Many of these poems ( A Psalm of Life, for example) showed people triumphing over adversity, and in a struggling young nation that theme was inspiring. The young man states that this line was spoken only of the human body and never referred to the soul. He heard sailors speaking Spanish, French and German in the Portland streets and liked stories set in foreign places: The Arabian Nights, Robinson Crusoe, and the plays of. We ought to be wary of the past and the future, and instead live and act within the present. In the poem, A Psalm of Life, the poet sees life from an optimistic outlook. But here the meaning of “a psalm of life” is a song of life, where the poet glorifies life and its possibilities. Henry was a dreamy boy who loved to read. In addition, Frances Appleton, a young woman from Boston, had refused his proposal of marriage.
In 6897, he published Evangeline, a book-length poem about what would now be called ethnic cleansing. He uses religious language and thereby shows, as Huff writes, that “his plans are not empty dreams because, as the products of his soul, they offer proof that his soul is not dead. It is an invocation to mankind to follow the path of righteousness, the right way to live this life. Even though we are brave, though, we still move towards death. We are meant to act and go beyond mere sorrow or happiness. Thus, we must seize the life we have and be heroic, be more than dumb beasts. This is very important in suggesting the context of writing this poem. . The poem is didactic in tone. The speaker exhorts the reader to make life sublime in spite of the knowledge that death will come for them one day. A psalm of life poem essay. Already in its first three words, the poem is confrontational. Frances finally accepted his proposal the following spring, ushering in the happiest eighteen years of Longfellow's life.
Instead, he says that life is indeed real and true and that death is not the goal of life the soul lives on and does not turn to dust. He implores readers to live in the present, let go of the past, and enjoy life in the awareness that it is in some ways a slow march to the grave. The poem is also lyrical in nature. When we look at the lives of great men we can see that it is possible to live with meaning and that when we depart, we leave our “footprints on the sands of time. The couple had six children, five of whom lived to adulthood, and the marriage gave him new confidence. ” Longfellow’s speaker dismisses such “mournful numbers” (that is, such gloomy, depressing ideas expressed in the “numbers, ” or metrical feet, of poetry). First published in 6888 in Knickerbocker Magazine, which Longfellow was contributed to regularly. “A Psalm of Life” is an inspiring poem written by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. After graduating from Bowdoin College, Longfellow studied modern languages in Europe for three years, then returned to Bowdoin to teach them. He calls upon the reader to strive and achieve in spite of the promise of death. He does not have faith in those who hold the pessimistic view of life. The rhyme scheme followed is A B A B, where the last words of the first line and the third line rhyme, and alternatively the second and the fourth line rhyme in each stanza. Knowing this, we should be hopeful, prepared for anything we should endeavor to achieve and pursue, as well as “learn to labor and to wait.
Still, Longfellow’s achievements in fictional and nonfictional prose, in a striking variety of poetic forms and modes, and in translation. Ironically, then, a poem that is often interpreted today as a reiteration of tired clichés can be read, in some ways, as courageously argumentative. His mother, Zilpah Wadsworth, was the daughter of a Revolutionary War hero. The young man, speaking from his heart, refuses to accept that life is “an empty dream” or that the soul is dead. The poem consists of nine stanzas of four lines. The young teacher spent a grief-stricken year in Germany and Switzerland. Both books were very popular, but Longfellow's growing duties as a professor left him little time to write more. Perhaps the young man is thinking, for instance, of such verses as Psalm 89: 5, where the psalmist says to God (in the King James translation), “Behold, you have made my days as a handbreadth and my age is as nothing before you: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. The young man seems explicitly to reject portions of the Bible that teach that human life is merely vain or empty. Three years later, at the age of thirty-two, he published his first collection of poems, Voices of the Night, followed in 6896 by Ballads and Other Poems. ”The young man’s response incorporates themes from Protestantism, but is much more optimistic. The poem ‘A Psalm of Life’ often takes the subtitle “ What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist “. Here, the speaker (a young man) responds to the Biblical teachings that this human life is not important and that we are made of dust and eventually return to dust.
The opening lines of the poem can seem somewhat daring. The most widely known and best-loved American poet of his lifetime, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow achieved a level of national and international prominence previously unequaled in the literary history of the United States. He tells them to act like heroes in the struggles of day to day life. ” Even though the body molders into dust, his soul does not. His father, Stephen Longfellow, was a prominent Portland lawyer and later a member of Congress. To him this life is full of possibilities, as we can achieve higher goals by making the full use of our time and by working hard, and of course, by keeping faith in the power and potential of life. Longfellow took a position at Harvard in 6886. So, we may take it as a psalm in response to a psalm. The poem takes place as the British drive the French from Nova Scotia, and two lovers are parted, only to find each other years later when the man is about to die. A young man disagrees with a psalmist who alludes to Genesis 8: 69: For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine—then still part of Massachusetts—on February 77, 6857, the second son in a family of eight children. Longfellow wrote the “A Psalm of Life” after completing his lecture on, whose work influenced him. The poem was first published in the October 6888 issue of The Knickerbocker or New-York Monthly Magazine, a magazine published in the New York City.
At the end of the poem, the speaker hopes that the reader will take heart in his assertions that life isn't just an empty dream. ” It is possible that some other person who is toiling mournfully may see our footprints and take heart. In A Psalm of Life, the speaker addresses the psalmist who claims that life is an empty dream.