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.

67 Comments

  1. Cece Massaquoi says:

    I am 64 yrs old I learn this Poem while I was in the 5 th grade. This is the best poem ever to written. It covers every aspect of life. I love it. So touching

  2. RUSSEL KRIWANEK says:

    MY WIFE NOW DECREASED, USE TO QUOTE THE LAST VERSE OFTEN. I LOOKED THE LAST VERSE UP ON THE INTERNET AND GOT THE WHOLE POEM. I THINK MY WIFE IS TELLING ME SOMETHING. IT WAS VERY COMFORTING.

  3. claudia says:

    this poem tells me a lot about life,I am still young, but I have had the kind of feeling that life itself is really treasure.

  4. geamie benting says:

    this poem inspired me alot. It awakened my souland opened my eyes the reality of life as longfellow valued it. this poem serves as my guide as i have cross the path of life… very inspiring…

  5. s c tyagi says:

    this is the poem that has always inspired me and given me the true meaning of life .this poem crosses the boundries of languages and countries.It shows the power of words that express the time-winning thoughts. My deep regards to the immortal poet. suresh tyagi

  6. Graham Salisbury says:

    I was born 80 years ago into a devout christian family of chicken farmers. My dad had little formal education
    and his knowledge of life was amazing.He taught me the
    poem.Life is REAL. As I now help people in A.C.N.TO USE OUR
    Video Phones in REAL LIFE.You MAY SEND ME YOUR e’MAIL.

  7. akhtar says:

    it is a verygood poem i like it very much

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