Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(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.


Comments about A Psalm Of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • Bisy Untan (12/1/2016 8:15:00 PM)


    Life is a path to wads perfection. The truth of life is unfolded to the humble readers, O'great poet! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Sixtus Osim (12/1/2016 4:12:00 PM)

    poesy live forever
    Trust no future, however pleasant!
    but then, do not fail to look ahead...a very scenic piece. I love it!
    (Report) Reply

  • Oladehinde Temitayo (12/1/2016 12:27:00 PM)

    Write title
    We can make our lives sublines, and departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time. A good message (Report) Reply

  • Neal Beightol (12/1/2016 8:43:00 AM)


    The paradox of the eternal existentialist. Eternity is forever, but life is but a moment. Live in the moment, for it does indeed matter. Wonderful piece of writing, its longevity proving its own assertion that art is long indeed. (Report) Reply

  • Gajanan Mishra (12/1/2016 7:17:00 AM)

    art is long
    with a heart for any fate (Report) Reply

  • Barry Middleton (12/1/2016 6:15:00 AM)


    Could have quit after 8 lines but then his name is Longfellow. (Report) Reply

  • Indira Renganathan (12/1/2016 4:41:00 AM)


    Superb preaching in the last stanza....with a heart for any fate in life to live....wonderful (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (12/1/2016 4:27:00 AM)

    Sublime! !
    A Psalm Of Life. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (12/1/2016 2:25:00 AM)


    Ezekiel 18: 4 NKJV
    4Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.
    (Report) Reply

  • Bharati Nayak (12/1/2016 2:03:00 AM)


    Lives of great men all remind us
    We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
    Footprints on the sands of time;
    (Report) Reply

  • Chukwukadibia Benjamin (11/28/2016 5:46:00 AM)


    Full of admonition for the simple, instructions for the wise and caution to the foolish. Dictions carefully chosen and style simple. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • (11/15/2016 5:23:00 PM)


    (A Psalm Of Life - Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) . What a poem! This is one of my all-time favorites. Thanks Mr. Longfellow. Great job. RIP. (Report) Reply

  • (11/10/2016 9:55:00 AM)


    Life is beautiful and teacher which teach to people value of things (Report) Reply

  • Pallang Mofokeng (9/29/2016 8:53:00 AM)

    Good
    Life is real... nice wor (Report) Reply

  • Atasha Williams (2/24/2016 9:09:00 AM)


    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.
    (Report) Reply

  • (9/11/2015 9:28:00 PM)


    My beloved Mother wrote this is in my 6th grade autograph book. I have never forgotten the part that says lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime and departing leave behind us footprints on the sands of time. I miss my Mother but she lives in my heart. (Report) Reply

  • Soumita Sarkar (9/6/2015 8:56:00 AM)


    What an antithesis of words..daring..yet so alive to the truth of live...hopeful and so inspiring.....Loved it.Thanks Dear Soul Longfellow....we shall follow..... (Report) Reply

  • Bharati Nayak (9/6/2015 6:20:00 AM)


    Lives of great men all remind us
    We can make our lives sublime
    And, departing, leave behind us
    Foot prints on the sands of time.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Let us be then up and doing
    With a heart for any fate
    Still achieving, still pursuing
    Learn to labor and to wait.- - - - Each stanza of this poem is like a gem.
    (Report) Reply

  • Dedan Onyango (7/18/2015 5:41:00 AM)


    Let us, then, be up and doing,
    With a heart for any fate;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
    Learn to labor and to wait.

    The final line bears alot of wait to our human life.
    That we strike gold and wait
    we dig and dig nad wait. great piece indeed.
    (Report) Reply

    Oluwatobi Moses Oluwatobi Moses (12/1/2016 3:18:00 PM)

    Then what meaning is life when we do not hope about the future?

  • (6/11/2015 8:47:00 AM)


    What a materialistic approach to life. Wow (Report) Reply

Read all 62 comments »

# 34 poem on top 500 Poems

User Rating:
3,7 / 5 ( 362 votes ) 61



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: funeral, hero, brother, trust, future, fate, sorrow, today, dream, life, heart, time, world, god



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Poem Edited: Monday, May 27, 2013


[Report Error]