Edgar Albert Guest

Edgar Albert Guest Poems

When you're up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.

How much grit do you think you've got?
Can you quit a thing that you like a lot?
You may talk of pluck; it's an easy word,
And where'er you go it is often heard;

Ain't no use as I can see
In sittin' underneath a tree
An' growlin' that your luck is bad,
An' that your life is extry sad;

Here's to the men! Since Adam's time
They've always been the same;
Whenever anything goes wrong,
The woman is to blame.

A friend is one who stands to share
Your every touch of grief and care.
He comes by chance, but stays by choice;
Your praises he is quick to voice.

To wed, or not to wed; that is the question;
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The bills and house rent of a wedded fortune,
Or to say "nit" when she proposes,

Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin' more beautiful day after day;

Lord, make me tolerant and wise;
Incline my ears to hear him through;
Let him not stand with downcast eyes,
Fearing to trust me and be true.

My father knows the proper way
The nation should be run;
He tells us children every day
Just what should now be done.

A boy and his dad on a fishing trip-
There is a glorious fellowship!
Father and son and the open sky,
And the white clouds lazily drifting by,

A BABY is the best to love,
She always smiles when you draw near,
Though ugly you may be of face,


I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,

The crowded street his playground is, a patch of blue his sky;
A puddle in a vacant lot his sea where ships pass by:
Poor little orphan boy of five, the city smoke and grime
Taint every cooling breeze he gets throughout the summer time;

How's the little chap to know
Just the proper roads to go
If you never travel with him
While he's little, hand in hand?

‘TIS friendship's test to guard the name
Of him you love from all attack,
As you are to his face, the same
To be when you're behind his back.

He has not served who gathers gold,
Nor has he served, whose life is told
In selfish battles he has won,

I would rather see a Mason, than hear one any day,
I would rather one would walk with me than merely show the way.

I've trod the links with many a man,
And played him club for club;
'Tis scarce a year since I began
And I am still a dub.

There was a bear — his name was Jim,
An' children weren't askeered of him,
An' he lived in a cave, where he
Was confortubbul as could be,

The saddest sort of death to die
Would be to quit the game called life
And know, beneath the gentle sky,
You'd lived a slacker in the strife.

Edgar Albert Guest Biography

Edgar Albert Guest was a British-born American poet who became known as the People's Poet. His poems often had an inspirational and optimistic view of everyday life. Guest was born in Birmingham, England in 1881. In 1891, his family moved from England to Detroit, Michigan, where Guest lived until he died. His first published poem first appeared in Detroit Free Pass, the biggest newspaper in Detroit in which he worked there as a copy boy and a reporter later, on 11 December 1898. In 1902 he became an American naturalized citizen. From his first published work in the Detroit Free Press until his death in 1959, Guest wrote approximately 11,000 poems. He was pretty popular in the US because of his light, optimistic style.

Edgar Albert Guest Nationality and his Early Life

In 1895, the year before Henry Ford took his first ride in a motor carriage, Eddie Guest signed on with the Free Press as a 13-year-old office boy. He stayed for 60 years. In those six decades, Detroit underwent half a dozen identity changes, but Eddie Guest became a steadfast character on the changing scene. Three years after he joined the Free Press, Guest became a cub reporter. He quickly worked his way through the labor beat -- a much less consequential beat than it is today -- the waterfront beat and the police beat, where he worked "the dog watch" -- 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. By the end of that year -- the year he should have been completing high school -- Guest had a reputation as a scrappy reporter in a competitive town. It did not occur to Guest to write in verse until late in 1898 when he was working as assistant exchange editor. It was his job to cull timeless items from the newspapers with which the Free Press exchanged papers for use as fillers. Many of the items were verses. Guest figured he might just as well write verse as clip it and submitted one of his own, a dialect verse, to Sunday editor Arthur Mosley. The Free Press was choosy about publishing the literary efforts of staff members and Guest, a 17-year-old dropout, might have been seen as something of an upstart. But Mosley decided to publish the verse, His verse ran on Dec. 11, 1898. More contributions of verse and observations led to a weekly column, "Blue Monday Chat," and then a daily column, "Breakfast Table Chat." Verse had always been part of Guest's writing, but he had more or less followed the workaday road of many newsmen for 10 years. In 1908, standing in the rain as the solitary mourner for one such journalist who had long since been forgotten and relegated to the newspaper's morgue, Guest resolved to escape that fate by becoming a specialist. From that day forward, nearly all of his writing was in meter and rhyme. And readers loved it. They asked where they could find collections of his folksy verses. Guest talked it over his younger brother Harry, a typesetter, and they bought a case of type. They were in the book publishing business. After supper, Harry climbed the stairs to the attic to set Eddie's poetry. Harry could set as many as eight pages -- provided the verses didn't have too many "e's" in them -- before he had to print what he had and break up the forms for eight more pages. They printed 800 copies of a 136-page book, "Home Rhymes." Two years later, in 1911 and still working in eight-page morsels, they printed "Just Glad Things," but upped the press order to 1,500 copies. They escaped the limits of their type case with the third book, published in 1914, but Guest had some misgivings about the large press run -- 3,500 copies. It sold out in two Christmases. More books followed, and before he was done Guest had filled more than 20. Sales ran into the millions and his most popular collection, "It Takes a Heap o' Livin'," sold more than a million copies by itself. Guest's verses, originally clipped by exchange editors at other papers, went into syndication and he was carried by more than 300 newspapers. His popularity led to one of early radios longest-running radio shows, appearances on television, in Hollywood and in banquet halls and meeting rooms from coast to coast. But Edgar A. Guest remained, at heart and in fact, a newspaper man. In 1939, he told "Editor & Publisher," "I've never been late with my copy and I've never missed an edition. And that's seven days a week." For more than 30 years, there was not a day that the Free Press went to press without Guest's verse on its pages. He worked for the Free Press for more than six decades. Thousands of Detroiters were born, grew up and had children of their own before a Free Press ever arrived at their homes without Guest's gentle human touch. When Guest died in 1959, he was buried in Detroit's Woodlawn Cemetery.

Edgar Albert Guest Famous Poems

Guest was widely read throughout North America, and his sentimental, optimistic poems were in the same vein as the light verse of Nick Kenny, who wrote syndicated columns during the same decades. Guest's most famous poem is the oft-quoted Home. 'Erbert's H'Opinion, A Baby's Love, A Battle Prayer, A Bear Story, A Boost For Modern Methods are his poems. Please click heresee full poems.)

The Best Poem Of Edgar Albert Guest

See It Through

When you're up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it's vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!
Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don't let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you're beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don't give up, whate'er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!

Edgar Albert Guest Comments

John Burdick 10 June 2012

I just love the man but wish I could find more of his biography. I would like to know about his religious beliefs.

44 23 Reply
Jeanette Porter 01 September 2013

Edgar Guest was not just a poet but a teacher of what we would call now long lost morals. Although I am much to young to have seen his poetry in print I can say without a doubt he shaped my life and is a large part of who I am today. Brilliant poet!

40 24 Reply
Wyman Atkinson 16 June 2013

I have and have read most of Mr. Guest's poems. I'm certain a lot would consider his work hackneyed and perhaps by to-days standard of poetry, some might agree. Edgar lived in a different time, a more simple, less complex and naive time in history. I read his work, with my head in my mother's era (1911) . Mr. Guest wrote with his heart and his soul and all of it made perfect sense. He was Detroit's poet laureate!

39 18 Reply
Roy Altemus 18 May 2010

This was so appropriate for today's drivers. It was on the back of a 1949 Hudson car manual: COURTESY / Edgar A. Guest © 1947 Not the “right of way” when driving, but the simple way of right and never once forgetting to be courteous and polite. A little bit of patience as behind the wheel you sit and you’ll never lose a fender and a child you’ll never hit. Oh, the worst of phrases ringing all through motordom today is that selfish bit of wording that is known as “right of way.” It has filled the graves of many who have sped some road along, since death never asks the question, is the driver right or wrong. Just a little thought for others, just remembering to be kind, just the willingness in traffic to slow down and stay behind. Just the show of gracious manners which all gentle folks display, and all the accidents that happen will be fewer day by day. Just control that flash of temper when another sounds his horn. In the car may be a mother soon to have her baby born. Be considerate in your driving and be courteous and be kind, and you’ll reach your dwelling safely and you’ll keep your peace of mind.

41 14 Reply
Edgar Albert Guest 15 August 2022


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SAIRA 27 June 2020


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Elizabeth Desch 01 April 2020

Does anyone know a poem by Mr.Guest about a little girl who wouldn't go to bed? My dad, who now has dementia, used to read it to me when I was a child. I would find so much joy if I could find it!

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T Ferrari 26 December 2020

I'm looking for this as well. My mother read this to me all of the time but u can seem to find it...

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KS Karki 08 January 2020

I need summary of the poem The Simple Things by Edgar A Guest

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