A Psalm of Life

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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
   Finds 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.


I love this poem. More specifically I love this quote:

“Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing Learn to labor and to wait. “


You know, the labour part I’m ok with; It’s the waiting that kills me.  I always feel like I’m walking on hot coals; Can’t stand still or I might get burned.

Share your favorite poems in the comments below.



Add yours Comments – 3

  • Aladar

    on October 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm

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  • LanceN

    on October 24, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
    and sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveller, long I stood
    and looked down one as far as I could
    to where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    and having perhaps the better claim
    because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    though as for that, the passing there
    had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    in leaves no feet had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
    I took the one less travelled by,
    and that has made all the difference

    Robert Frost
    I have always felt that not only did I take the less travelled paths, but some times
    I blazed a separate trail.

  • Dalbert Butcher

    on October 30, 2013 at 4:55 am

    “When I Open My Heart” (A Poem)
    When I open my heart it becomes larger than me, and lives in the sky, and embraces the stars, and is Free.
    I take your hand, and together we rise above this harsh and cruel land, to touch Heaven, and Understand.
    We are One, more than any before, Heaven is before us, and it is only our Love that opens the door. Dalbert Butcher April 2006 (All Rights Reserved)