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A Psalm of Life

A Psalm of Life - Figures of Speech, Important Lines and Appreciation Questions

A Psalm of Life

 

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 worlds broad field of battle,

In the bivouac of Life,

Be not like dumb, driven cattle!

Be a hero in the strife!

 

Trust no Future, howeer pleasant!

Let the dead Past bury its dead!

Act, act in the living Present!

Heart within, and God oerhead!

 

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 oer lifes 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.

 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Alliteration:

 SENTENCE
Tell me not, in mournful numbers  m
Tell me not, in mournful numbers  n
For the soul is dead that slumbers  s
And the grave is not its goal  g
Was not spoken of the soul  s
But to act, that each to-morrow  t
Find us farther than to-day  f
In the world’s broad field of battle  b
Be not like dumb, driven cattle  d
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main  s
With a heart for any fate;  f
Learn to labor and to wait  l

 

Allusion:

 SENTENCE
Dust thou art, to dust returnest  Biblical
Let the dead Past bury its dead  Biblical

 

Simile:

 SENTENCE
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Be not like dumb, driven cattle

 

Metaphor

 SENTENCE
Life is but an empty dream
In the bivouac of Life
Footprints on the sands of time
Sailing o’er lifes solemn main

 

Personification:

 SENTENCE
For the soul is dead that slumbers
And our hearts, though stout and brave
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
A forlorn and ship wrecked brother

 

Oxymoron:

 SENTENCE
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow

 

Anaphora:

 SENTENCE
Life is real! Life is earnest
Dust thou art, to dust returnest
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow
Let the dead Past bury its dead

 

Repetition:

 SENTENCE
Act,—act in the living Present
Still achieving, still pursuing

 

Rhyme Scheme: ab ab.

 

Rhyming words:

Numbers, Slumbers – dream, seem – earnest, returnest – goal, soul – sorrow, tomorrow – way, today – fleeting, beating – brave, grave – battle, cattle – life, strife – pleasant, present – dead, overhead  – remind us, behind us – sublime, time –  another, brother – main, again – doing, pursuing  – fate, wait.

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