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“The Builders” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“The Builders” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“The Builders” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

All are architects of Fate, Working in these walls of Time; Some with massive deeds and great, Some with ornaments of rhyme.

Nothing useless is, or low; Each thing in its place is best; And what seems but idle show Strengthens and supports the rest.

For the structure that we raise, Time is with materials filled; Our to-days and yesterdays Are the blocks with which we build.

Truly shape and fashion these; Leave no yawning gaps between; Think not, because no man sees, Such things will remain unseen.

In the elder days of Art, Builders wrought with greatest care Each minute and unseen part; For the Gods see everywhere.

Let us do our work as well, Both the unseen and the seen; Make the house, where Gods may dwell, Beautiful, entire, and clean.

Else our lives are incomplete, Standing in these walls of Time, Broken stairways, where the feet Stumble as they seek to climb.

Build to-day, then, strong and sure, With a firm and ample base; And ascending and secure Shall to-morrow find its place.

Thus alone can we attain To those turrets, where the eye Sees the world as one vast plain, And one boundless reach of sky.

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow HT: Elizabeth M Poem from Classiclit.About.com. See also Everypoet.com.

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    “A Psalm of Life

    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 are, to dust thou returnest,
    Was not spoken of the soul.

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

    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 sand of time;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
    Sailing o’er life’s solenm 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.”

    — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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