Psalm of Life

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 tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

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 fields 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
Actact in the living present!
Heart within, and God O'er head

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 solem 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.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Thanks to Jennifer Knapp for compiling this, her favorite poem during high school.

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