Footprints on The Sands Of Time

An uplifting memorial or funeral poem by American writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow about finding meaning in life.

Footprints on The Sands Of Time

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.

 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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