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Psalm of Life
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Psalm of Life
[words Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), music Eliza Carthy]
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow' poem Psalm of Life was first published in the Knickerbocker Magazine in October 1838. It also appeared in Longfellow's first published collection Voices in the Night.
Eliza Carthy and Norma Waterson sang Psalm of Life in 2010 on their Topic CD Gift. They commented in their sleeve notes:
It was Jessica Simpson's idea to put a tune to this rousing poem by the great American writer Longfellow, thank you Jessica.
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.