Longfellow / “A Psalm of Life”

Longfellow / “A Psalm of Life”

“A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist
 
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.
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