What does the phrase “life’s solemn main” mean in H. W. Longfellow’s poem ‘A Psalm of Life’?
‘Solemn’ means serious, stern and gloomy, and ‘main’ is an open ocean. In the above phrase the poet has compared this life to a stern and gloomy ocean. Many people face difficulties in crossing this ocean of life. So they sometimes lose their hope and become pessimistic. The poet has urged us to treat this life seriously and do something great in order to set an example before them and motivate them to cross this ocean of life easily.
By life’s solemn main the poet means the open, gloomy ocean of our life in which our ship is sailing. In the oceans the ship has to face the high and low waves. Similarly in our life we have to face the ups and downs of life.Many people have difficulties in crossing this ocean and they need motivation to cross the sea of life and reach their goal.
It means that life ocean where all have to work hard and wusely to reach its shore however some lose hope whom the poet has compared it to a shipwrecked person whom we can inspore by our foot prints and inspire them.
So basically it means a huge,gloomy ocean of life