Perfect for concert or festival, this inspirational text by Longfellow is set to a rhytmic ostinato with optional solo. The piece may be done as SSA with opt. solo or as SSAA with equally divided voices at the discretion of the director.
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 the driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and o’erhead!
Lives of great one’s all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.