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A Psalm of Life

A Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Katy Armstrong

on 25 January 2013

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Transcript of A Psalm of Life

A Psalm of Life Henry Wadsworth Longfelleow Elements of the Poem (ctd.) Language Structure Elements of Romanticism Setting Emotions Character/ Speaker Basic Information A Psalm of Life Personal Life Biography 1807-1882
Born in Portland, Maine
Spent a large portion of his life in Europe
Worked as a French and Spanish professor at Harvard
First American to translate The Divine Comedy His first wife, Mary Potter, died from a
miscarriage in 1835.
His second wife, Franny Appleton, died in a fire
in 1861.
He and Franny had six children.
He was good friends with Nathaniel Hawthorne Speaker is Longfellow expressing his opinion about how life should be lived.
Situation is living fully, even though death is inevitable. Conveys a sense of strength and of faith in life.
It does this by mentioning the finer aspects of life, and how waiting for death is a pointless use of time.
The author's attitude about life is that it is a gift and should be lived to the fullest.
The diction is dream-like and whimsical. Alliteration: "Dumb, driven cattle"
"Broad field of battle"
"Learn to Labor"
The soft diction gives the poem a pleasant, upbeat feeling.
Metaphor: "Sailing o'er life's solemn main"
"In the world's broad field of battle"
Simile: "And our hearts...like muffled drums are beating" Rhyme Scheme: ABAB
Written in stanzas of four line
Each stanza alternates between 8 and 7 syllables Inspired by a lecture from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
About living life to the fullest extent.
"A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books." Elements of the Poem There is no defined setting, since the poem is mainly a reflection of the author's thoughts. Overall Meaning People should strive to live the best life they can, because everyone is bound to die eventually. Imagery Sight: "Footprints on the sands of time"
"Sailing o'er life's solemn main"
Sound: "Still, like muffled drums are beating" Emotion: "Life is real! Life is Earnest!"
Distrust: "Trust no future, how e'er pleasant!"
Individualism: "Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife!"
"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime"
Nostalgia: "Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o'er life's solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again." The End
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