“Don’t Quit” poem

–My Father wrote this famous poem

It appeared far and wide on posters, bookmarks, etc. as “author unknown.”


In memory of Lawrence J. Wilcox (1940-2010)

It became so popular so fast, that there was no way of correcting this, and truly, Dad was elated just knowing it was helping so many people. With his passing, it is time to let it be known that he wrote it. I actually read this poem before I was re-united with Dad (at age 19), after which time we became very close. He had submitted the poem to a publisher, who never responded, but later used it. From that he learned and shared with me a clever way to protect your work: mail yourself a copy and keep it sealed because it will be date stamped by the post office. Many people have claimed to write this poem. Hopefully, we will locate his sealed envelope, and that it is in inside.

With love Dad, and thanks. Like all things–and you–I will keep going.

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 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 so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

–Lawrence J. Wilcox (1940-2010), Ottawa ON

2 Comments “Don’t Quit” poem

  1. Cindy

    Theresa, there are many people who claim to have written it, and they all feel the same as you and your Mom, and as my Dad and his family did.

    Could more than one person have written this poem, or a similar one, around the same time? Possibly.

    There will never be one author widely acknowledged, as the poem has been spread too far and in too many ways. With nothing that could be done, with it being distributed far and wide everywhere without his name, Dad never felt bad either, he was just so happy that it was helping people. He knew that even the greatest writing was irrelevant if not shared.

    We all hurt the same, we have all struggled the same, and we all want the same happiness, for everyone. Perhaps we are all benefactors and owners, we are all source. We will never know if one or many wrote this, but it continues to benefit all, all the same.


  2. Theresa

    Hi I don’t want to hurt you about your dad, but I know for a fact that my mother wrote this poem. And I want you to know that she was fine with it being author unknown all of these years, but she is really emotionally hurt when she see other people place their name on it. My mom is beginning to ail and I would love nothing more than helping her to get acknowledged for this poem. Please have people stop putting their name on her poem…

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