Please explicate the poem "A Psalm of Life" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. (Needs to start with "This poem dramatizes the difference between...")I recently turned in my final draft of my...

Please explicate the poem "A Psalm of Life" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. (Needs to start with "This poem dramatizes the difference between...")

I recently turned in my final draft of my explication of this poem, but I have a feeling I did it wrong.

"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 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.

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ola10847 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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Nishasj I had already read that on another website and i asked for the explication to start with "This poem dramatizes the difference between..."

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nishasj | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow begins his poem" A Psalm of Life "with the same exuberance and enthusiasm that continues through most of the poem. He begs in the first stanza to be told"not in mournful numbers"about life . He states here that life doesn't abruptly end when one dies; rather, it extends into another after life . Longfellow values this dream of the afterlife immensely and seems to say that life can only be lived truly if one believes that the soul will continue to live long after the body dies. The second stanza continues with the same belief in afterlife that is present in the first. Longfellow states this clearly when he writes,"And the grave is not its goal."Meaning that, life doesn't end for people simply because they die; there is always something more to be hopeful and optimistic for. Longfellow begins discussing how humans must live their lives in constant anticipation for the next day under the belief that it will be better than each day before it:"But to act that each to-morrow / Find us farther than to-day."

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