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A Psalm of Life

Written by: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Biography
 | Quotes (130) |
What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist

TELL me not in mournful numbers  
Life is but an empty dream!¡ª 
For the soul is dead that slumbers  
And things are not what they seem. 

Life is real! Life is earnest! 5 
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; 10 
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 15 
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! 20 

Trust no Future howe'er pleasant! 
Let the dead Past bury its dead! 
Act ¡ªact in the living Present! 
Heart within and God o'erhead! 

Lives of great men all remind us 25 
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 30 
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 35 
Learn to labor and to wait.