A poet’s business is to instruct and guide; to stir and vivify, to inspire, energise and delight. With close reference to the poem “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, explain how the poet fulfills his objectives in the poem.
I’m not quite sure if a poet’s only business is indeed to instruct and guide; to stir and vivify, to inspire, energise and delight, as you suggest. I think, it’s more about the poetic inspiration than a business to instruct and guide, at least in the modern context. However, if the above statement is to be taken as a rule, our present poem, “A Psalm of Life” follows it well.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem is an inspiring song of life, where the poet glorifies life and its possibilities. Throughout the entire poem, the poet Longfellow conveys his optimistic view of life, instructs the readers to make the most out of this life, and inspires us to participate in the work and activity of life. The speaker advises us to utilize our precious time and act in the present for a better future. He motivates us to be hero in the battle of life. He also guides us by forbidding to trust the future, however pleasant it looks and to worry about the dead past. Instructing us to be the motivation for others who “shall take heart again” by seeing our achievements, his final message is “learn to labor and to wait”.
Thus “A Psalm of Life” is a poem through which the poet has been more than successful to instruct and guide, to inspire and energize many a reader since its publication.