Tell me not, in mournful number,
Life is but an empty dream!”
For the soul is dead that slumber;
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not it’s 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
Finds us farther than to-day.
Art is long and time is fleeting,
And thou our hearts, thou stout and brave;
Still, like muffled drums are beating
Funereal marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of life,
Be not 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 overhead!
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.
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow