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.