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Poems For Boys

Table of Contents

  1. Saying and Doing by Anonymous
  2. Good Company by Anonymous
  3. The Hustling Pumpkin Vine by Uncle Mose
  4. The Little Gentleman by Anonymous
  5. Credo by Roy Neal
  6. How Strong Are You? by Amos Russel Wells
  7. The Climax by Anonymous
  8. Chums by J.W. Foley
  9. Endeavor by Anonymous
  10. Boys Wanted by Anonymous
  11. Columbus by Helen L. Smith
  12. A Little Boy and a Cherry Tree by Annette Wynne
  13. Lincoln by Annette Wynne
  14. Example by Edgar A. Guest
  15. A Good Name by Anonymous
  16. Be True, Boys by Henry Downton
  17. The Boy Who Never Told a Lie by Anonymous
  18. The Worm by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  19. A Sailor Bold by Annette Wynne
  20. Trains in the Grass by Annette Wynne

  1. Saying and Doing

    by Amos Russel Wells

    It isn't the talk that will count, boys,
    But the doing that springs from the talk.
    To what will your walking amount, boys.
    With no goal at the end of your walk?

    What's the use of a ladder set up, boys,
    With the end resting only on air?
    What's the use of a nobly filled cup boys,
    If no one to drink it is there?

    What's the use of a capital plan, boys,
    That never is more than a scheme?
    He makes a poor, scatter brained man boys,
    That begins in his boyhood to dream.

    No; talk on and plan as you will, boys,
    But remember, if you would succeed.
    It isn't the talk that shows skill, boys,
    But the end of the talking,--the deed!

  2. 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.

  3. The Hustling Pumpkin Vine

    by Uncle Mose

    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. The Little Gentleman

    by Anonymous

    Take your meals, my little man,
    Always like a gentleman;
    Wash your face and hands with care,
    Change your shoes, and brush your hair;
    Then so fresh, and clean, and neat,
    Come and take your proper seat:
    Do not loiter and be late,
    Making other people wait;
    Do not rudely point or touch:
    Do not eat and drink too much:
    Finish what you have, before
    You even ask, or send for more:
    Never crumble or destroy
    Food that others might enjoy;
    They who idly crumbs will waste
    Often want a loaf to taste!
    Never spill your milk or tea,
    Never rude or noisy be;
    Never choose the daintiest food,
    Be content with what is good:
    Seek in all things that you can
    To be a little gentleman.

  5. Credo

    by Roy Neal

    Mix a little shake of laughter in the doings of the day,
    Scatter golden bits of sunshine as you plod along the way,
    Stop to cheer a fellow human that's a bit worse off than you—
    Help him climb the pesky ladder that you find so hard to do;
    Show by every daily motive, every thought and every deed—
    You are one that folks can turn to when they find themselves in need;

    Just forget the rugged places—make believe they're slick and smooth;
    When you spot the troubled faces, pull a grin and try to soothe;
    Life's a game—a mighty short one—play it gamely while you can—
    Let the score book show the record that you measured up a MAN!
    Pretty pomes and marble towers won't avail you very much,
    When you've passed—unless you've helped to lighten heavy loads and such;
    Better far to have your neighbors say you were a cheerful chap,
    Always kind and always helpful—if you're that, you'll leave a gap;
    You may scatter filthy lucre to your merry heart's content,
    And forgotten be much sooner than some good-souled homeless gent;
    Chances are that in the making of your sordid pile of cash,
    In your handclasps you were faking, though you did show pep and dash;
    Never mind about the fortune you made up your mind to pile—
    But just live the GOLDEN RULE, lad, and your life will be worth while.

  6. The Climax

    by Amos Russel Wells

    I like a lad of muscles big.
    And lungs of shouting size
    Of active feet and figure trig
    And brightly beaming eyes;
    A lad who well can run a race.
    And push a paddle well,
    Or breast the waves with fishy grace.
    Or raise the schoolboy yell.

    But while he's strong for work and fun,
    I want him stronger still,—
    Yes, strong to help some weaker one,
    And strong of righteous will.
    And strong to pray, and strong to praise,
    And strong to answer No;
    And if he's strung in all these ways,
    He'll conquer every foe.

  7. Chums

    by J. W. Foley

    If we should be shipwrecked together
    And only had water for one,
    And it was the hottest of weather
    Right out in the boiling sun,
    He'd tell me—no matter how bad he
    Might want it—to take a drink first;
    And then he would smile—oh, so glad he
    Had saved me!—and perish from thirst!

    Or, if we were lost on the prairie
    And only had food for a day,
    He'd come and would give me the share he
    Had wrapped up and hidden away;
    And after I ate it with sadness
    He'd smile with his very last breath,
    And lay himself down full of gladness
    To save me—and starve right to death.

    And if I was wounded in battle
    And out where great danger might be,
    He'd come through the roar and the rattle
    Of guns and of bullets to me,
    He'd carry me out, full of glory,
    No matter what trouble he had,
    And then he would fall down, all gory
    With wounds, and would die—but be glad!

    We're chums—that's the reason he'd do it;
    And that's what a chum ought to be.
    And if it was fire he'd go through it,
    If I should call him to me.
    You see other fellows may know you,
    And friends that you have go and come;
    But a boy has one boy he can go to,
    For help all the time—that's his chum.

  8. Endeavor

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

    - Anonymous
    Endeavor
    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.

  9. Boys Wanted

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

    - 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.


    We want great men who, when fortune frowns, will not be discouraged.

    – Henry Knox, Colonel in the Continental Army
    written to his wife after the Battle of Long Island on Aug 27, 1776
  10. Columbus

    by Helen L. Smith

    A harbor in a sunny, southern city;
    Ships at their anchor, riding in the lee;
    A little lad, with steadfast eyes, and dreamy,
    Who ever watched the waters lovingly.

    A group of sailors, quaintly garbed and bearded;
    Strange tales, that snared the fancy of the child:
    Of far-off lands, strange beasts, and birds, and people,
    Of storm and sea-fight, danger-filled and wild.

    And ever in the boyish soul was ringing
    The urging, surging challenge of the sea,
    To dare,—as these men dared, its wrath and danger,
    To learn,—as they, its charm and mystery.

    Columbus, by the sunny, southern harbor,
    You dreamed the dreams that manhood years made true;
    Thank God for men—their deeds have crowned the ages—
    Who once were little dreamy lads like you.

  11. A Little Boy and a Cherry Tree

    by Annette Wynne

    A little boy and a cherry tree,
    A strong young man who proved to be
    A worker with his brain and hand,
    A soldier for his well-loved land,
    A statesman answering the call
    Of home and country, over all,
    A glorious patriot, noble son,
    A soldier—President—a man!
    Was Washington!

  12. Lincoln

    by Annette Wynne

    A log cabin, rude and rough—
    This was house and home enough
    For one small boy; there in the chimney place
    With glowing face
    The eager young eyes learned to trace
    Staunch old tales of staunch old men;
    In the firelight there and then
    The soul of Lincoln grew—
    And no one knew!
    Only the great and bitter strife
    Of later days brought into life
    Great deeds that blossomed in the gloom
    Of that dim shadowy firelit room.

  13. Example

    by Edgar A. Guest

    Perhaps the victory shall not come to me,
    Perhaps I shall not reach the goal I seek,
    It may be at the last I shall be weak
    And falter as the promised land I see;
    Yet I must try for it and strive to be
    All that a conqueror is. On to the peak,
    Must be my call—this way lies victory!
    Boy, take my hand and hear me when I speak.

    There is the goal. In honor make the fight.
    I may not reach it but, my boy, you can.
    Cling to your faith and work with all your might,
    Some day the world shall hail you as a man.
    And when at last shall come your happy day,
    Enough for me that I have shown the way.

  14. A Good Name

    by Anonymous

    Children, choose it,
    Don’t refuse it,
    ’Tis a precious diadem;
    Highly prize it,
    Don’t despise it,
    You will need it when you’re men.

    Love and cherish,
    Keep and nourish,
    ’Tis more precious far than gold;
    Watch and guard it,
    Don’t discard it,
    You will need it when you’re old.

  15. Be True, Boys

    by Henry Downton

    Whatever you are, be brave, boys!
    The liar’s a coward and slave, boys!
    Though clever at ruses
    And sharp at excuses,
    He’s a sneaking and pitiful knave, boys!

    Whatever you are, be frank, boys!
    ’Tis better than money and rank, boys!
    Still cleave to the right,
    Be lovers of light;
    Be open, aboveboard, and frank, boys!

    Whatever you are, be kind, boys!
    Be gentle in manners and mind, boys!
    The man gentle in mien,
    Words, and temper, I ween,
    Is the gentleman truly refined, boys!

    But, whatever you are, be true, boys!
    Be visible through and through, boys;
    Leave to others the shamming,
    The “greening” and "cramming"
    In fun and in earnest, be true, boys!

  16. The Boy Who Never Told a Lie

    by Anonymous

    Once there was a little boy,
    With curly hair and pleasant eye—
    A boy who always told the truth,
    And never, never told a lie.

    And when he trotted off to school,
    The children all about would cry,
    "There goes the curly-headed boy—
    The boy that never tells a lie."

    And everybody loved him so,
    Because he always told the truth,
    That every day, as he grew up,
    'Twas said, "There goes the honest youth."

    And when the people that stood near
    Would turn to ask the reason why,
    The answer would be always this:
    "Because he never tells a lie."

  17. The Worm

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    Dickie found a broken spade
    And said he'd dig himself a well;
    And then Charles took a piece of tin,
    And I was digging with a shell.

    Then Will said he would dig one too.
    We shaped them out and made them wide,
    And I dug up a piece of clod
    That had a little worm inside.

    We watched him pucker up himself
    And stretch himself to walk away.
    He tried to go inside the dirt,
    But Dickie made him wait and stay.

    His shining skin was soft and wet.
    I poked him once to see him squirm.
    And then Will said, "I wonder if
    He knows that he's a worm."

    And then we sat back on our feet
    And wondered for a little bit.
    And we forgot to dig our wells
    Awhile, and tried to answer it.

    And while we tried to find it out,
    He puckered in a little wad,
    And then he stretched himself again
    And went back home inside the clod.

  18. A Sailor Bold

    by Annette Wynne

    Sometimes I think I'd like to roam,
    A sailor bold across the sea,
    But how could Mother stay at home
    And be so very far from me?

    For who would sing my sleepy song,
    And tuck me in my sailor bed,
    And say God watches all night long,
    And kiss me when my prayers are said?

    I wonder if the sailor lad
    Is very, very lonely when
    The loud wind blows; and is he sad,
    And does he long for home again?

    So, after all, I would not roam,
    Until I'm eight to seas afar,
    While I am seven I'll stay at home
    Where Mother and her kisses are.

  19. Trains in the Grass

    by Annette Wynne

    It's fun to watch the trains go by
    Across the world as in the grass you lie
    So carelessly, and think far thoughts of cities gray,
    And watch the smoke curls die away
    Across the brook or in the trees;
    It's fun to lie quite at your ease
    And dream that you are riding far
    Inside the hurrying, clanging car.

    How fast the train goes everywhere,
    It seems to fly straight through the air,
    And never touch the ground at all;
    You see small boys—you try to call
    To them as in the grass they lie;
    So fast you fly
    Before they answer you are by;
    But there's another boy not far;
    You call out from your flying car
    To him, and yet he never hears;
    Just then a great big bridge appears
    And you forget him, and look out
    At all the moving things about;
    You wonder if the people, too,
    Look in, and wonder who are you,
    And where you come from, is it far,
    What kind of folks your people are.

    All at once a bee goes by,
    A May bug, then a butterfly,
    A poppy shakes a dusty head
    And you are in the grass instead;
    And then you know that, after all,
    You are the boy you tried to call,
    You are the boy the people pass
    Inside the train, that looking through the glass
    They see outstretched in meadow grass;
    And there you lie the summer day,
    And see the smoke curls die away.