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

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Comment 60 of 210, 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
Comment 59 of 210, added on August 15th, 2008 at 2:53 PM.

My mother's father quoted this poem to her very frequently back in the
1920's. My mother quoted this poem to her three daughters frequently
throughout the years. I (being one of the 3 daughters)will always hold
dear this poem in my heart. Fortunately, I still am able to hear my
mother's sweet voice quoting Longfellow! Longfellow's works are so truly
amazing and will continue to live long through the ages!

Sally from United States
Comment 58 of 210, added on June 16th, 2008 at 5:09 AM.

Dear sir, I hope that you are OK and doing well. My name is Ahmad Shah
student of English Literature at Nangarhar University, I would like to
request a good paraphrase of this poem ( A Psalm of Life ). i know that i
have to write only comment, but as i need it's paraphrase due to exams -
kindly send me it via e-mail.


Ahmad Shah

Ahmad Shah from United States
Comment 57 of 210, added on May 9th, 2008 at 1:59 AM.

This poem has been inspiring me from my childhood and now about 66 years of
old. I cannot just forget it. think of the philosophy of it .It is like
Indian Geeta's philosophy. Co not go by the words used but go by the spirit
of the poet. The message is pure and simple. Consider the 200 years old
English and the age of the writer. He was great philosopher. Hats off!

Purushottam Vishnu Namjoshi from India
Comment 56 of 210, added on March 22nd, 2008 at 11:33 PM.

It is the poem related to everyone's life. Excellent and it is an immortal
poem ever in the literature...

Ritesh from India
Comment 55 of 210, added on March 11th, 2008 at 11:00 PM.

its really nice that i can read this poem...
i really love this poem and all the literature works like this...
bravo literature!!!

cheche from Indonesia
Comment 54 of 210, added on January 25th, 2008 at 10:24 AM.

This poem is quoted to good effect by P.G. Wodehouse in his novel, "The
Girl on the Boat." If you are of a mind to enjoy this poem, and are not
yet familiar with Wodehouse, than you are in for a treat!

Conrad Kunkel from United States
Comment 53 of 210, added on November 29th, 2007 at 9:09 PM.

This poen is spectaculous 2 the MAXX! I am so luvvin this Poetic sum of
inspiring syllables.

Melanasi from New Zealand
Comment 52 of 210, added on April 20th, 2006 at 1:54 PM.

This poem is a very spectacular and very touching poem. It will grab your
attention so rapidly and have you in tears by the time you finish. I
encourage anybody to read this poem.

ben ben from United States
Comment 51 of 210, added on April 3rd, 2006 at 10:45 AM.

My 98 year old Mother recites parts of this poem frequently. It is
something she learned in school that she did for a program. She doesn't
always remember what she did yesterday but she always remembers this poem.
I was thrilled when my daughter found it on the internet.

Bonnie Snow from United States

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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: 2682 times
Poem of the Day: Oct 5 2000

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