A Dialogue Poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley

A Dialogue

Rating: 2.8


DEATH:
For my dagger is bathed in the blood of the brave,
I come, care-worn tenant of life, from the grave,
Where Innocence sleeps 'neath the peace-giving sod,
And the good cease to tremble at Tyranny's nod;
I offer a calm habitation to thee,--
Say, victim of grief, wilt thou slumber with me?
My mansion is damp, cold silence is there,
But it lulls in oblivion the fiends of despair;
Not a groan of regret, not a sigh, not a breath,
Dares dispute with grim Silence the empire of Death.
I offer a calm habitation to thee,--
Say, victim of grief, wilt thou slumber with me?

MORTAL:
Mine eyelids are heavy; my soul seeks repose,
It longs in thy cells to embosom its woes,
It longs in thy cells to deposit its load,
Where no longer the scorpions of Perfidy goad,--
Where the phantoms of Prejudice vanish away,
And Bigotry's bloodhounds lose scent of their prey.
Yet tell me, dark Death, when thine empire is o'er,
What awaits on Futurity's mist-covered shore?

DEATH:
Cease, cease, wayward Mortal! I dare not unveil
The shadows that float o'er Eternity's vale;
Nought waits for the good but a spirit of Love,
That will hail their blest advent to regions above.
For Love, Mortal, gleams through the gloom of my sway,
And the shades which surround me fly fast at its ray.
Hast thou loved?--Then depart from these regions of hate,
And in slumber with me blunt the arrows of fate.
I offer a calm habitation to thee.--
Say, victim of grief, wilt thou slumber with me?

MORTAL:
Oh! sweet is thy slumber! oh! sweet is the ray
Which after thy night introduces the day;
How concealed, how persuasive, self-interest’s breath,
Though it floats to mine ear from the bosom of Death!
I hoped that I quite was forgotten by all,
Yet a lingering friend might be grieved at my fall,
And duty forbids, though I languish to die,
When departure might heave Virtue’s breast with a sigh.
O Death! O my friend! snatch this form to thy shrine,
And I fear, dear destroyer, I shall not repine.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Max Segal 02 September 2012

Wondrous! Sort of like Adonais, Shelley explains the multifaceted existence of life and death. At first Shelley disdains death as an enemy, but then begins to show its benevolence as an exit from a world no more better than death itself. But the human relents, despite his own persuasion into death's clutches, and decides to let the Earth savor his presence a bit longer.

6 7 Reply
Hannah Hebditch 01 April 2013

I really enjoyed the poem. such a great write! :)

7 4 Reply
Captain Herbert Poetry 25 April 2014

Highly poetical with perfect artistry

1 5 Reply

The poem is great in its contents and meanings. Dares disputes with grim silence the empire of earth, and I fear dear destroyer I shall not repine..... The meaningful lines very interested.

1 2 Reply
Marko Duvnjak 05 February 2015

Great poem

0 0 Reply
raffia chou 21 November 2018

Honestly, I can't understand this poem very well, which warm-hearted friends can explain a little to me? my mail: raffiachou@hotmail.com

0 0 Reply
Bri Edwards 23 December 2017

[continued] I'VE rejected God and Heaven, so I'd be otherwise Lost …. in a void without love. AND, by MANY a sigh, I'd be tossed! So if Death somehow manages to …....…wrest me from this Earth, I'll accept Death's offer of a calm habitation. Yes, I'LL....give it a try. PERCY: Suit yourself, Dear Bri. (December the 17th, ...2017)

0 0 Reply
Bri Edwards 23 December 2017

my response: Bri's Dialogue With Percy Bysshe Shelley….. [ Inspired By Poem Hunter's Poem Of The Day, A Dialogue, By Percy Bysshe Shelley, December 17th,2017; Short; Serious; Personal ] BRI: Percy, oh Percy, I feel you shan't cry for mercy.... to Death. After all, He offers: a calm habitation, AND... no groans of regret, ……….......not even a sigh! WHO could resist his hospitality? Certainly not I, ….Bri. [to be continued]...

0 0 Reply
Savita Tyagi 17 December 2017

Very interesting and dramatic dialogue between death and mortal. If we had the choice between living and dying one may pick either according to one’s choice. But we are not given that choice. Most of us still pick the life even though death may offer a calm slumber and relief from grief. Such is the power of love and life.

0 0 Reply
Michael Morgan 17 December 2017

Was Shelley suicidal? Death is certainly a preoccupation in his work. Most people who can't swim don't go boating in thunderstorms. MM

1 0 Reply
BEST POEMS
BEST POETS
READ THIS POEM IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Close
Error Success