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A psalm is a sacred song, an invocation to A psalm is a sacred song, an invocation to

mankind to follow the path of righteousness. A mankind to follow the path of righteousness. A
Psalm of Life is a blow to the pessimistic attitude Psalm of Life is a blow to the pessimistic attitude
of taking life lightly. The poet encourages his of taking life lightly. The poet encourages his
readers not to waste life, that life is short and is readers not to waste life, that life is short and is
going to end soon. The poem highlights the views going to end soon. The poem highlights the views
of the poet about how to live life and that there is of the poet about how to live life and that there is
only one life and therefore, we should make a only one life and therefore, we should make a
good use of it. good use of it.

The poem begins by asking us not to tell him in The poem begins by asking us not to tell him in
sorrowful verses that life is an empty, meaningless sorrowful verses that life is an empty, meaningless
dream. According to Longfellow, a person who dream. According to Longfellow, a person who
spends his sleeping is already dead. Such a spends his sleeping is already dead. Such a
worthless life misguides other human beings. worthless life misguides other human beings.
Finally, irresponsibility does not reflect the true Finally, irresponsibility does not reflect the true
human nature. human nature.

The second stanza begins with two phrases, Life The second stanza begins with two phrases, Life
is real! Life is earnest! The poet uses an is real! Life is earnest! The poet uses an
encouraging tone to say that life is real and encouraging tone to say that life is real and
serious. Life should not be treated lightly. serious. Life should not be treated lightly.
Moreover, the poet says that death is not the Moreover, the poet says that death is not the
ultimate goal; life does not end with death. Dust ultimate goal; life does not end with death. Dust
thou art, to dust returnest is not applicable only thou art, to dust returnest is not applicable only
to the body. to the body.

The third stanza of A Psalm of Life is about the The third stanza of A Psalm of Life is about the
way of living. The poet tells us that our way of way of living. The poet tells us that our way of
leaving should be only based on enjoyment or leaving should be only based on enjoyment or
mourning. The aim of life is to act wisely each day mourning. The aim of life is to act wisely each day
so that we can make a better future. so that we can make a better future.

Stanza four is about the work assigned to us and Stanza four is about the work assigned to us and
about the time which is flying. Art is long, and about the time which is flying. Art is long, and
about Time is fleeting means that the work given about Time is fleeting means that the work given
to us is too long and time-consuming. The poet to us is too long and time-consuming. The poet
encourages that under such situations, our hearts encourages that under such situations, our hearts
still stout and brave and are beating funeral still stout and brave and are beating funeral
marches to the grave, like the drums covered with marches to the grave, like the drums covered with
cloth. The message that the poet wants to convey cloth. The message that the poet wants to convey
through this stanza is that one should never lose through this stanza is that one should never lose
courage under any circumstance. courage under any circumstance.

In the fifth stanza, the poet compares the world to In the fifth stanza, the poet compares the world to
a battlefield as well as a temporary camp for a battlefield as well as a temporary camp for
troops. The humans are compared with troops. He troops. The humans are compared with troops. He
asks all the people to live and fight their battles asks all the people to live and fight their battles
within the given period of time. The poet asks us within the given period of time. The poet asks us
not to be like the dumb cattle which is driven by not to be like the dumb cattle which is driven by
others, because of its lack of direction and others, because of its lack of direction and
determination. determination.

The poet asks us not to trust on the future even if The poet asks us not to trust on the future even if
it seems pleasant in the sixth stanza. The past it seems pleasant in the sixth stanza. The past
incidents must be forgotten away. The aim in life incidents must be forgotten away. The aim in life
should be act courageously at present and not to should be act courageously at present and not to
lose faith in God. lose faith in God.

Lives of great men remind us that we can make Lives of great men remind us that we can make
our own lives noble and elevated that is we can our own lives noble and elevated that is we can
reach great heights. Finally when we die, we can reach great heights. Finally when we die, we can
leave behind us our footprints (noble deeds) for leave behind us our footprints (noble deeds) for
others to follow our path. others to follow our path.

The noble deeds which we leave behind should be The noble deeds which we leave behind should be
such that an unhappy and shipwrecked man, such that an unhappy and shipwrecked man,
sailing over the sea of life, would be confident and sailing over the sea of life, would be confident and
take courage, following our example. take courage, following our example.

In the final stanza, the poet asks us to begin at In the final stanza, the poet asks us to begin at
once with courage without thinking about the once with courage without thinking about the
consequences of the actions. He asks us to consequences of the actions. He asks us to
achieve our aim and learn to work hard and wait achieve our aim and learn to work hard and wait
patiently for rewards. patiently for rewards.