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A Psalm Of Life
(27 February 1807 – 24 March 1882 / Portland, Maine)

A Psalm Of Life

Poem By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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.

User Rating: 3,7 / 5 ( 383 votes ) 182

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Comments (182)

Excellent poem. To work and do our best so that each each tomorrow is better than yesterday is the goal of life.
Sir I likely to learn to write about poem to satisfy my family needs and wants
Precise form; quatrains rhyming abab and lines of even length. Some striking thoughts about mortality in the poem. Or rather immortality of the soul after the death of the body. Uplifting thoughts about life: 'Be a hero in the strife! ' Now I want to leave 'Footprints on the sands of time'. Like great men.
Very inspiring and well written, amazing rhyme and flow.
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