Saturday, September 29, 2007

Don't Quit by Quinton Howell

Don't Quit

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 failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow
You might succeed with another blow

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 so far

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit
It's when things seem worst, That you MUST NOT QUIT!
--Quinton Howell

This poem was printed on a magnet that Mom had on the side of the fridge in Michigan (I don't remember whether it made it to Ohio). I would often stand by that side of the fridge and read the magnets and clippings while I ate sugar (I'd just drink it straight from the sugar shaker) since it was a good out of the way place to sort of hide while I did it.

I've always thought that this poem is about four lines too long. It feels like he made his point, but still had some rhymes he wanted to use, so he stuck in another stanza. There's nothing new in the fourth stanza -- he's already mentioned that you might be one "blow" away from success -- and it only serves to break up the fight metaphor that's begun at the end of the third stanza. I guess the poet just didn't know when to quit :)


  1. Karen, do you know anything about the poet Quinton Howell? Thanks,

  2. The true author is not Quinton Howell. Have no idea who that is. Leo Piggott is the "Anonymous" author this poem is almost always attributed to, written in 1931. I know because he is my Grandfather-in-law. My in-laws and husband have many documents relating to this, but by the time a received credit in 1971 it was commercially printed many times over and far too late to copyright. A private man, he wrote the poem "for fun, with no idea for gaining fame - and certainly not fortune" as he stated in 1971.

  3. The "true" author is Jess Kenner, a Colorado resident who wrote the poem and published it in his "Maverick" compilation in the 1970's.

  4. Actually, Jess Kenner wrote the poem in the 1920's or 30's. The "Maverick" book of the early 70's was a compilation of poems, some dating back to 1909 that he had written.

  5. Google tells me it’s Clinton Howell not Quentin

  6. Though it’s also attributed to Edgar Guest and John Greenleaf Whittier