Friday, January 21, 2005

Poem - A Psalm of Life

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 destin'd end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art if long, and time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

And 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, however pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act - act in the glorious Present!
Heart within, and God o'er head!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footsteps on the sands of time.

Footsteps, that, perhaps another
Sailing o'er life's solemn main
A forlorn and shipwreck'd 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



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