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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Best 2 Funeral Poems [Includes PDF & Audio]

Welcome to our carefully chosen compilation of three funeral poems by the celebrated American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This page offers you a deep dive into Longfellow's poetic realm, where he masterfully conveys the profound emotions tied to grief, loss, and remembrance.

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1) Footprints On The Sands Of Time

Please note the audio recording may not exactly match the text version as poems are sometimes tailored/personalised.

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.
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.

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2) Afternoon In February

Please note the audio recording may not exactly match the text version as poems are sometimes tailored/personalised.

The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.

The snow recommences;
The buried fences
Mark no longer
The road o'er the plain;

While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
Slowly passes
A funeral train.

The bell is pealing,
And every feeling
Within me responds
To the dismal knell;

Shadows are trailing,
My heart is bewailing
And tolling within
Like a funeral bell.

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History & Information about poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet born on February 27, 1807, in Portland, Maine. He was the second of eight children, and his father was a prominent lawyer and politician.

Longfellow attended Bowdoin College, where he was friends with Nathaniel Hawthorne and future U.S. President Franklin Pierce. After college, he traveled to Europe to study languages and literature, becoming fluent in French, Italian, Spanish, and German.

In 1835, Longfellow published his first collection of poetry, "Voices of the Night," which included some of his most famous works, such as "The Psalm of Life" and "The Light of Stars." He went on to publish several other collections of poetry, including "The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems" and "Tales of a Wayside Inn."

Longfellow's poetry is known for its gentle, romantic tone, and his ability to capture the essence of American life and culture. He wrote about a wide range of topics, including history, religion, nature, and love.

In addition to his poetry, Longfellow was a renowned professor of modern languages at Harvard University and was instrumental in introducing European literature to American audiences. He also translated several works of literature, including Dante's "Divine Comedy" and the poetry of Michelangelo.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow died on March 24, 1882, at the age of 75, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His funeral was a grand affair attended by many prominent figures, and he was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. He is remembered as one of the most beloved poets in American literature, and his works continue to be read and cherished by readers around the world.