"That which does no earthly good cannot be heavenly minded." R. Rivera

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Psalm of Life

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
One of the great 19th century American "fireside poets"
whose fairly accessible metered and rhymed poetry 
became widely popular, memorized and recited in schools, 
and as entertainment around the family hearth 
and social gatherings.

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.

"Life in this world will be full
when we realize the grave is empty."
Ruben Rivera


karen - Simply Inspired said...

"Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait."
Yes!Life is meant to be lived. thank you for sharing...

wendy said...

I have not heard that poem, but it is a great one for sure.
Some really good life lessons there.

Wendi @ Classic Chic Home said...

I haven't read this poem since I was a child. Its message is clear and powerful. I must spend some time revisiting the wonderful prose of Longfellow.
Thanks for sharing, Ruben. Have a wonderful weekend,
~ Wendi ~

Anonymous said...

Ruben of course you can email me.
I am busy studying advanced French so Blogged out.

My Spotty Pony said...

A very moving poem, and by a great man. I love to revisit 19thC poetry every once in awhile.
Thank you for posting this Ruben. It has reminded me of happy times listening to my grandmother read poetry to me by her fireside. No TV in those days, life was much simpler then!
Thank you so much for your visit. Spotty is so dirty now that I am not sure even a car wash will get him clean!
Have a wonderful weekend.

Ivy and Elephants said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful message. Life is for living, not worrying and complaining.
May it be filled with love and laughter!

Palomasea said...

Great poem and reminder on seizing the day, and the moment. Thank you dear Ruben!
And indeed, precious Anita is such an inspiration to so many..
Thank you for visiting my posts, I am always very glad to see your comments. Aren't those ladies amazing? They walk the talk..and they are a great example of this message of Longfellow's, I believe!
(As are you and your dear wife!)
Thank you, Ruben :)
Hugs to you both,
- Irina

Palomasea said...

Ruben, I really like that painting as well, but unfortunately there was no reference on Pinterest. I was disappointed, but it touched me so, that I had to include it on the post.
Perhaps I will come across the artist and I'll credit immediately..I'll let you know as well!
You and Anita have a beautiful weekend,
- Irina :)

Sonja said...


I love the poem by Longfellow, but you know what? At least that good is the quote at the end by Ruben!! :)

lisa Moran, Bilancia Designs said...

Lovely, Ruben.
It is a struggle sometimes to "keep the faith" when others let you down. Nice to read uplifting messages.
Your quote is wonderful by the way.

lisa Moran, Bilancia Designs said...

Your comment reduced me to tears...in a VERY GOOD way. I was so touched by your incredibly kind remark after having such a horrible weekend with what happened to me...
You and Anita are two of the kindest people I have ever met and I feel so incredibly blessed to have you in my life. You single handedly chased the clouds away today and made me feel "better".
What a wonderful example of TRUE friendship.
Much love and HUGE hugs to you both. xo

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Beautiful, just beautiful Ruben.. Thank you for sharing this particular poem from a great poet...
Thank you so much for visiting.. So happy you enjoyed the ocean photos... OH, and Pitz! She has a special seat in the house for Tea Rat and Rattus...
p.s. I love your quote Ruben..
With great admiration