What is the difference of thought between the speaker and the psalmist in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem ‘A Psalm of Life’?
The speaker is a young man, as the subtitle of the poem suggests. He is very much enthusiastic and optimistic about the possibility of this human life.
The speaker’s view of life is a contradictory response to the negative and pessimistic view of life suggested by the psalmist (in the Biblical teaching). While the psalmist thinks the human life to be in vain, the speaker believes that this life can achieve many things.
Again, when the psalmist suggests that human beings are made of dust and would finally return to dust, the speaker argues that, it is only applicable to the human body. The soul is indeed immortal. So the speaker and the psalmist are at the opposite poles regarding their thoughts on human life.