I was often caught off guard with this line! Tell me not in mournful numbers, life is but an empty dream! More often than less, I preferred the predicate than the subject itself! And today, a very dear one gave me an eye opener by making me read the complete verse. I see the subject now, with much clarity and bliss.
To my soul and my soulmate, for making me relate to this, and giving me those silent smiles of understanding, over the long long seven-eight or nine-ten years!
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.
– H W Longfellow (Long sighted and large hearted indeed!)