A Psalm Of Life Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A Psalm Of Life

Rating: 3.8

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
* Sunprincess * 17 June 2014

........this poem says we should be working everyday to help our self.....and doing something to help others....cause we have plenty of time to rest after we pass away....

73 55 Reply
Earlene Yemima 25 May 2013

This poem is written by An American poet, Henry Long Fellow. in Romantic era, this poem is one of well-know n American romantic poems. It talks about heart, spirit to be a better one each day. There are some of American dream they want to achieve, such as to dig our talents, to be number one, work hard, better than before. In this poem, Henry Fellow did a good job in arranging words and it did effectively. This poem giving us a new strength, an encouragement for those who are hopeless. This poem divides into 9 stanzas and I will try to explain by each of the stanza “Tell me not, in mournful number Life is but an empty dream For the soul is dead that slumbers And things are not what they seem” From this first stanza, we could conclude that the writer is a person who really optimistic and he believes life is a wonderful gift. We can see it on the first and the second line, the writer wants to convey us that he doesn’t want to hear a regretful crying, the one who sighs too much, always complaining and hates his life. He does believe life is a golden opportunity for us to fill and reach our dreams to be fulfilled and he would not waste out his time, even a second. The third and forth lines talk about everyone sometimes feel down. Life is never flat, sometimes we are in the top, another time we are in the bottom. Sometimes we succeed on our work, sometimes we fail. There will be a day when we are feeling desperate, our soul seems like lost its spirit. But the writer suggests us to not give up, because everything doesn’t seem like what we think. Still we have to keep on fire on doing things and reaches our dream stay strong and don’t be a coward than escapes from reality. “Life is real; life is earnest And the grave, is not its goal Dust thou art, to dust returnest Was not spoken at the soul” The first and second line reminds us that life is not just an imagination, we can’t play with it, we have to fill our life with meaningful things, we have to work hard, because life is to achieve what’s good in life. Life is not talking about going to die, we should have a hope. We have to dream big and soar high. The third and fourth tells us to do something useful in life, look for goal and work for it, don’t let this nature cycle limits our capability in work. Don’t think what we do will become useless after our life. “Not enjoyment and not sorrow Is our destined end or way But to act, that each tomorrow Find us farther than today” The goal of life is not about happiness or sadness at the end of its life, we are the one who choose our destiny. Each of our steps determines our future. We can’t control the length of our life, but we can control the depths. And in life we should be better in whatever we do than before. Our hard works will be paid. “Art is long, and the time is fleeting And our hearts thought stout brave Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave” The work is lots and the time runs fast. We have to manage our time so our work would be done when the time comes. Our hearts and minds work so hard to create a plan. I think the writer does a repetition of meaning, stout and brave have the same meaning “boldness” and by combining this two synonym side by side, looks like the writer want to give a stress in it. It tells us that our heart works very hard. The harder the heart works, the fastest it beats. In this two lines. The writer describes the beats of heart are like the muffled drums during the funeral to the grave, it beats fast. “In the world broad field of battle In the bivouac of life Be not like dumb, driven cattle Be a hero in strife! ” The writer does a repetition of meaning strife and battle has the same meaning, “fight” We live in the world that always changes, and we have to fight to keep us survive. Do not be like a fool, easy to be controlled by other people. Be brave to fight against the flow. Try to be a winner in every life’s problem. Life may kick you down, but your confidence will bring you up. We are more than a conqueror. Show our problems that we are not that easy to be defeated. “Trust no future, however pleased Let the death past bury its dead Act-act in the living present Heart within and God o’erhead” Future maybe planned by it doesn’t always work as smooth as we want, in order to gain a better future, we have to forget our past. Don’t let the past haunts us and stops our steps. Do what we can do today, don’t wait until tomorrow, give the best effort. Try to love our work no matter how bad is it, like what God has ordered us in Collosians 3: 23, ”Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart” “Lives of great men reminds us We can make our live sublime And departing, leave behind us Footprint on the sand of time” Many great people inspire us on their life. We can see that many great men come from bitter world. They are not come out from an easy life or successful families. Success doesn’t come instantly, it needs process. And on the process we may also fail, but a great man always keep on trying, they have a dream and they believe that all of dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. We should be like that, still focusing in what our dream. We have to be brave to come out from comfort zone. Whatever we did in our past, it will be our modal in the next. “footprint that perhaps another Sailing over life’s solemn main A forlon and shipwrecked brother Seeing, shall take heart again” From this stanza, we can see that a foot print is symbolized our history in gaining a success, we can overcome all problems that appear in our live. And our history also can motivate those who are feeling frustration, desperate, so they could rise up from life problems, can burn their sorrows into ashes. “Let us, then be up and doing With a heart of any fate Still achieving, still pursing Learn to labor and to wait” Don’t think too much about our future because it depends on us, do everything with our heart, enjoy it, and every good things will followed us. Work better, try harder are the main key of being success. Keep on trying, work and be patient. Just surrender it to God. Do our best and God will do the rest! Conclusion: Henry Fellow is teaching us to have a thankful heart, believe that life is a wonderful gift, not a wasting moment. encourage us that each of us can does great things. God never created rubbish. Don’t let your dream burned inside and never exist. If we are dare to dream, make sure we will make it happen. Life is a golden opportunity for all of us to make a history, don’t let your life end up with useless thing. Don’t look back in your past. You may do any flash back, but don’t stay with it too long. Your past may influence your present, but whether it will ruin your future or not, its your choice. Life is symbolized with a battle which means we have to do something to keep us alive. All that we have been through will inspire others. Whatever the life bring, trust yourself that you can handle it.

97 24 Reply
Jose Gervic Labe, Jr. 22 April 2010

I really like the poem.... this is the best poem I have ever read....

54 34 Reply
Ravi A 04 August 2009

What a poem with a positive thrust! The drive of the poem is like a marching song! We are nobody before him in handling such a theme in simple and yet strong verses. He is very positive to the end. 'Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o'er life's solenm main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again.'... We should never miss this idea in our life. It is very disappointing to see that our major junk of poetry do not certainly give a hand to such a shipwrecked brother to find his life once again. We handle very negative ideas to further drive such forlorn brothers into the depthless sea. It is time we reflected on this idea. And the last line! I am simply dumb founded. May god bless this philosopher poet.

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Stacie Durman 20 September 2012

Love, love, love this poem! In my 8th grade English class I had to pick a poem to recite and break down and this was the poem I chose. I loved it then and still love it to this day! Longfellow is one of my top 5 favorite poets of all time and I will never forget this one. Thanks for posting it for the world to ENJOY!

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Sylvia Frances Chan 23 January 2024

FIVE: This poem is a call to action, urging readers to make the most of their time on earth and to live their lives to the fullest. Enjoyed a very lot and this is a 5 Stars creation. May this poem be one day The Classic Poem Of The Day, I do hope so. Thank you

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Sylvia Frances Chan 23 January 2024

FOUR: It urges readers to act in the present, to be heroes in their own lives, and to leave behind a legacy that will inspire others to do the same.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 23 January 2024

THREE: It encourages readers to embrace life and to strive for greatness, rather than simply accepting their fate.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 23 January 2024

TWO: It goes about the importance of living in the present and making the most of one's life.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 23 January 2024

My responses are: ONE: I love to read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "A Psalm of Life" .

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