Poems – John Greenleaf Whittier


Who is John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier was an American poet who lived from 1807 to 1892. Born in Massachusetts, Whittier became a prominent figure in the 19th-century literary scene. His writings were deeply influenced by his Quaker faith and his commitment to social justice. Whittier’s poetry often focused on themes of freedom, equality, and the abolition of slavery. He used his words to advocate for the rights of African Americans and to criticize the injustices of his time.

Whittier was known for his lyrical style, using vivid imagery and emotive language to convey his messages. His most famous poems include “Snow-Bound” and “Barbara Frietchie,” both of which captured the spirit of the American people during tumultuous times. Throughout his life, Whittier remained dedicated to his Quaker beliefs and continued to write poetry that stirred the hearts and minds of readers. His work was celebrated for its ethical and moral vision, as well as its profound impact on the social and political consciousness of his era.

Whittier’s poetry not only entertained and inspired, but also served as a powerful call to action, urging his readers to fight against oppression and strive for a more just society. Today, John Greenleaf Whittier is remembered as a significant figure in American literature, his poetry serving as a testament to the power of words and the enduring pursuit of truth and justice.

Poem – Don’t Quit

poem john greenleaf whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When 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 if he’d 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.

by John Greenleaf Whittier