Not long after Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s death in 1882, biographer Eric S. Robertson noted, “The ‘Psalm of Life,’ great poem or not, went straight to the hearts of the people, and found an echoing shout in their midst. From the American pulpits, right and left, preachers talked to the people about it, and it came to be sung as a hymn in churches.”
In 1850, Longfellow reportedly wrote in his journal how happy he was to hear that a minister had quoted his poem in a sermon, although he was disappointed that none of the congregants could identify the author!
Let’s read again (or maybe for the first time) this classic Victorian poem. You may even recognize a few of the more famous lines that have been lifted and used elsewhere over the years.