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November 24, 2010

A Psalm of Life


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

A PSALM OF LIFE

WHAT THE HEART OF THE YOUNG MAN
SAID TO THE PSALMIST

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.

12 comments:

Zio Rico said...

"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 !"


Absolutely. Living in the difficult present may well be the secret to sanity.

LandShark 5150 said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

fuzzys dad said...

Thank-You for sharing this.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

LL said...

Happy Thanksgiving.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

Happy Thanksgiving !

WomanHonorThyself said...

hang in there NicK~! Have a beautiful Thanksgiving~!:)

Rhod said...

Thank you, Nick, for this jewel. I recognized some of it, but would never know the source.

"And things are not what they seem"... Always true and essential.

sig94 said...

Beautiful Nickie, simply beautiful. And to all my friends at GNN, a very happy Thanksgiving.

DC said...

Amen, to Nick, the commenters, the team and all ... beautiful stuff. Life has purpose beyond what we can perceive at the moment. Be thankful.

LL said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving!

christian soldier said...

Thank you for this poem by Longfellow- and for standing strong for Freedom...
Carol-CS