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Tell me not, in mournful numbers

Representative Text

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 and way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us further than to-day.

Lives of true men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints which 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.

Source: A Book of Hymns for Public and Private Devotion (15th ed.) #310

Author: Henry W. Longfellow

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth , D.C.L. was born at Portland, Maine, Feb. 27, 1807, and graduated at Bowdoin College, 1825. After residing in Europe for four years to qualify for the Chair of Modern Languages in that College, he entered upon the duties of the same. In 1835 he removed to Harvard, on his election as Professor of Modern Languages and Belles-Lettres. He retained that Professorship to 1854. His literary reputation is great, and his writings are numerous and well known. His poems, many of which are as household words in all English-speaking countries, display much learning and great poetic power. A few of these poems and portions of others have come into common use as hymns, but a hymn-writer in the strict sense of that term he… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Tell me not, in mournful numbers
Author: Henry W. Longfellow
Copyright: Public Domain



This story is associated with the writing of RATHBUN: One Sunday in 1849 Ithamar Conkey (b. Shutesbury, MA, 1815; d. Elizabeth, NJ, 1867) walked out of the morning service at Central Baptist Church, Norwich, Connecticut, where he was choir director and organist, frustrated because only one soprano f…

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Instances (1 - 62 of 62)
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A Book of Hymns and Tunes #107


A Book of Hymns for Public and Private Devotion (15th ed.) #310

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A Book of Hymns for Public and Private Devotion. (10th ed.) #310

A Collection of Hymns and Sacred Songs. 19th ed. #d403

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A Collection of Spiritual Hymns #705

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Church Harmonies #623

Glad Tidings #d77

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Good Will Songs #183

Grammar School Hymn Book #d233

Heart and Voice #d243

Heart and Voice #d245

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Heart and Voice #213

Hymn and Tune Book for the Church and the Home and Services for Congregational Worship. Rev. ed. #d659

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Hymn and Tune Book for the Church and the Home. (Rev. ed.) #618

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Hymn and Tune Book, for the Church and the Home #684

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Hymn Book for Christian Worship #444

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Hymn Book for Christian Worship. 8th ed. #a444

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Hymnal for Christian Science Church and Sunday School Services #145

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Hymns and Anthems adapted for Jewish Worship #64

Hymns and Tunes for the Sunday School, the Congregation and the Home #d152

Hymns for Children and Young Persons #d382

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Hymns for First-Day Schools #39

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Hymns for the Church of Christ (3rd thousand) #730

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Hymns for the Church of Christ. (6th thousand) #730

Hymns of Progress #d163

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Hymns of the Church, Ancient and Modern #355

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Hymns of the Spirit #567

Jubilate Deo, a Book of Hymns and Tunes for Young and Old #d285

Love and Praise #d123

Lyra Sacra Americana #d183

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National Hymn and Tune Book #164

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Ocean Melodies, and Seamen's Companion #39c

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Palmer's Sabbath School Songs #58b

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Plymouth Collection #a872

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Plymouth Collection of Hymns and Tunes; for the use of Christian Congregations #872

Prayers and Hymns for the Church and the Home #d622

Progressive Songster #d121

Sacred Lyrics #d128

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Sacred Songs For Public Worship #141

School and College Hymnal #d144

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School and College Hymnal #107

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Singers and Songs of the Liberal Faith #216

Soldier's Friend #d77

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Songs for Social and Public Worship #836

Songs for the School #d150

The Association Hymn Book #d117

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The Baptist Hymn and Tune Book #872

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The Brethren Hymnal #453

The Carol #d180

The Faithist Hymnal #d96

The Golden Harp #d297

The Gospel Hymnal #d564

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The Liberal Hymn Book #16

The New Christian Harp. 10th ed. #d220

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The Psalms of Life #299

The Public School Hymnal, for the Use of High Schools and Seminaries. New and enl. ed. #d225

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The School Hymn-Book #229

The Soldier's Manual of Devotion, or Book of Common Prayer 2d ed. #d78

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The Spirit of Praise #174

The Truth Seeker Collection of Forms, Hymns and Recitations, Original and Selected, for the Use of Liberals #d336

Universal Hymns Compiled for the North End Union #d149

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