May 2, 2008

What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist-Longfellow

Posted in Character, Faith786's Favorites, Literature, Poetry at 7:46 pm by faith786

I wrote a lot of Islamic posts these past days and I decided to pursue something that is Islamic, but not necessarily from an Islamic text (hence why Islam is everywhere we go.) I was reading Jane Eyre and for some reason I remembered Longfellow from high school. (Don’t ask.) So I saw this poem online and I thought it was absolutely beautiful; there was something in it that hit me. Maybe it will *hit* you too:

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.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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2 Comments »

  1. rachael Babar said,

    Assalaam Alaikum,

    I think that Wadsworth was influenced by ideas coming from Islam, perhaps from Goethe (he was fluent in German). He also wrote a poem called Allah

  2. Pekahiah said,

    lovely simply lovely 🙂


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