Percy Bysshe Shelley

(1792-1822 / Horsham / England)

A Dialogue - Poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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?

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?

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?

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 about A Dialogue by Percy Bysshe Shelley

  • (11/21/2018 8:51:00 PM)

    Honestly, I can't understand this poem very well, which warm-hearted friends can explain a little to me? my mail: (Report)Reply

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  • Bri Edwards (12/23/2017 12:46:00 PM)


    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.


    Suit yourself, Dear Bri.

    (December the 17th, ...2017)

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  • Bri Edwards (12/23/2017 12:45:00 PM)

    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 ]


    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]...

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  • Savita Tyagi (12/17/2017 2:46:00 PM)

    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. (Report)Reply

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  • (12/17/2017 2:25:00 PM)

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

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  • Glen Kappy (12/17/2017 8:12:00 AM)

    This is my first time reading this, and it is satisfying in its many good images and weighty subject matter.

    From the title and first lines I immediately thought of Hamlet’s to be or not to be soliloquy and wonder if it was subtext for Shelley.

    He affirms what is resoundingly true—love is supreme always.


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  • Edward Kofi Louis (12/17/2017 2:58:00 AM)

    Victim of grief! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report)Reply

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  • Bernard F. Asuncion (12/17/2017 2:43:00 AM)

    Such a profound poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley👍👍👍 (Report)Reply

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  • (12/17/2017 2:39:00 AM)

    Interesting to read. Well carved. I really enjoyed reading this word to word. (Report)Reply

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  • (12/17/2017 1:57:00 AM)

    Oh! what a poem it is really enlightens me and my's a dialogue between death and dust and the mortal at last submits saying if it be drinkable by any manner of death, I must moisten my throat with it......very outstanding........thanks for sharing (Report)Reply

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  • Ramesh T A (12/17/2017 1:34:00 AM)

    Interesting dialogue between Death and Mortal makes think about how can deal with death in world life! Shelley has a wonderful pen to compose energizing poems ever! (Report)Reply

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  • (2/5/2015 7:28:00 AM)

    Great poem (Report)Reply

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  • (5/20/2014 11:59:00 PM)

    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. (Report)Reply

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  • Captain Herbert Poetry (4/25/2014 6:55:00 AM)

    Highly poetical with perfect artistry (Report)Reply

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  • (4/1/2013 3:44:00 AM)

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

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  • (9/2/2012 12:02:00 PM)

    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. (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 1, 2010

Poem Edited: Monday, May 9, 2011

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