Monday, November 19, 2007

The Psalm of life

Here is one of my favorite poems - The psalm of life, by H.W. Longfellow. (1807-1882) The fact that each paragraph is so applicable to each one of us, and the amount of rational and practical advice one can take with him from it, is something i love.

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 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

I could write a summary of which lines i love most and why, (which i probably will later), but for now, tell me what u think!

7 comments:

Scarlett said...

This is probably the first poem I've read that is optimistic about life in that it doesn't say life is one big circle, we all have to die anyway, we are not going to take anything with us when we go but leave it all behind etc. etc.

Serendipity said...

I agree. which is why i love it so much.. each paragraph speaks about why we must be up and doing, with confidence to face anything. Also, this is quite an old poem but he speaks of how routine/robotic we've become in our lives (..."and our hearts though stout and brave, still like muffled drums are beating, funeral marches to the grave"...)

Its like a get up and go, get started kind of a poem.

Just another Indian said...

dream on... coz to get anything in life . u ve got to dream of it first ...
jaage hain der tak .. humein kuch der sone do ...
thodi si raat aur hain ...subah toh hone do ...
aadhe adhoore khwab jo ...poore na ho sake ...
ek baar phir se neend main .. woh khwab bone do ....

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

Thank you.
I've not been a connoisseur of poetry, but honestly, that was good stuff - and that s just what i needed.
(I almost had a brick smashed on my head yesterday after consoling a very recent divorcee saying "big deal - it's not like the end of the world!" :))

Jack Sparrow said...

I think those last two lines are the story of my life :)

I read this poem a long time ago ... thanks for reminding me about it !

Serendipity said...

@ JAN Indian - I love these lines. wr the rest of them?

@ TW - lol! Boys na. P.S i saw your profile on flikr.

Profile : I'm male and single.

hahahhaha!!!

@ Jack - story of all our lives sweets :) and tats the beauty of it. art is long and time is fleeting.

Crimson Feet said...

i read this long time back in school... 3rd last para was my fav and i remember quoting it too... (i now realise, it was probably the easiest para to comprehend, and hence my fav ;) )...

those lines written by JAN are from the movie Guru.. the movie starts with this song and the music is simply exhilarating!!... unfortunately, these lines are all that the song has!