The Psalm of Life

The Psalm of Life is a poem that was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow right after his first wife died. You can see his sadness and his determination to go on mirrored in the poem. I read it just yesterday, and thought I’d share it with those of you who haven’t read it.

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 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.

 

Will you take to heart what Longfellow says? Will you leave your mark, your ‘footprint on the sands of time?’ Will you strive and strive to reach your destined goal? Will you take up the challenge?

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