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Analysis and comments on A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Comment 69 of 189, added on December 4th, 2009 at 6:59 PM.
A Psalm of Life

Comment 61 "I am nearing 70 and still in awe of the ability of many in his

generation to quote long, noble poems. It is a great loss to society that
schools no longer require memorization of such poems."
Esther Smith Holmes
I LOVE THIS COMMENT & IT IS SO TRUE. ALSO ONE THING ABOUT THIS POEM IS
THAT IT IS SO STIRRING! AND IT HELPS ONE NOT TO HAVE MAUDLIN THOUGHTS ABOUT
DEATH.
AND, I LOVE YOU, "AMERICANPOEMS," FOR HAVING THIS WEBSITE.
MARILYN SLIWA


Marilyn Sliwa from United States
Comment 68 of 189, added on September 28th, 2009 at 11:04 PM.

this poem is one of the favorite poems of my professor in college and she
always point out to us what really the meaning ang significance of being
alive... "and grave is not it's goal..." "life is earnest life is real!

anne from Philippines
Comment 67 of 189, added on September 5th, 2009 at 12:19 PM.

Well, I just love this poem.
Being a poet myself, I feel inspired by his wonderful wordings!

Kaveri.Manoharan from United Arab Emirates
Comment 66 of 189, added on July 1st, 2009 at 7:27 PM.

d poem is really very meaninful n realistic....longfellow s words r really
mindblowing in dis piece of poetry....a must read fr ppl of all ages...!!

ishita poddar from India
Comment 65 of 189, added on February 13th, 2009 at 7:14 AM.

I am eighty four years old. I grew up in Atlanta and remember both of my
parents reciting poetry that they learned in school. This was one of their
favorites. At my age, the words are especially comforting and inspiring!

Leigh Hicks from United States
Comment 64 of 189, added on December 28th, 2008 at 1:29 PM.

I first read this poem in high school, at which time I would have said I
didn't understand or like poetry. However, working for busy lawyers in the
Chicago Loop, I often found the line "Be not like dumb, driven cattle"
coming to mind as I rushed along frantically crowded streets to the office
(a.m.) or train (p.m.), especially after realizing I'd just followed the
herd across a street, never looking at the traffic light! I just found the
first 2 lines in Galsworthy's Maid in Waiting last night and had to find
and reread this wonderful poem.

Lou Ellen Campbell from United States
Comment 63 of 189, added on November 24th, 2008 at 2:23 AM.

Excellent! Gives me great inspiration to go on,fight for my dreams to come
through and don't give up. Keep on trusting in the Lord and praying, he is
the answer, believe in myself.

Deborah Alleyne from Guyana
Comment 62 of 189, added on November 12th, 2008 at 5:11 PM.

I am 53 years young and growing up my mother would recite only the first
stanza. She said that this poem was her mother's best poem. My grand mother
died when my mother was just 12. As a little girl I was very sad thinking
that my grandmother must have had a very sad life, until I stumble upon the
complete poem at the age of 37. I was excited and ran to my mother to give
her the good news about her mother's poem. That it was full of hope and
life. I will be reading this poem to family and friends for my aunt home
going this Saturday, I pray to the Lord that, it will inspire them as it
has inspired me. Thank You.


Nelia Reid from United States
Comment 61 of 189, added on October 29th, 2008 at 12:58 PM.

My dad often quoted parts of this poem. I associate "Life is real, Life is
earnest and the grave is not its goal" with him as he shaved in the
morning. I am nearing 70 and still in awe of the ability of many in his
generation to quote long, noble poems. It is a great loss to society that
schools no longer require memorization of such poems.

Esther Smith Holmes
Comment 60 of 189, added on October 3rd, 2008 at 1:17 PM.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow begins his poem "A Psalm of Life" with the same
exuberance and enthusiasm that continues through most of the poem. He begs
in the first stanza to be told "not in mournful numbers" about life. He
states here that life doesn't abruptly end when one dies; rather, it
extends into another after life. Longfellow values this dream of the
afterlife immensely and seems to say that life can only be lived truly if
one believes that the soul will continue to live long after the body dies.
The second stanza continues with the same belief in afterlife that is
present in the first.

Longfellow states this clearly when he writes, "And the grave is not its
goal." Meaning that, life doesn't end for people simply because they die;
there is always something more to be hopeful and optimistic for. Longfellow
begins discussing how humans must live their lives in constant anticipation
for the next day under the belief that it will be better than each day
before it: "But to act that each to-morrow / Find us farther than to-day."


In the subsequent stanza, Longfellow asserts that there is never an
infinite amount of time to live, but art that is created during one's life
can be preserved indefinitely and live on long after its creator dies. In
the following stanzas, Longfellow likens living in the world to fighting on
a huge field of battle.

He believes that people should lead heroic and courageous lives and not sit
idle and remain ineffectual while the world rapidly changes around them:
"Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife!" His use of the
word "strife" is especially interesting, since it clearly acknowledges that
life is inherently difficult, is a constant struggle, and will never be
easy. Longfellow then encourages everyone to have faith and trust the lord
and not to rely on an unknown future to be stable and supportive.


Sureen from India

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Information about A Psalm of Life

Poet: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Poem: 3. A Psalm of Life
Volume: Voices of the Night
Added: Feb 1 2004
Viewed: 1019 times
Poem of the Day: Oct 5 2000


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