“Little by Little” by Anonymous

I’m not buying the anonymous part but when I googled this poem that I found in my husband’s family letters it only came up with the first stanza.  What was written on this little slip of paper was “Oct. 1926 Lawton.” Fortunately, there is a second stanza I have but I don’t know what “Lawton” means. Is it the name for a person or is it a town in Kansas? Apparently this poem meant something to someone in my husband’s family because it was saved along with other letters from the 1930s and 1940s.  You can learn much about a family by poring over old, yellowed correspondence.  Here’s the poem and maybe someone in my reading audience might know who the proper attribution should go to:

LITTLE BY LITTLE by “Anonymous”

One step and then another, and longest walk is ended;

One stitch, and then another , and the largest rent is mended;

One brick up on another, and the highest wall is made;

One flake upon another, and the deepest snow is laid.

 

Then do not look disheartened o’er the work you have to do;

And say that such a mighty task you never can get through;

But just endeavor, day by day, another point to gain,

And soon the mountain which you feared will prove to be a plain.

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Wizard of KZ said,

    such a wise rhyme! yesterday I watched film about Gulliver and little tiny people. Gulliver said that true heroes are they themselves being so tiny and doing amazing buildings. True, size or capacity doesn’t matter: spirit is what is important!

  2. 2

    Johnny said,

    Ran upon your blog (good job tagging!), looking for some similar answers. A friend, who is struggling (successfully) brought me a poem today, supposedly penned by his 11 year-old niece.

    After your blog, I eventually ran upon an archive of the Rockland County Journal (NY) dated December 9, 1865, with this poem titled Little by Little, attributed to the London Band of Hope:

    One step and then another,
    And the longest walk is ended ;
    One stitch and then another,
    And the largest rent is mended ;
    One brick upon another,
    And the highest wall is made ;
    One flake upon another,
    And the deepest snow is laid.

    So the little coral workers,
    By their slew but constant motion.
    Have built those pretty islands
    In the distant dark blue ocean;
    And the noblest undertakings
    Men’s wisdom hath conceived,
    By oft-repeated efforts
    Have been patiently achieved.

    Then do not look disheartened
    O’er the work you have to do,
    And say that such a mighty task
    You never can get through ;
    But just endeavor, day by day.
    Another point to gain,
    And soon the mountain which you feared ;
    Will prove to be a plain.

    “Rome was not builded in a day,”
    The ancient proverb teaches ;
    And nature, by her trees and flowers,
    The same sweet sermon preaches.
    Think not of far off duties,
    But duties which are near ;
    And having once begun to work,
    Resolve to persevere.

    A little more looking, and it seems the London Band of Hope, or UK Band of Hope, etc., was/is a temperance society formed in 1847. Might that have meant something to your family?

    Anyway, the poem seems to have made its way into several children’s primers, such as the Heath Reader and the Beacon Reader.

    Thanks for pushing me along my journey…..

  3. 3

    [...] problems write.  The following poem is a follow-up by a reader to a poem I posted in January of this year.  I had found a fragment of a poem titled “Little by Little.”  The reader did some [...]


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