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"Strike the nail aright, boys..." | 14-Nov-04

"Strike the nail aright, boys,
Hit it on the head.
Strike with all your might boys,
When the iron is red.
When there's work to do boys,
Do it with a will.
Those who reach the top boys,
First must climb the hill"

32 comments have been made on this quote. Click here to read them and then add your own!

Do you know this poem? Do you have any clues to help us find it?


standing down below boys-gazing at the sky
how can you get uo boys-if you never try ?
tho you stumble off boys-never be downcast
try and try again boys-you'll get there at last !
bernie kopas

Can be found complete in:

The Life of Jesus Christ for the Young by Richard Newton

(Found on Gutenberg)

I don't know whether he is the author or not .
Julien Tane

Standing at the foot boys
Gazing at the sky
How can you get on boys
If you never try
( I don't know this part)
Try try again boys
You'll suceed at last
Aaron S

HEY, that used to be one of my favourite poems at Primary school in Barbados...I think it went like:...............
Strike The Nail
Strike the nail aright, boys.
Hit it on the head!
Strike with all your might boys,
While the iron?s red.
When there's work to do boys,
Do it with a will.
Those who reach the top boys,
First must climb the hill"

Standing at the foot boys,
Gazing at the sky.
How can you get up boys,
If you never try.
Though you stumble oft? boys,
Never be downcast.
Try and try again boys
You'll succeed at last!

Cynthia Sealey

It is a poem in a book called Royal Readers. Royal Readers, however, had a number of series so I am not sure which one it is in.
Marvin R. Z. Gibson

Thank you for the "Hit the nail . . ." poem. Family was unsuccessful in remembering all the words to this poem my father quoted often. My mother will be blessed to hear the poem quoted again.
Nancy Karnes

My teacher father taught his pupils to recite this poem in the 1930's
Adrian Ryan

I have the Royal Reader belonging to my Dad who learned this poem in the early 1930's. I am typing this directly from the Royal Reader # 2. Cynthia Sealey sure has a good memory. The first word was the only thing that wasn't identical to what's in the book. I have loved this poem as well, since I was a young child. My Dad still recites it to my and I am in my late 30's.


Drive the nail aright, boys,
Hit it on the head;
Strike with all your might, boys,
While the iron's red.

When you've work to do, boys,
Do it with a will;
They who reach the top, boys,
First must climb the hill.

Standing at the foot, boys,
Gazing at the sky,
How can you get up, boys,
If you never try?

Though you stumble oft, boys,
Never by down-cast;
Try, and try again, boys,--
You'll succeed at last.

Lisa :-)
Lisa Muise

I learnt this wonderful poetry as a young boy in primary school at the age of 8 years. It has been an inspiration always in my life - an inspirational key to achieving success whatever this may be - a feat impossible without desire and an iron will to persevere with your dreams and aspirations. Will take with me to the grave.

Note 'iron's red" - also "when you have work to do boys" - that is what was printed in the old school book - sounds better - I think. Also " are first that climb the hill!". Hope my memory hasn't let me down.
Peter Moralles

Drive the nail aright boys, hit it on the head,
Strike with all your might boys,
whilst the Iron is red.

When you got work to do boys,
do it with a will.
They who reach the top boys,
first must climb the hill.

Standing at the foot boys,
gazing at the sky.
How can you get up boys,
if you never try.

Thou you stumble off boys,
never be down cast.
Try and try again boys,
you will win at last.

Inspirong Poem!!
Salil Amrite

My Mom was teaching my children this poem. I never learnt it but I think it is really inspiring. She knows 4 verses but when i check out tit out it actually has other verses. Hope this helps.
"Drive the Nail Aright."

Drive the nail aright, boys;
Hit it on the head;
Strike with all your might, boys,
Ere the time has fled

Lessons you?ve to learn, boys
Study with a will:
They who reach the top, boys
First must climb the hill.

Standing at the foot, boys;
Gazing at the sky,
How can you get up, boys,
If you never try?

Though you stumble oft, boys,
Never by downcast;
Try, and try again, boys:
You'll succeed at last.

Always persevere, boys,
Though your task is hard;
Toil and happy trust, boys,
Bring their own reward.

Never give it up, boys,
Always say you?ll try;
You will gain the crown, boys,
Surely, by and by.

Natasha Ladoo

Persevere: When you have work to do boys, do it with a will.
So to reach the top, first must climb the hill
Standing at the foot boys gazing at the sky,
how can you get up, if you never try.
Don't be downcast, try and try again boys
and you will succeed at last
U Peschier

Standing at the foot boys
Gazing at the sky
How can you get up boys
If you never try

Though you stumble oft boys
Never be down cast
Try and try again boys
You'll succeed at last.

The name of this Poem is "Perseverance"
Phillip Thompson

I learnt this poem at infant school, 60 years ago. The correct rendering is as follows:

Strike the nail aright, boy,
Hit it on the head,
Strike with all your might, boy,
While the iron is red.

When you have work to do, boy,
Do it with a will,
Those who reach the top, boy,
First must climb the hill.

Standing at the foot, boy,
Gazing at the sky,
How can you get up, boy,
If you never try?

Though you stumble oft, boy,
Never be downcast,
Try and try again, boy,
You'll succeed at last.

Ronald Berry

What a delight to read the complete poem again, after more than 60 years. For the past 20 years I have b een trying to recall the complete poem from memory, but faltered after the first 4 verses.
Like Cynthia Sealey, it was my favorite poem in Standards 2 & 3 at Gibson Fisher Canadian Mission School, Golden Fleece, Essequibo Coast, Guyana. Yes! it's from the Royal Reader, the reading series which overflowed with morals, honesty, diligence, and compassion. I would really like to get my hands on those books again, especially Series 1 and 11. Cynthia, do you remember "The Pet Lamb", "A Child's First Grief", and later, "A Mother's Love.", Casabianca" and so many more wonderful stories which made you a reader, a real reader? The Royal Reader Series and the Reading Comprehension Series by Kate & E.J. Lay were tops for morals. From the latter, those inspiring stories inclusing: The Lion In Love; The Fat Hens and the Lean Hens; The Fox and the Grapes; etc. etc. Thanks for a wonderful trip down a forgotten literary lane!
Eric Singh

Thanks so very much for your listings. I have been looking for I've looked for years for a poem "I Have Seen March". I'm not sure who wrote it, but I do know there is a line which says "l've pressed the cassias....yellow to my breast, I could earth for one tree's royal sake. I could find faith, abandoning despair. On blossom hope...."
Does anyone know how or where I could find this poem?
Please help, and I thank you. Claudia

Claudia Moran

This was my dad's favorite poem too...it was written in the Royal Readers Poems...by an English Writer. You can Google Royal Readers and it will take you to all his works! Good luck!!!
Henry Clearer

I discovred this memorable poem when I was in secondary school at "Lycee Militaire " in 1974 in Bizerta /Tunisia , during my second year English training , I would like to seize this opportunity to thank my teacher at that time Mr Azib who presented us this poem
-Drive the nail aright boys , hit it on the head
-Strike with all your might boys !!
Very signaficant words
Nice poem !!

Abidi Mokhtar

Looking for two poems/or sayings, from the "Royal Reader " Books used in British Guiana [now Guyana] in the 1950's.
they are "Perseverance" {two lines standing at the football gazing at the sky ....... Then next is The Dog & the Bone, { the dog is standing on a log looking at his reflection in a stream holding unto a bone} sees his reflection greed steps in so he drops his bone going after that in the stream] losing all!
Godfrey Grimes

My Paternal Grandmother used to sing this almost daily when she lived with us in NY. She learned it as a student in Grenada, W.I. My Son noticed this on the internet and knowing that I sang it to him at least once or twice, just sent it to me. What another coincidence! Grandma's father was from Barbados, via Africa, certainly, and of course my Husband's Parents are from Barbados. This is an inspiration and hopefully will remain one in our family for generations.
Lynnette Callender

My mother used to recite this poem to us as children in order to encourage learning and perseverence and I recently got it here on this website to recite to her as she is now very ill in hospital. She recognised it straight away and was delighted to hear it again.
John Dooley

this is a good song or poem i think
elizabeth moss

I remember this poem from 5 years old it was teach to me...from a kindergarden teacher...Teacher "Crutchley" he was very old as I remember him over 60 years ago.
This Poem I brought my Children up with it was in my Bath Room and they would read it out very loud to me that is why each of my Children have the drive they will always succeded at last...in life...thanks for this lovely reminder. Shirley Wilson.
Shirley Wilson

It's in the Royal Reader from Britain
Isaac Andrew

this inspiring poem read in royal readers in the 50,s- 60,s @ Perpetua Kawall Canadian mission primary school @ canal no 2 polder west bank Demerara Guyana south America played a very motivational role in my life . I give thanks to my Hm MR. JG Budhoo . A great HM who inspired many young people to greater heights many thanks . may you rest in peace .you would always be remembered.
tulsie persaud john

I had to memorize this poem as a class assignment at St. Margaret's E.C. Elementary school in Trinidad, West Indies when I was in an early primary grade around the age of nine or ten which was about sixty seven years ago. I am writing a memoir in which I referenced this poem, therefore I was searching for the source and the name of the poet who wrote it. I recollected it as being either in a McDougal Royal Reader or a West Indian Reader. Maybe, I am wrong.
Joan Bishop

When I was a young boy Mama used to say Learn all you can boy prepare for rainy day. Please stay in school boy Hear what the teacher say A point from the Royal Reader Will help you on your way. Drive the nail aright boy Hit it on the head, strike with all your might boy while the irons red. When you've work to do boy Do it with a will they who reached the top Must first climb the hill. Standing at the foot boy gazing at the sky How do you get there boy If you never try? Oh you've come along way Don't be downcast Try and Try again boy You''ll succeed at last. Dont be a fool boy Needing help in any way; Study real hard boy someday it's gonna pay. Don't ever stop boy Remember what mama say You will find a real (mean) world waiting to play.Even though it seems hard Don't give up the fight Hammering away know that You are sure to get it right.
This peer pressure now You don't have to be like the boys Explore your won horizons It's sure to give you joy!! Hope this helps. Learnt this back in 4th grade!
Clarissa Pinder

I'm pretty sure this is a folk song from Florida not a poem. They had a section in the state testing about this song and songs like it. That is all I know about this song.
Connor Williams

It was on my FSA test and I listened to a podcast of it. It was creepy

Genavive Parker

I heard a song "Drive the nail a' right boys" and I don't know who it is by... But I love that song, it was really cool! I told my mom about it and she thought I was a loon.. But when I found this website she thought it was a cool little poem.

McKenna Peak

Thank you for sharing . Yes I would like a copy sent to my email address.
Linda Gibson

I need help to locate the poem "The Little Boy That Died". I know it's in a Royal Reader but I don't remember the author.
Mernell Riley

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