Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Quitter

Poem by Robert William Service

When you're lost in the Wild, and you're scared as a child,
And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you're sore as a boil, it's according to Hoyle
To cock your revolver and . . . die.
But the Code of a Man says: "Fight all you can,"
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it's easy to blow . . .
It's the hell-served-for-breakfast that's hard.

"You're sick of the game!" Well, now, that's a shame.
You're young and you're brave and you're bright.
"You've had a raw deal!" I know -- but don't squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It's the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don't be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit; it's so easy to quit:
It's the keeping-your-chin-up that's hard.

It's easy to cry that you're beaten -- and die;
It's easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope's out of sight --
Why, that's the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each gruelling bout,
All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try -- it's dead easy to die,
It's the keeping-on-living that's hard.

Comments about The Quitter by Robert William Service

  • daniel foote (12/8/2018 2:22:00 PM)

    one of his best, but never mentioned.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Ralph woldt (11/20/2018 9:45:00 PM)

    It's a poem i memorized as a young'n in the 50's when things weren't going well. Now I'm my late 70's it rings a bell again. Robert Service has been my favorite poet.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Byron Ferrari (3/3/2018 11:54:00 AM)

    1913 in the Yukon or 2018 homeless this crackerjack poem of utter defiance still tracks(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Chris Merritt (9/29/2011 5:22:00 AM)

    Love this poem, a kind of mantra for life. I have it tattooed on my back.(Report)Reply

    Tim C.(11/1/2018 5:55:00 PM)

    No regerts!

    10 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Jim Armstrong (6/17/2009 7:45:00 AM)

    ...gotta love this guy!(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
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Read poems about / on: sick, child, hope, lost, death, children

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003