A PSALM OF LIFE-What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist

This is one of my favorite poems. Reading through India After Gandhi, I realized how much we can learn from the lives of great men, which is when the line "...Lives of great men all remind us, We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us, Footprints on the sands of time..." came floating into my head. 
I thought I'd share this beautiful poem here. A great, meaningful and thoughtful piece of work by H.W.Longfellow.

(Sourced from here)

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

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


  1. You have cited an excellent poem by HW Longfellow. Its wonderful because it is appealing and thought-provoking and is relevant in these times of fast and senseless life..


    1. Very true aekaanthan, this poem makes so much more sense in the present scenario. Thanks for going through.

  2. A beautiful poem....I remember reading it in my childhood.....My mom used to recite the last four lines often....Thanks a lot for sharing it...:)

    1. Yes a very inspiring poem indeed. "By-hearting" it in school for the heck of it, and truly understanding it now- two so very different things. Thanks for going through.


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