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Lyr Req: Psalm of Life (H W Longfellow)

29 Jan 04 - 07:05 AM (#1104164)
Subject: Lyr Req: Life is real, life is earnest
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

Life is real, life is earnest,
And the grave is not its goal.
"Dust thou art, to dust returnest"
Was not spoken of the soul.


That's the chorus. Anyone got the verses? Couldn't find them in the DT!
It's a wonderful song, and my friends and I stumble around trying to remember the verses, but collectively we just don't have them.

Allison


29 Jan 04 - 01:14 PM (#1104448)
Subject: Lyr Add: PSALM OF LIFE (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
From: dick greenhaus

"PSALM OF LIFE" Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What the heart of the young man said to the psalmist

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
    Life is but an empty dream! --
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
    And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
    And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
    Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
    Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
    Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
    And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
    Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
    In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
    Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
    Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, -- act in the living Present!
    Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
    We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
    Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
    Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
    Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
    With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
    Learn to labor and to wait.


(Drummed into my head back in grade school ca 1937 by a terribly earnest teacher. )


29 Jan 04 - 06:43 PM (#1104698)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Life is real, life is earnest
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

Thanks so much, Dick! I knew it was a poet, wasn't sure who.

Allison


29 Jan 04 - 06:54 PM (#1104710)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Life is real, life is earnest
From: Desert Dancer

The song version of "A Psalm of Life" was sung by Indiana singer & fiddler Lotus Dickey, who got it from his father. The song uses the first and last verse of the poem as verses, and the second verse of the poem as chorus. It's published in the Lotus Dickey Songbook, edited by Nancy C. McEntire, Grey Larsen and Janne Henshaw, Lotus Dickey Music (in association with Indiana University Press), 1995. The song falls in the section entitled, "Lotus's Favorite Folk Songs" (as differentiated from the 78 songs of his own authorship in the book). A set of cassettes of his songs was produced at the same time, but A Psalm of Life was not one of the songs recorded.

Lotus taught it to Pete Sutherland and Karen Billings Sutherland. Pete performs it on his 1989 cd Mountain Hornpipe (Epact 100-2). (Which happens to be one of my all-time favorites.)

~ Becky in Tucson


30 Jan 04 - 05:42 AM (#1105003)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Life is real, life is earnest
From: RangerSteve

Pete Peterson, who posts here occasionally, recently recorded it on a CD.


30 Jan 04 - 05:34 PM (#1105483)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Life is real, life is earnest
From: dick greenhaus

A I recall, we used to sing it to "Clementine"


30 Jan 04 - 05:57 PM (#1105493)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Life is real, life is earnest
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

*snort*


30 Jan 04 - 06:01 PM (#1105495)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Life is real, life is earnest
From: Burke

Northern Harmony, a modern northeastern shape note book, has a 4 part setting of these words called "Life's Purpose." I know it's a recent composition, but I can't remember who did it off hand.

I think it uses just the 1st, 2nd & the verse that ends with "footprints in the sand of time." It is on the difficult side. One of the people in our local group really likes it so we do it fairly often, but I still have not mastered it.


30 Jan 04 - 07:55 PM (#1105562)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Life is real, life is earnest
From: Midchuck

I love Pete Peterson and them's recording of it, but I'm partial to singing it to the melody of "The Spiritual Railway to Heaven" (a/k/a "Life Is Like a Mountain Railway"), myself.

My late father was prone to reciting this, or at least bits of it, at the slightest provocation, so I got exposed to it a lot before I was old enough to resist.

Peter.


31 Jan 04 - 10:18 AM (#1105847)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Life is real, life is earnest
From: dick greenhaus

Animaterra-
It's in common time, so you can sing it to a vast number of melodies. F'rinstance, it will fit just about any Welsh Hymn (or even Men of Harlech or All Through the Night.) For more dignified pomposity, try Hayden's "Austrian Hymn" (Deutschland Uber Alles.) Or you could fit it to a rousing "Halls of Montezuma". Or try it to "Babylon is Fallen" if you want shape note harmonies.


02 Sep 06 - 12:20 PM (#1825423)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Life is real, life is earnest
From: Desert Dancer

another thread on the song


22 Mar 08 - 04:51 PM (#2295384)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Life is real, life is earnest
From: GUEST,Marcia

My mother used to quote parts of this poem. I never knew the rest, or who wrote it. Thanks so much!


22 Mar 08 - 07:18 PM (#2295476)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Life is real, life is earnest
From: GUEST,leeneia

Thanks, dick greenhaus. The idea of singing this poem to 'Clementine' gave me my best laugh of the day.


24 May 08 - 02:28 PM (#2348262)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Psalm of Life (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
From: GUEST,Susanc

I heard this years ago on a Laurie Lewis and Cindy Maxton album. Does anyone know what the name of the album is? Much appreciated.

Thanks.


25 May 08 - 08:54 AM (#2348739)
Subject: RE: Add: Psalm of Life (life is real, life is earnest)
From: bbc

Pamela Goddard (Pamela from Ithica) performs it beautifully on her cd, "As Time Draws Near--Traditional Songs from the North & South" (pamgoddard.com). She sang it at NEFFA last year, just days after my dad died & moved me to tears. When she sand it again this year, I still found it profoundly touching. If you haven't had a chance to hear Pam yet, you're missing something very special--musically & personally. See, Allison, if you'd just stay over, instead of daytripping, you could hear more great stuff in person!

best,

Barbara


16 Jan 12 - 01:23 PM (#3291471)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Psalm of Life (H W Longfellow)
From: Jim Dixon

Eliza Carthy and Norma Waterson sing A PSALM OF LIFE on their album "Gift" (2010).

Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer, and The Children's Chorus of Washington (and possibly some others) sing it on "The Great American Folksong" (2010).

Gates of Goldrain sing it on their album "A Day in the Dark" (2008). This is a rock arrangement that's a little harder to like.

Jacqueline Schwab plays a piano arrangement on her album "Mark Twain's America" (1997)

Martin Simpson plays a guitar arrangement on his album "A Closer Walk with Thee" (1994)

Malcolm Dalglish plays it on hammered dulcimer, accompanying some female singers unknown to me, on his album "Pleasure" (1997)

I haven't sorted out whether they all play the same tune.