Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
WHAT THE HEART OF THE YOUNG MAN
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â SAID TO THE PSALMIST
Â Â TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
Â Â Â Â Life is but an empty dream ! â€”
Â Â For the soul is dead that slumbers,
Â Â Â Â And things are not what they seem.
Â Â Life is real ! Â Life is earnest!
Â Â Â Â And the grave is not its goal ;
Â Â Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Â Â Â Â Was not spoken of the soul.
Â Â Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Â Â Â Â Is our destined end or way ;
Â Â But to act, that each to-morrow
Â Â Â Â Find us farther than to-day.
Â Â Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
Â Â Â Â And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Â Â Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Â Â Â Â Funeral marches to the grave.
Â Â In the world’s broad field of battle,
Â Â Â Â In the bivouac of Life,
Â Â Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Â Â Â Â Be a hero in the strife !
Â Â Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant !
Â Â Â Â Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Â Â Act,â€” act in the living Present !
Â Â Â Â Heart within, and God o’erhead !
Â Â Lives of great men all remind us
Â Â Â Â We can make our lives sublime,
Â Â And, departing, leave behind us
Â Â Â Â Footprints on the sands of time ;
Â Â Footprints, that perhaps another,
Â Â Â Â Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
Â Â A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Â Â Â Â Seeing, shall take heart again.
Â Â Let us, then, be up and doing,
Â Â Â Â With a heart for any fate ;
Â Â Still achieving, still pursuing,
Â Â Â Â Learn to labor and to wait.