A Psalm of Life

A Psalm of Life

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footprints-in-sandI came across the following brilliant words in a sermon at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Orlem and it was delivered by the parish priest Fr. Gilbert D’lima who did quote a para from the poem.

Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;
The lines are so powerful and special and summarize to an extent my purpose in life or something that we should all strive to achieve.
The Poetry Foundation describes the poem as follows :
A Psalm of Life” (1838) expresses both the confusion of his feelings in that time of discouragement and his resolve not to succumb to mournful passivity. Its counsel to “Act,—act in the living Present!” and its injunction to “be up and doing, / With a heart for any fate” gave poetic expression to the motto he had discovered in a German graveyard and translated in the epigraph toHyperion, A Romance (1839) as “Look not mournfully into the Past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the Present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy Future, without fear, and with a manly heart.” I present to you the poem in its complete extent, beautiful and rich.

 

A Psalm of Life

by 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 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.

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