Psalm of Life Summary

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Critical Analysis A Psalm of Life

Longfellow's "A Psalm of Life" belongs to the genre of poetry called 'Carpe Diem' poems. The Latin term coined by Horace in one of his odes means, "Seize the day and place no trust in tomorrow."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a classic poem entitled, "A Psalm of Life." Most people consider it to be a timeless work of art, for one can still relate to the central theme. It was written in the Romantic Era of American Literature, where salvation through nature was the primary theme for most Romantic poets. Longfellow's unique and genius use of metaphors, similes, and personification give "A Psalm of Life" its fascinating greatness. Longfellow's use of figurative language allows the reader to envision his words as actions rather than pictures. Longfellow makes an earnest appeal to his readers not to worry about the past or fantasize about the future but to take maximum advantage of the present to achieve something valuable and worthwhileClose . 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 not to sing 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...
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