A Psalm of Life

Introduction

A Psalm of Life

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,      Life is but an empty dream!— For the soul is dead that slumbers,      And things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest!      And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest,      Was not spoken of the soul. Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,      Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow      Find us farther than to-day. Art is long, and Time is fleeting,      And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating      Funeral marches to the grave. In the world's broad field of battle,      In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle!      Be a hero in the strife! Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!      Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act,—act in the living Present!      Heart within, and God o'erhead! Lives of great men all remind us      We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us      Footprints on the sands of time; Footprints, that perhaps another,      Sailing o'er life's solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,      Seeing, shall take heart again. Let us, then, be up and doing,      With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing,      Learn to labor and to wait.

"A Psalm of Life" is a poem written by American writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, often subtitled "What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist".[1]


This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.