It Couldn't Be Done

- 1881-1959

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
     But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
     Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
     On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
     That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
     At least no one ever has done it”;
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
     And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
     Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
     That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
     There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
     The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
     Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
     That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

More by Edgar Guest

Father

My father knows the proper way 
   The nation should be run; 
He tells us children every day 
   Just what should now be done. 
He knows the way to fix the trusts, 
   He has a simple plan; 
But if the furnace needs repairs, 
   We have to hire a man. 


My father, in a day or two 
   Could land big thieves in jail; 
There's nothing that he cannot do, 
   He knows no word like "fail." 
"Our confidence" he would restore, 
   Of that there is no doubt; 
But if there is a chair to mend, 
   We have to send it out. 


All public questions that arise, 
   He settles on the spot; 
He waits not till the tumult dies, 
   But grabs it while it's hot. 
In matters of finance he can 
   Tell Congress what to do; 
But, O, he finds it hard to meet 
   His bills as they fall due. 


It almost makes him sick to read 
   The things law-makers say; 
Why, father's just the man they need, 
   He never goes astray. 
All wars he'd very quickly end, 
   As fast as I can write it; 
But when a neighbor starts a fuss, 
   'Tis mother has to fight it. 


In conversation father can 
   Do many wondrous things; 
He's built upon a wiser plan 
   Than presidents or kings. 
He knows the ins and outs of each 
   And every deep transaction; 
We look to him for theories, 
   But look to ma for action.

A Toast to the Men

Dedicated to the Women


Here's to the men! Since Adam's time 
      They've always been the same; 
Whenever anything goes wrong, 
      The woman is to blame. 
From early morn to late at night, 
      The men fault-finders are; 
They blame us if they oversleep, 
      Or if they miss a car. 
They blame us if, beneath the bed, 
      Their collar buttons roll; 
They blame us if the fire is out 
      Or if there is no coal. 
They blame us if they cut themselves 
      While shaving, and they swear 
That we're to blame if they decide 
      To go upon a tear. 


Here's to the men, the perfect men! 
      Who never are at fault; 
They blame us if they chance to get 
      The pepper for the salt. 
They blame us if their business fails, 
      Or back a losing horse; 
And when it rains on holidays 
      The fault is ours, of course. 
They blame us when they fall in love, 
      And when they married get; 
Likewise they blame us when they're sick, 
      And when they fall in debt. 
For everything that crisscross goes 
      They say we are to blame; 
But, after all, here's to the men, 
      We love them just the same!

On Quitting

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; 
But can you tell to a jot or guess 
Just how much courage you now possess? 


You may stand to trouble and keep your grin, 
But have you tackled self-discipline? 
Have you ever issued commands to you 
To quit the things that you like to do, 
And then, when tempted and sorely swayed, 
Those rigid orders have you obeyed? 


Don't boast of your grit till you've tried it out, 
Nor prate to men of your courage stout, 
For it's easy enough to retain a grin 
In the face of a fight there's a chance to win, 
But the sort of grit that is good to own 
Is the stuff you need when you're all alone. 


How much grit do you think you've got? 
Can you turn from joys that you like a lot? 
Have you ever tested yourself to know 
How far with yourself your will can go? 
If you want to know if you have grit, 
Just pick out a joy that you like, and quit. 


It's bully sport and it's open fight; 
It will keep you busy both day and night; 
For the toughest kind of a game you'll find 
Is to make your body obey your mind. 
And you never will know what is meant by grit 
Unless there's something you've tried to quit.