A Sad Contrast

A bit of context for this quote.  A manager of his employee, Bartleby, a copyist,  has just realized that, perhaps, one of the reasons why Bartleby is so reluctant not to do anything, is because of his sorry state of solitude; no friends, no family, no home, no money, nothing!

“For the first time in my life a feeling of overpowering stinging melancholy seized me.  Before, I had never experienced aught but a not unpleasing sadness.  The bond of a common humanity now drew me irresistibly to gloom.  A fraternal melancholy!  For both I and Bartleby were sons of Adam.  I remembered the bright silks and sparkling faces I had seen that day, in gala trim, swan-like sailing down the Mississippi of Broadway; and I contrasted them with the pallid copyist, and thought to myself, Ah happiness courts the light, so we deem the world is gay; but misery hids aloof, so we deem that misery there is none.”

– Herman Melville, in Bartleby the Scrivener.


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