But though life's dearest joy I miss
    There lies a nameless strength in this—
    I will be worthy of it.

  16. Clinching the Bolt

    by Edgar A. Guest

    It needed just an extra turn to make the bolt secure,
    A few more minutes on the job and then the work was sure;
    But he begrudged the extra turn, and when the task was through,
    The man was back for more repairs in just a day or two.

    Two men there are in every place, and one is only fair,
    The other gives the extra turn to every bolt that's there;
    One man is slip-shod in his work and eager to be quit,
    The other never leaves a task until he's sure of it.

    The difference 'twixt good and bad is not so very much,
    A few more minutes at the task, an extra turn or touch,
    A final test that all is right—and yet the men are few
    Who seem to think it worth their while these extra things to do.

    The poor man knows as well as does the good man how to work,
    But one takes pride in every task, the other likes to shirk;
    With just as little as he can, one seeks his pay to earn,
    The good man always gives the bolt that clinching, extra turn.

  17. Earnestness

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    The hurry of the times affects us so
    In this swift rushing hour, we crowd and press,
    And thrust each other backward, as we go,
    And do not pause to lay sufficient stress
    Upon that good, strong, true word, Earnestness.
    In our impetuous haste, could we but know
    Its full, deep meaning, its vast import, oh,
    Then might we grasp the secret of success!
    In that receding age when men were great,
    The bone, and sinew of their purpose lay
    In this one word. God likes an earnest soul—
    Too earnest to be eager. Soon or late
    It leaves the spent horde breathless by the way,
    And stands serene, triumphant, at the goal.

  18. Resolve

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Build on resolve, and not upon regret,
    The structure of thy future. Do not grope
    Among the shadows of old sins, but let
    Thine own soul's light shine on the path of hope
    And dissipate the darkness. Waste no tears
    Upon the blotted record of lost years,
    But turn the leaf, and smile, oh, smile, to see
    The fair white pages that remain for thee.

    Prate not of thy repentance. But believe
    The spark divine dwells in thee: let it grow.
    That which the upreaching spirit can achieve
    The grand and all-creative forces know;
    They will assist and strengthen as the light
    Lifts up the acorn to the oak tree's height.
    Thou hast but to resolve, and lo! God's whole
    Great universe shall fortify thy soul.

  19. His Other Chance

    by Edgar A. Guest

    He was down and out, and his pluck was gone,
    And he said to me in a gloomy way:
    "I've wasted my chances, one by one,
    And I'm just no good, as the people say.
    Nothing ahead, and my dreams all dust,
    Though once there was something I might have been,
    But I wasn't game, and I broke my trust,
    And I wasn't straight and I wasn't clean."

    "You're pretty low down," says I to him,
    "But nobody's holding you there, my friend.
    Life is a stream where men sink or swim,
    And the drifters come to a sorry end;
    But there's two of you living and breathing still—
    The fellow you are, and he's tough to see,
    And another chap, if you've got the will,
    The man that you still have a chance to be."

    He laughed with scorn. "Is there two of me?
    I thought I'd murdered the other one.
    I once knew a chap that I hoped to be,
    And he was decent, but now he's gone."
    "Well," says I, "it may seem to you
    That life has little of joy in store,
    But there's always something you still can do,
    And there's never a man but can try once more.

  20. Do Your Best

    by Kate Louise Wheeler

    Make the best of life today—
    Take what God has given;
    Do not falter on the way—
    Each step leads to Heaven.

    Tho' the journey may be long,
    And the way be weary,
    Make it shorter with a song—
    Days will seem less dreary.

    Let the sunshine fill your heart—
    All it's shadows hiding;
    Do your humble little part—
    Leave to God the guiding.

    Do not soar to highest things
    'Till you have a reason;
    He will give the soul it's wings
    In his own good season.

    Little robins in the nest—
    Ere their wings are stronger—
    Learn too late that it is best
    To keep patient longer.

    If you cannot do to-day
    What you hope and plan,
    God will show a better way,—
    Do the best you can.

  21. Resolution

    by Ruby Archer

    The waves oppose the cliffs with daily force,
    And fall resisted back along their course.
    My soul opposes fate with daily will,
    And falls resisted back, defeated still,
    With gathered strength returning, like the waves,
    To wrest complete dominion that it craves.
    The cliffs are stone, and stone will wear away.
    Spirit shall rule, and fate itself obey.

  22. What the Birds Teach Us

    by J. R. Eastwood

    November now is here,
    With skies of leaden hue,
    And gloomy days and drear,
    And winds that pierce us through.

    And on the hedge the rose,
    With leaves of tender green,
    No more in beauty grows,
    And frost and snow are seen.

    But still the Birds contrive,
    By hardship unsubdued,
    To keep themselves alive,
    And keenly seek their food.

    And thus they teach us still,
    However dark the day,
    "That where there is a Will
    There always is a Way."

  23. Keep Going

    by Edgar A. Guest

    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.

  24. See It Through

    by Edgar Albert Guest

    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!

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