Analysis of A Psalm of Life By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Background
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the American writer composed this poem titled "A Psalm of Life". He wrote it after getting inspiration from a lecture he completed on a German writer known as Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. The poem was published alongside other poems of Longfellow in 1838.

The Structure
The Poem A Psalm of Life is written in 9 stanzas with a noticeable rhyme scheme. Each of the stanzas has 4 lines. This makes the poem a quatrain. Each stanza also has recurrent rhythm scheme. The poet used exclamation points, punctuation and other literary devices in getting his message across.

The Meaning
"A Psalm of Life" is subtitled "What the heart of the young man said to the psalmist". It focuses on man’s attitude to life and death. The main theme in the poem is that living is not the only reason for man’s existence on planet earth. Human beings are expected to live productively and generously despite the fact that heaven is the final goal when life terminates.

The speaker in the poem examines what life on earth is all about. For him, life is real. The grave is never the goal of life. Dust to dust doesn’t pertain to the soul rather the soul lives on even after death. The speaker goes on to say that life is never all about joy and sorrow. Rather, life is all about doing well with the view of making the world a better place to live.

Furthermore, the poet goes on to discuss about time. He sees time as a fleeting or temporary thing. It’s never permanent. He goes on to compare life to a battle field. One begins to engage in the battle right from the very first day of birth. Hence, people are not to be complacent with life. They should utilize every single moment at their disposal in making the world a better place.

Moreover, the poet reminds the reader about the lives of great men who have gone ahead of the living. They have set their footprints on the sands of the time. The living should follow their example. The poet also maintains that everyone should continue living and working with time in order to make the world a greater place. Finally, the poet concludes that everyone should continue to work harder and also make heaven at the end. Also please check the recitation of psalm of life