Invocation To Misery
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Come, be happy!—sit near me,
Coy, unwilling, silent bride,
Mourning in thy robe of pride,
Come, be happy!—sit near me:
Sad as I may seem to thee,
I am happier far than thou,
Lady, whose imperial brow
Is endiademed with woe.
Misery! we have known each other,
Like a sister and a brother
Living in the same lone home,
Many years—we must live some
Hours or ages yet to come.
‘Tis an evil lot, and yet
Let us make the best of it;
If love can live when pleasure dies,
We two will love, till in our eyes
This heart’s Hell seem Paradise.
Come, be happy!—lie thee down
On the fresh grass newly mown,
Where the Grasshopper doth sing
Merrily—one joyous thing
In a world of sorrowing!
There our tent shall be the willow,
And mine arm shall be thy pillow;
Sounds and odours, sorrowful
Because they once were sweet, shall lull
Us to slumber, deep and dull.
Ha! thy frozen pulses flutter
With a love thou darest not utter.
Thou art murmuring—thou art weeping—
Is thine icy bosom leaping
While my burning heart lies sleeping?
Kiss me;—oh! thy lips are cold:
Round my neck thine arms enfold—
They are soft, but chill and dead;
And thy tears upon my head
Burn like points of frozen lead.
Hasten to the bridal bed—
Underneath the grave ’tis spread:
In darkness may our love be hid,
Oblivion be our coverlid—
We may rest, and none forbid.
Clasp me till our hearts be grown
Like two shadows into one;
Till this dreadful transport may
Like a vapour fade away,
In the sleep that lasts alway.
We may dream, in that long sleep,
That we are not those who weep;
E’en as Pleasure dreams of thee,
Thou mayst dream of her with me.
Let us laugh, and make our mirth,
At the shadows of the earth,
As dogs bay the moonlight clouds,
Which, like spectres wrapped in shrouds,
Pass o’er night in multitudes.
All the wide world, beside us,
Show like multitudinous
Puppets passing from a scene;
What but mockery can they mean,
Where I am—where thou hast been?
Published by Medwin, “The Athenaeum”, September 8, 1832. Reprinted (as “Misery, a Fragment”) by Mrs. Shelley, “Poetical Works”, 1839, 1st edition. A pencil copy of this poem is amongst the Shelley manuscripts at the Bodleian Library.]