Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Carry On - Poem by Robert William Service

It's easy to fight when everything's right,
And you're mad with the thrill and the glory;
It's easy to cheer when victory's near,
And wallow in fields that are gory.
It's a different song when everything's wrong,
When you're feeling infernally mortal;
When it's ten against one, and hope there is none,
Buck up, little soldier, and chortle:

Carry on! Carry on!
There isn't much punch in your blow.
You're glaring and staring and hitting out blind;
You're muddy and bloody, but never you mind.
Carry on! Carry on!
You haven't the ghost of a show.
It's looking like death, but while you've a breath,
Carry on, my son! Carry on!

And so in the strife of the battle of life
It's easy to fight when you're winning;
It's easy to slave, and starve and be brave,
When the dawn of success is beginning.
But the man who can meet despair and defeat
With a cheer, there's the man of God's choosing;
The man who can fight to Heaven's own height
Is the man who can fight when he's losing.

Carry on! Carry on!
Things never were looming so black.
But show that you haven't a cowardly streak,
And though you're unlucky you never are weak.
Carry on! Carry on!
Brace up for another attack.
It's looking like hell, but -- you never can tell:
Carry on, old man! Carry on!

There are some who drift out in the deserts of doubt,
And some who in brutishness wallow;
There are others, I know, who in piety go
Because of a Heaven to follow.
But to labour with zest, and to give of your best,
For the sweetness and joy of the giving;
To help folks along with a hand and a song;
Why, there's the real sunshine of living.

Carry on! Carry on!
Fight the good fight and true;
Believe in your mission, greet life with a cheer;
There's big work to do, and that's why you are here.
Carry on! Carry on!
Let the world be the better for you;
And at last when you die, let this be your cry:
Carry on, my soul! Carry on!


Comments about Carry On by Robert William Service

  • (6/15/2018 2:26:00 PM)


    Carry on, what a great motivator (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (3/19/2018 1:48:00 PM)


    I have used this poem for years, encouraging kids and even used this in the Eulogy for my father in law at his funeral. What an excellent poem! (Report) Reply

  • (3/17/2018 6:48:00 PM)


    This is about being brave and optimistic, even when it appears all is lost. These are the qualities of we should all aspire to be. Carry On, Boys! (Report) Reply

  • (2/11/2012 9:36:00 PM)


    I first heard this poem in a speech by Brian Tracy..It teaches to never loose hope. (Report) Reply

  • (6/7/2009 6:24:00 AM)


    Awesome poem that encourages you to never give up and live life to the seeds of greatness within you. (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: soldier, success, song, sunshine, heaven, despair, believe, son, work, joy, hope, death, lost



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Caged Bird
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
[Report Error]