What does the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow tell us about life in the first stanza of the poem A psalm of life?
In the first stanza the poet wants to say that one must not waste his life sitting idle or sleeping but he must be able to enjoy every moment of life, as life is full of dreams to be completed.
We must not take life lightly and pessimistically. He further adds that soul is dead for the inactive people. Though our body dies soul is immortal. It lives forever and hence he encourages his readers not to waste life, as life is too short and more work is to be done. He instructs about how to live and utilize one’s life meaningfully.
In the first stanza of the poem A Psalm of Life, the poet hits hard at the pessimists who says that this life is ‘an empty dream’ and nothing great can be achieved in this temporary life. Rather the speaker thinks that those who sleep without working are indeed dead souls. According to him, this life, at times, may seem pointless, but things are not really what they seem. This life is indeed real, great and useful. We should make a good use of it.
For a better line by line analysis follow this summary post: A Psalm of Life by Longfellow: Summary & Analysis