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

  • Narayanan Kutty Pozhath (4/23/2018 11:56:00 AM)


    Footprints on the sands of time, wonderful lines. Appreciate your words. (Report) Reply

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  • (4/20/2018 12:05:00 PM)


    Be a hero In the strife (Report) Reply

  • (4/12/2018 7:24:00 AM)


    Very profound. Encouraging to me after losing a dear friend. Thanks (Report) Reply

  • (4/11/2018 5:50:00 PM)


    I may have read this poem long ago, but today it at my age, it absolutely fits. Thank you brother Henry of long ago! (Report) Reply

  • (4/8/2018 10:40:00 PM)


    I use to read this poem to my dad and he would take me with him to meetings to read the poem to the group members.(this was the years 1949 53.) (Report) Reply

  • (3/29/2018 9:44:00 AM)


    You call this short?
    I want 10 lines or less
    -1/5 stars
    (Report) Reply

  • Mike King (3/18/2018 8:12:00 PM)


    Profound and still true today. Nothing's changed except man. (Report) Reply

  • (3/11/2018 9:55:00 AM)


    Life is but an empty dream!
    For lazy dreamers who sit on their all day and do nothing
    Their philosophy: out of dust they are made, into dust they will go, so why do anything.
    is all horse. Then why not point gun between their eyes, pull the trigger and their misery!
    (Report) Reply

  • (3/11/2018 9:45:00 AM)


    Uncle Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    Every word you said is worth following
    for a long long time
    Every fellow must read it in high and low times
    (Report) Reply

  • Joshua Adeyemi (3/11/2018 8:17:00 AM)


    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
    Funeral marches to the grave.
    (Report) Reply

  • Madhabi Banerjee (3/9/2018 9:01:00 PM)


    a poem ever thoughtful beautiful (Report) Reply

  • (3/2/2018 6:08:00 PM)


    A very insightful poem (Report) Reply

  • (2/27/2018 7:59:00 PM)


    this is the shittiest poem ever (Report) Reply

  • (2/19/2018 1:17:00 PM)


    Great poem (Report) Reply

  • Ndaiga Ngatia (2/13/2018 2:35:00 PM)


    Footprints, that perhaps another,
    Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
    Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Do I make any footprints that the next fellow can use as markers?

    A great poem; makes a body think - I`m I living right?
    (Report) Reply

  • Frank Adie (2/13/2018 1:47:00 AM)


    A poem for all times. Very impressive. (Report) Reply

  • (2/12/2018 10:15:00 AM)


    it is really inspiratinal (Report) Reply

  • (2/9/2018 1:17:00 AM)


    A great marvellous poem.Life truly entails all that is mentioned. (Report) Reply

  • (2/5/2018 2:16:00 AM)


    A poem I love. Very practical inspirational. (Report) Reply

  • Jerry Wells (1/28/2018 4:24:00 AM)


    THIS IS SOMETHING EVERYONE CAN USE IN THEY KIFE (Report) Reply

Read all 114 comments »

# 38 poem on top 500 Poems

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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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