Percy Bysshe Shelley: The Solitary

by Percy Bysshe Shelley
A Dialogue
To Death

The Solitary

Published by Rossetti, "Complete Poetical Works of P. B. S.", 1870; dated 1810. Included in the Esdaile manuscript book.

Dar'st thou amid the varied multitude
To live alone, an isolated thing?
To see the busy beings round thee spring,
And care for none; in thy calm solitude,
A flower that scarce breathes in the desert rude
To Zephyr's passing wing?
Not the swart Pariah in some Indian grove,
Lone, lean, and hunted by his brother's hate,
Hath drunk so deep the cup of bitter fate
As that poor wretch who cannot, cannot love:
He bears a load which nothing can remove,
A killing, withering weight.
He smiles—'tis sorrow's deadliest mockery;
He speaks—the cold words flow not from his soul;
He acts like others, drains the genial bowl,—
Yet, yet he longs—although he fears—to die;
He pants to reach what yet he seems to fly,
Dull life's extremest goal.