The poem was first published in the October 1838 issue of The Knickerbocker or New-York Monthly Magazine, a magazine published in the New York City. I think that is what Longfellow was talking about. So the human beings are compared with troops. They have to learn it on their own … as they age. However, the poet here urges us not to mind the consequences, or, to make our mind prepared for any fate. In terms of literary influences upon the text, scholars usually find the aforementioned Goethe as well as Poe and Dante, but this poem also has many similarities to a few Spanish works. The poem is also lyrical in nature.
We should be better than what we were yesterday. So we should not take this life lightly. Nevertheless, Longfellow scholar Robert L. Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time; In the seventh stanza of the poem, the poet says that the lives of so many great and successful men remind us that we can also achieve those heights if we wish and strive for that. The search for meaning is folly. Let the dead Past bury its dead! Here Longfellow slams the pessimists who sing melancholy songs, write sad poems, or thinks that nothing can be achieved in this life. He goes on to compare life to a battle field.
Let the dead Past bury its dead! It is didactic, intending to provide advice and counsel to young men earnestly endeavoring to discern how to live this ephemeral life. A Psalm Of Life Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream! In the world's broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! The poet urges us to be a hero in this battle of life, to fight this out bravely and finally win it. New York: Werner School Book Company, 1899: 106—107. The rest of the poem is dedicated to the speaker trying to prove this unknown person wrong. The poet encourages his readers not to waste life, that life is short and is going to end soon. Life is a battle and the world we live in is a battlefield.
That would inspire later generations to follow our way. And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul. And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul. This makes the poem a quatrain. And the very first sentence strikes the positive keynote of the poem.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow Find us farther than to-day. . And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul. In a hundred years, someone interested in the meaning of life will stumble across this interchange and, with a few key strokes, pull up incredible details on each of our lives, trying to analyze why we made the responses that we did. His best-known poems are Songs of Hiawatha, Evangeline, Hesperus, Excelsior and A Psalm of Life. The poet then says that though our hearts are brave and stout at other times, we fear death and our heart beats when we realize that Death is certainly coming our way bit by bit. Action and striving are key in this poem, but Longfellow says it is also important to embrace quietness of spirit and the value that comes in waiting and contemplation.
Our purpose is not to be reactive and driven by somebody else but to play an active role in this battle and be the hero. Finally, irresponsibility does not reflect the true human nature. Heart within, and God o'erhead! 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. Act now since it is all that is in your control and work wholeheartedly. Each of the stanzas has 4 lines. In other words, he wishes us to be successful in life by following the right way of life. The third stanza of A Psalm of Life is about the way of living.
The most important thing is to work, and work diligently so that we can always be a better-learned, better-skilled and better-mannered human being with every passing day. Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait. 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. Here, the speaker a young man responds to the Biblical teachings that this human life is not important and that we are made of dust and eventually return to dust. Instead, he says that life is indeed real and true and that death is not the goal of life; the soul lives on and does not turn to dust. Do your best and leave the rest to God overhead. A Psalm of Life is a blow to the pessimistic attitude of taking life lightly.
Stanza Two Life is real! The speaker comes to the conclusion that he, and the listener, must be prepared at anytime for death, strife, or any trouble thrown at them. 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. Life and death will proceed onwards and the narrator will be there, ready for anything. Epilogue — Still, as I have argued in my recent book on the meaning of life, the wisdom that may come with age makes death even more tragic. The poem highlights the views of the poet about how to live life and that there is only one life and therefore, we should make a good use of it. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1938. Rather, life is all about doing well with the view of making the world a better place to live.