A Psalm of Life

Here’s my favorite inspirational poem about footsteps, “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He was 19 when he wrote it.

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.

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/footsteps/

4 thoughts on “A Psalm of Life

  1. I, too, love this poem and I think I’ve used it as a guide for my whole life. Thanks for bringing it to mind again, Martha. I think it is a good companionpiece to the poem I posted today. Certainly not in quality, but at least in theme.

    • My mom taught it to me and I enjoyed teaching it over the years. The best was teaching it in China. Those kids, once they got it, LOVED it. Something about Confucianism and Totalitarian Communism combined dampens the whole idea that an individual life can matter.

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