Art Is Long And Life Is Fleeting Essay Outline

In line 13, "Art is long" is used in contrast to the "fleeting" nature of time. This line means the constructions of a man's record of experience [art] may last long after him as a witness to his talent and creative imagination, but the time a person has to create art is limited.

Certainly, art (this includes paintings, sculpture, music, and literature) is a form of communication of the human experience, all of which often...

In line 13, "Art is long" is used in contrast to the "fleeting" nature of time. This line means the constructions of a man's record of experience [art] may last long after him as a witness to his talent and creative imagination, but the time a person has to create art is limited.

Certainly, art (this includes paintings, sculpture, music, and literature) is a form of communication of the human experience, all of which often lasts for ages. Nevertheless, the artist possesses only a "fleeting" amount of time in which to form his/ her work of art. Therefore, the artist must find it necessary to work diligently and with perseverance within the limitations of a lifetime. This fact is another part of the speaker's argument that one must "Act,—act in the living Present!" (line 23).

There is little doubt that Longfellow's "A Psalm of Life" stresses what is thematic of carpe diem verses, yet it also includes more, as in the idea that what one does in life can remain long after he or she is gone. Unlike traditional carpe diem poems, Longfellow's verse includes the theme of making the most of one's life in order to fulfill oneself, but also in order to leave something of worth behind for others. By doing so, others may find its beauty, value, and lessons to be learned in "the footsteps of time" and "take heart."

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.

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