"A Psalm Of Life"

JAG

Member
"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."
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

___________

JAG Note:
This magnificent poem by one of America's greatest
poets and writers touches the heart. Longfellow was a
Christian and I recall reading that Longfellow wrote
A Psalm Of Life while rallying from a major bout with depression
I think because of the death of his beloved wife.

Wikipedia has a good writeup on this great American writer and
poet.

"Longfellow was the most popular poet of his day.[135]
As a friend once wrote, "no other poet was so fully
recognized in his lifetime".[136] Many of his works
helped shape the American character and its legacy,
particularly with the poem "Paul Revere's Ride".[119]
He was such an admired figure in the United States
during his life that his 70th birthday in 1877 took on
the air of a national holiday, with parades, speeches,
and the reading of his poetry.'
__Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Wadsworth_Longfellow#Legacy

___________

I hope A Psalm Of Life will be a blessing to all who read this ode to the
God that created us all, and to the human spirit that never gives up the
fight no matter what with "God O'erhead."

This poem "sticks with you" -- read it carefully and you will not want to
ever forget it.

Best.

JAG
 

Torin

Member
Cool poem! It is too bad we don't have a poetry subforum here, but I suppose poetry is highly philosophical, so the Philosophy subforum is a good second best choice.

Coincidentally, I have been reading The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry. I like James Weldon Johnson's poem "The Creation" (Johnson was a major Civil Rights activist). The poem is a reimagining of the creation story in Genesis. Although it's religious, I like it because it's very optimistic and life affirming in tone. The theme, in my view, is that life on this earth is good.

 
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JAG

Member
Cool poem! It is too bad we don't have a poetry subforum here, but I suppose poetry is highly philosophical, so the Philosophy subforum is a good second best choice.

Coincidentally, I have been reading The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry. I like James Weldon Johnson's poem "The Creation" (Johnson was a major Civil Rights activist). The poem is a reimagining of the creation story in Genesis. Although it's religious, I like it because it's very optimistic and life affirming in tone. The theme, in my view, is that life on this earth is good.



Thanks for your comments and for your contribution to the thread.

Have you ever read Longfellow's King Robert Of Sicily?

I have been thinking about starting a thread on that one.
King Robert is an amazing piece of poetic work. It tells a story
in poetry format and you will be amazed at Longfellow's ability
to get verse to rhyme.

Just in case you have never had the pleasure of reading Longfellow's
King Robert, here is the opening lines . .

"Robert of Sicily, brother of Pope Urbane
And Valmond, Emperor of Allemaine,
Apparelled in magnificent attire,
With retinue of many a knight and squire,
On St. John's eve, at vespers, proudly sat
And heard the priests chant the Magnificat,
And as he listened, o'er and o'er again
Repeated, like a burden or refrain,
He caught the words, "Deposuit potentes
De sede, et exaltavit humiles;"
And slowly lifting up his kingly head
He to a learned clerk beside him said,
"What mean these words?" The clerk made answer meet,
"He has put down the mighty from their seat,
And has exalted them of low degree."
Thereat King Robert muttered scornfully,
"'T is well that such seditious words are sung
Only by priests and in the Latin tongue;
For unto priests and people be it known,
There is no power can push me from my throne!"
And leaning back, he yawned and fell asleep,
Lulled by the chant monotonous and deep."
___Henry W. Longfellow

I truly believe -- if you have never read King Robert
that if you will "go the distance" you will be glad you did.
Here is the link to King Robert:

Best Regards.

JAG


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