by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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 out 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 lilfe'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.-


Poem "A Psalm of Life" from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Selected Poems
published by Peter Pauper Press, Inc., Copyright 1967.

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