A PSALM OF LIFE
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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.
By R.S.S. Andros
A swallow in the spring
Came to our granary, and ‘neath the eaves
Essayed to make a nest, and there did bring
Wet earth and straw and leaves.
Day after day she toiled
With patient art, but ere her work was crowned,
Some sad mishap the tiny fabric spoiled,
And dashed it to the ground.
She found the ruin wrought,
But not cast down, forth from the place she flew,
And with her mate fresh earth and grasses brought
And built her nest anew.
But scarcely had she placed
The last soft feather on its ample floor,
When wicked hand, or chance, again laid waste
And wrought the ruin o’er.
But still her heart she kept,
And toiled again, — and last night, hearing calls,
I looked, — and lo! three little swallows slept
Within the earth-made walls.
What truth is here, O man!
Hath hope been smitten in its early dawn?
Have clouds o’ercast thy purpose, trust, or plan?
Have faith, and struggle on!