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A Psalm of Life

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katchapet Bustos

on 8 September 2014

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Transcript of A Psalm of Life

Stanza 2
Stanza 3
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Stanza 4
Background
The poem strives to look at the human attitude toward life and death.
The major theme of the poem is that living is not the only thing humans are put on earth for.
Stanza 1
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.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
H.W Longfellow (February 27, 1807- March 24, 1882) was an American poet and educator. He taught at Bowdoin College and Harvard University.

After retiring from Harvard University, he devoted himself completely to writing. His best known poems are Songs of Hiawatha, Evangeline, Hesperus, Excelsior and A Psalm of Life.
A Psalm of Life
Background
While heaven may be the goal at the end of life, humans are also sent to earth to live productive and generous lives as well.
Analysis
A sleeping soul is like being dead, so to be truly alive, a person needs to believe that he/she can achieve his/her dreams.
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.
What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist
katchapet@yahoo.com
Analysis of the Stanzas
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.
Analysis
There is a line from the Bible that talks about one’s body being created from dust and returning to dust after it dies. Longfellow says that this is only the body – the soul lives on.
Analysis
The second stanza begins with two phrases, ‘Life is real! Life is earnest!’ The poet uses an encouraging tone to say that life is real and serious. Life should not be treated lightly.
Analysis
Life isn’t just for pleasure (or pain), but is to do something – to make progress. The aim of life is to act wisely each day so that we can make a better future.
Life has a serious mission.
Life does not end with death.
We have a destiny irrespective of our joys and sorrows.
Analysis
Even if you are brave, the truth is that everyone is getting closer and closer to death. Time is flying by.
Stanza 5
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!
Time is too short for our long mission.
We should be brave, not just try to blend in with the crowd.
Analysis
The world to a battlefield as well as a temporary camp for troops. The humans are compared with troops. He asks all the people to live and fight their battles
Analysis
Let us not be like the dumb cattle which is driven by others, because of its lack of direction and determination.
Stanza 6
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!
Analysis
The moment right now is the most important moment. You can’t change the past, and you can’t trust the future. All you can do is seize this moment, trust your heart, and trust God.
Don't lose faith.
Let's leave a mark in this world
Stanza 7
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Analysis
Lives of great men remind us that we can make our own lives noble and elevated that is we can reach great heights.
Analysis
Finally when we die, we can leave behind us our footprints (noble deeds) for others to follow our path.
Stanza 8
Analysis
The noble deeds we leave behind over the sea of life would be an example of confidence and courage of another person.
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Be a good example to others.
Stanza 9
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
Analysis
The author inspires the reader to work and never stop, prepared to face anything that comes along.
Work hard and wait patiently for rewards.
References:
http://beamingnotes.com/2013/08/01/summary-of-a-psalm-of-life-by-h-w-longfellow/
http://beamingnotes.com/2013/08/13/analysis-of-a-psalm-of-life-by-h-w-longfellow/
http://www.mensaforkids.org/poetically/MFK-Poetry-10.pdf
http://stack-longfellow.wikispaces.com/Analysis+of+The+Psalm+of+Life
http://poetryproject2004.tripod.com/analysis-psalm.htm
Credits:
This is a prezi presentation of
Katherine Faith Maddela-Bustos
for her Grade 9 Students of
Nueva Vizcaya General Comprehensive High School (NVGCHS)
.
Style & Structure
The poem consists of nine stanzas, with four lines each (quatrain).

Each stanza follows the rhyme scheme
abab
(first line rhymes with the third line, the second with the fourth).
Allusions

Dust
thou art, to
dust
thou returnest.’
"Numbers" refer to the Bible verses.
This line was lifted from the Bible.
Similes
Still,
like
muffled drums, are beating.
Be not
like
dumb, driven cattle!
Metaphor
It is a figure of speech in which a likeness between two different things is stated using the words ‘like’ or ‘as.’
It is that figure of speech where comparison of two different things are implied but not clearly stated.
Life
is
but an empty dream.

Soul
is
dead that slumbers…

Art
is
long and Time
is
fleeting
Alliteration
D
ust
th
ou art, to
d
ust
th
ou returnest.
G
rave is not its
g
oal...
D
umb
d
riven cattle...
L
earn to
l
abour...
F
ind us
f
urther...
It is the close repetition of the consonant sounds at the beginning of words to facilitate narration.
Parallelism
Life is
real!
Life is
earnest!

Still
achiev
ing

still
pursu
ing
.
It is used when the speaker seems to repeat lines or phrases that are equally logical.
Personification
It is used when the speaker seems to repeat lines or phrases that are equally logical.
"Art is
long
."

"Time is
fleeting
."
‘Tell me not, in mournful
numbers
.’
is a reference to other works or cultures in prose and poetry.
- = E N D = -
Full transcript