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

  • Alwi Shatry (6/16/2017)


    Lofty thoughts, eloquent diction. Yet, and with all due respect - - I am somewhat unsure that the vast majority of humanity will pay heed to Longfellow's clarion call to emulate the feats of great men Lives of great men.... I humbly submit that there may be greatness in humility and normalcy often ignored in the quest for greatness and a subliminal yearning for transcendence and (frequently) immortality. For me, the saving grace of this work lies in the lines that state Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant! /Let the dead Past bury its dead! /Act, — act in the living Present! . Regardless, the ultimate question remains: how many deceased, immortalized greats are aware of their achievements when they were still alive? If they are, then death cannot be the final act. We really have no evidence that this is so - - other than by a leap of faith. A provocative poem nonetheless. (Report) Reply

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  • (5/14/2017 5:44:00 PM)


    Add a comment.Beautiful (Report) Reply

  • (4/20/2017 2:12:00 PM)


    I will be a food in the fight. Mehn! I love this poem (Report) Reply

  • Tapan M. Saren (4/14/2017 10:51:00 AM)


    This is a very beautiful poem reflecting life. I love this one. (Report) Reply

  • Ash Frost (3/26/2017 10:39:00 AM)


    love it my mind is get relaxed (Report) Reply

  • Ash Frost (3/26/2017 10:30:00 AM)


    life of my dreamed poem (Report) Reply

  • Amar Agarwala (1/28/2017 7:26:00 PM)


    The Classical Master at his best. (Report) Reply

  • Neptune Barman (1/21/2017 8:34:00 AM)


    Life is described completely with few words...great writing (Report) Reply

  • Prem Katoch (1/4/2017 4:00:00 AM)

    A Psalm Of Life
    It is the most inspiring for every age (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (1/1/2017 2:37:00 PM)

    tom allport
    a truly inspirational poem. (Report) Reply

  • (12/30/2016 1:57:00 PM)


    future is always hiden so never think mush on it but u can predict from the logical past and present

    here are my Poem :)
    https: //just-anthropos.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html
    hope you gonna like it as i do ;)
    (Report) Reply

  • 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

  • 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

  • Seamus O' Brian (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

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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


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