Gweg

A Psalm of Life

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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.

I was familiar with the famous last stanza but just read the whole thing today. Aside from the God line it is really great.

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[...]

Thank you. Psalm of Life is one of my favorite poems of all time and Longfellow is probably my favorite poet.

He speaks to my sense of life and his poetry is accessible and vivid.

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My recollection is there is a letter in The Ayn Rand Letters where she said something like there may be a sense in which there could be a "God", but not in any sense worth discussing. I suppose if there had been any further development of that we'd know.

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My recollection is there is a letter in The Ayn Rand Letters where she said something like there may be a sense in which there could be a "God", but not in any sense worth discussing. I suppose if there had been any further development of that we'd know.

In a letter to Frank Lloyd Wright (May 14, 1944), Ayn Rand wrote:

So I would like to tell you now that Howard Roark represents my conception of man as god, of the absolute human ideal. You may not approve of it and it may not be the form in which you see the ideal—but I would like you to accept, as my tribute to you, the fact that what I took from you was taken for the figure of my own god.

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