What enduring belief of the poet/speaker is expressed in the first two stanzas of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem ‘A Psalm of Life’? In what way does the poet justify the theme of the poem?
The first two stanzas of A Psalm of Life conveys the central idea of the poem. Here the poet expresses his beliefs in contrary to the biblical teachings that this human life is of no value and we are born merely to die and return to dust. The poet believes that this life can do wonders. This life is rather real and the saying “Dust thou art, to dust returnest” was spoken of the body; the soul is indeed immortal.
The theme of the poem that this life is important is justified in the poet’s reasoning that a good example of life can inspire and guide others in the right direction. The poet has also instructed us to work without wasting our valuable time and to crave for becoming a better human being with every passing day. That way we can set examples before others and achieve the status of immortality, making this life a real one. Moreover, the poet opines that the biblical saying is spoken only of body, not soul. That also justifies his theme: realness of life.