Edgar A. Guest Famous Poems

Edgar A. Guest was born in Birmingham, England in 1881 and immigrated to America with his parents at the age of 10. Eger held many jobs and was also associated with radio, but his fame was due to his poetry. He has described the reality of life in his poetry and influenced people a lot. His poetry is still alive in people’s hearts and they love to read it.

Don’t Quit

Poet: Edgar A. Guest

Edgar A Guest Famous Poems

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 fellow 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 came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And when 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,
You must not quit.


Be A Friend

by Edgar A. Guest

Be a friend. You don’t need money:
Just a disposition sunny;
Just the wish to help another
Get along some way or other;

Just a kindly hand extended
Out to one who’s unbefriended;
Just the will to give or lend,
This will make you someone’s friend.

Be a friend. You don’t need glory.
Friendship is a simple story.
Pass by trifling errors blindly,
Gaze on honest effort kindly,

Cheer the youth who’s bravely trying,
Pity him who’s sadly sighing;
Just a little labor spend
On the duties of a friend.

Be a friend. The pay is bigger
(Though not written by a figure)
Than is earned by people clever
In what’s merely self-endeavor.

You’ll have friends instead of neighbors
For the profits of your labors;
You’ll be richer in the end
Than a prince, if you’re a friend.


I’d Rather See A Sermon

Poet: Edgar A. Guest

I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it if you’ll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lessons by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you and the high advise you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles and a strong man stays behind
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.

One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language which to every one is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
I’d rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.


The Man To Be

Poet: Edgar Guest

Some day the world will need a man of courage in a time of doubt,
And somewhere, as a little boy, that future hero plays about.
Within some humble home, no doubt, that instrument of greater things
Now climbs upon his father’s knee or to his mother’s garments clings.
And when shall come that call for him to render service that is fine,
He that shall do God’s mission here may be your little boy or mine.

Long years of preparation mark the pathway for the splendid souls,
And generations live and die and seem no nearer to their goals,
And yet the purpose of it all, the fleeting pleasure and the woe,
The laughter and the grief of life that all who come to earth must know
May be to pave the way for one–one man to serve the Will Divine
And it is possible that he may be your little boy or mine.

Some day the world will need a man! I stand beside his cot at night
And wonder if I’m teaching him, as best I can, to know the right.
I am the father of a boy–his life is mine to make or mar–
And he no better can become than what my daily teachings are;
There will be need for someone great–I dare not falter from the line–
The man that is to serve the world may be that little boy of mine.

Perhaps your boy and mine may not ascend the lofty heights of fame;
The orders for their births are hid. We know not why to earth they came.
Yet in some little bed to-night the great man of to-morrow sleeps
And only He who sent him here, the secret of his purpose keeps.
As fathers then our care is this–to keep in mind the Great Design.
The man the world shall need some day may be your little boy or mine.


Father and Son

Poet: Edgar Guest

Be more than his dad,
Be a chum to the lad;
Be a part of his life.
Every hour of the day;
Find time to talk with him,
Take time to walk with him,
Share in his studies
And share in his play;
Take him to places,
To ball games and races,
Teach him the things
That you want him to know;
Don’t live apart from him,
Don’t keep your heart from him,
Be his best comrade.
He’s needing you so!

Never neglect him.
Though young, still respect him,
Hear his opinions
With patience and pride;
Show him his error,
But be not a terror,
Grim-visaged and fearful,
When he’s at your side.
Know what his thoughts are,
Know what his sports are,
Know all his playmates,
It’s easy to learn to;
Be such a father
That when troubles gather
You’ll be the first one
For counsel, he’ll turn to.

You can inspire him
With courage, and fire him
Hot with ambition
For deeds that are good;
He’ll not betray you
Nor illy repay you.
If you have taught him.
The things that you should.
Father and son
Must in all things be one –
Partners in trouble
And comrades in joy.
More than a dad
Was the best pal you had;
Be such a chum
As you knew, to your boy.


Our Son

Poet: Edgar Guest

He’s supposed to be our son, our hope and our pride,
In him all the dreams of our future abide,
But whenever some act to his credit occurs
I never am mentioned, the glory is hers,
And whenever he’s bad or has strayed from the line,
Then always she speaks of the rascal as mine.

When trouble has come she will soberly say:
“Do you know what your son has been up to to-day?
Your son spilled the ink on the living room floor!
Your son broke the glass in the dining room door!
I am telling you now something has to be done.
It is high time you started correcting your son!”

But when to the neighbors she boasts of his worth,
It is: “My son’s the best little boy on the earth!”
Accuse him of mischief, she’ll just floor you flat
With: “My son, I’m certain, would never do that!
Of course there are times when he’s willfully bad.
But then it’s that temper he gets from his dad! “


A Book

Poet: Edgar A. Guest

A book of verse is like a child –
Its moods and fancies vary;
At times its ways are meek and mild,
At other times contrary.

And like a child, it sometimes shows
A charm that naught can smother;
For that, of course, the credit goes
Entirely to its mother.

So readers, take my little lad,
And may he be no bother;
And when you find that he is bad,
Just blame it on his father.


The Pathway of the Living

Poet: Edgar A. Guest

The pathway of the living is our ever-present care.
Let us do our best to smooth it and to make it bright and fair;
Let us travel it with kindness, let’s be careful as we tread,
And give unto the living what we’d offer to the dead.

The pathway of the living we can beautify and grace;
We can line it deep with roses and make earth a happier place.
But we’ve done all mortals can do, when our prayers are softly said
For the souls of those that travel o’er the pathway of the dead.

The pathway of the living all our strength and courage needs,
There we ought to sprinkle favors, there we ought to sow our deeds,
There our smiles should be the brightest, there our kindest words be said,
For the angels have the keeping of the pathway of the dead.


My Goals

Poet: Edgar A. Guest

A little braver when the skies are gray,
A little stronger when the road seems long,
A little more of patience through the day,
And not so quick to magnify a wrong.

A little kinder, both of thought and deed,
A little gentler with the old and weak,
Swifter to sense another’s pressing need,
And not so fast the hurtful phrase to speak.

These are my goals – not flung beyond my power,
Not dreams of glory, beautiful but vain,
Not the great heights where buds of genius flower,
But simple splendors which I ought to gain.

These I can do and be from day to day
Along the humble pathway where I plod,
So that at last when I am called away
I need not make apologies to God.


My Creed

Poet: Edgar A. Guest

To live as gently as I can;
To be, no matter where, a man;
To take what comes of good or ill
And cling to faith and honor still;
To do my best, and let that stand
The record of my brain and hand;
And then, should failure come to me,
Still work and hope for victory.

To have no secret place wherein
I stoop unseen to shame or sin;
To be the same when I’m alone
As when my every deed is known;
To live undaunted, unafraid
Of any step that I have made;
To be without pretense or sham
Exactly what men think I am.

To leave some simple mark behind
To keep my having lived in mind;
If enmity to aught I show,
To be an honest, generous foe,
To play my little part, nor whine
That greater honors are not mine.
This, I believe, is all I need
For my philosophy and creed.


The Weaver

Poet: Edgar A. Guest

The patter of rain on the roof,
The glint of the sun on the rose;
Of life, these the warp and the woof,
The weaving that everyone knows.
Now grief with its consequent tear,
Now joy with its luminous smile;
The days are the threads of the year–
Is what I am weaving worth while?

What pattern have I on my loom?
Shall my bit of tapestry please?
Am I working with gray threads of gloom?
Is there faith in the figures I seize?
When my fingers are lifeless and cold,
And the threads I no longer can weave
Shall there be there for men to behold
One sign of the things I believe?

God sends me the gray days and rare,
The threads from his bountiful skein,
And many, as sunshine, are fair.
And some are as dark as the rain.
And I think as I toil to express
My life through the days slipping by,
Shall my tapestry prove a success?
What sort of a weaver am I?

Am I making the most of the red
And the bright strands of luminous gold?
Or blotting them out with the thread
By which all men’s failure is told?
Am I picturing life as despair,
As a thing men shall shudder to see,
Or weaving a bit that is fair
That shall stand as the record of me?


The Call

Poet: Edgar A. Guest

Joy stands on the hilltops, beckoning to me,
Urging me to journey up where I can see
Blue skies ever smiling, cool green fields below,
Hear the songs of children still untouched by woe.

Joy stands on the hilltops, urging me to stay,
Spite of toil and trouble, to life’s rugged way,
Holding out a promise of a life serene
When the steeps I’ve mastered lying now between.

Joy stands on the hilltops, smiling down at me,
Urging me to clamber up where I can see
Over toil and trouble far beyond despair,
And I answer smiling: some day I’ll be there.



Poet: Edgar A. Guest

To do your little bit of toil,
To play life’s game with head erect;
To stoop to nothing that would soil
Your honor or your self-respect;
To win what gold and fame you can,
But first of all to be a man.

To know the bitter and the sweet,
The sunshine and the days of rain;
To meet both victory and defeat,
Nor boast too loudly nor complain;
To face whatever fates befall
And be a man throughout it all.

To seek success in honest strife,
But not to value it so much
That, winning it, you go through life
Stained by dishonor’s scarlet touch.
What goal or dream you choose, pursue,
But be a man whate’er you do!


The Little Home

Poet: Edgar A. Guest

The little house is not too small
To shelter friends who come to call.
Though low the roof and small its space
It holds the Lord’s abounding grace,
And every simple room may be
Endowed with happy memory.

The little house, severly plain,
A wealth of beauty may contain.
Within it those who dwell may find
High faith which makes for peace of mind,
And that sweet understanding which
Can make the poorest cottage rich.

The little house can hold all things
From which the soul’s contentment springs.
‘Tis not too small for love to grow,
For all the joys that mortals know,
For mirth and song and that delight
Which make the humblest dwelling bright.


About Boys

Poet: Edgar A. Guest

Show me the boy who never threw
A stone at someone’s cat;
Or never hurled a snowball swift
At someone’s high silk hat.
Who never ran away from school,
To seek the swimming hole;
Or slyly from a neighbor’s yard
Green apples never stole.
Show me the boy who never broke
A pane of window glass;
Who never disobeyed the sign
That says: “Keep off the grass.”
Who never did a thousand things,
That grieve us sore to tell;
And I’ll show you a little boy
Who must be far from well.



Poet: Edgar A. Guest

Does money bring men gladness?
Yes, at times!
It also brings men sadness
And to crimes.

Earned well, it is a pleasure,
None denies;
But in the love of treasure
Danger lies.

Who grasps for it in blindness,
Foul or fair,
Sells out to bleak unkindness
And despair.

By money friends are parted;
Hatred sown;
For money, marble-hearted
Men have grown.

Money’s important. All require it
Til life is o’er
But it destroys men who desire it
And nothing more.


The Home

Poet: Edgar A. Guest

Write it down that here I labored,
Here I sang and laughed and neighbored;
Here’s the sum of all my story,
Here’s my fortune and my glory;
These four walls and friendly door
Mark the goal I struggled for.
Never mind its present worth,
Here’s one hundred feet of earth
Where the passerby can see
Every dream which came to me.

Write it down: my life uncloses
Here among these budding roses;
In this patch of lawn I’ve tended,
Here is all I’ve counted splendid;
Here’s the goal that’s held me true
To the tasks I’ve had to do.
Here for all the world to scan
Is my secret thought and plan;
Through the long years gone before,
This is what I struggled for.

Write it down, when I have perished:
Here is everything I’ve cherished;
That these walls should glow with beauty
Spurred my lagging soul to duty;
That there should be gladness here
Kept my toiling year by year.
Here in phlox and marigold
Is my every purposed told;
Every thought and every act
Were to keep this home intact.


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