A Psalm of Life
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 our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

 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 persuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

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5 replies
  1. Margaret Hyde
    Margaret Hyde says:

    I enjoy reading your blog very much Rusty. Thank you for all of the good things you put on it. It is so hard for my husband and I to go to the temple. 2 are 3-4 hours away, and somehow we can’t seem to get there. I have something new to think about now… thanks. “I love to see the Temple, we’re going there on Wednesday!” The poem you shared is one of my very favorites. It has such great meaning behind it. Thanks Rusty.

  2. Rusty Lindquist
    Rusty Lindquist says:

    You’re so welcome, and good for you! A 2-3 hour drive does indeed make going to the Temple a challenge. I appreciate your humility and willingness to make the sacrifice – you’re a living example of this very principle.

    I truly believe that the richness of our experiences are directly proportional to the sacrifice they demand of us. I pray that you will find that to be the case ON WEDNESDAY!!!

    Please, come again.


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  1. […] Wadsworth Longfellow, in his poem “A psalm of life” (here), wrote the following: Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that […]

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