Happiness is overpromoted and overrated. I cannot presume to speak for the universal order of things, but I venture to say that we are not put on Earth to be happy. A quick look at popular culture (wherever you hail from) will convince you that "the pursuit of happiness" is a hollow business indeed. "Distracted from distraction by distraction."
Serenity is another matter entirely. As are peace of mind, tranquillity, and repose. One can be sad but serene, unhappy but tranquil. Peace of mind and repose can be maintained amid cacophony and chaos (the normal state of the world).
James Bateman (1893-1959), "Haytime in the Cotswolds"
Which is not to say that the attainment of serenity is easy, or, once attained, permanent.
When will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut,
Your round me roaming end, and under be my boughs?
When, when, Peace, will you, Peace? I'll not play hypocrite
To own my heart: I yield you do come sometimes; but
That piecemeal peace is poor peace. What pure peace allows
Alarms of wars, the daunting wars, the death of it?
O surely, reaving Peace, my Lord should leave in lieu
Some good! And so he does leave Patience exquisite,
That plumes to Peace thereafter. And when Peace here does house
He comes with work to do, he does not come to coo,
He comes to brood and sit.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, in W. H. Gardner and N. H. MacKenzie (editors), The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins (Oxford University Press, Fourth Edition, 1967). In a letter to Robert Bridges, Hopkins stated that "reave [line 7] is for rob, plunder, carry off." Ibid, page 278.
"Your round me roaming end" is very nice. As is: "And so he does leave Patience exquisite,/That plumes to Peace thereafter." Yes, the pursuit of happiness tends to breed impatience.
Thomas Henslow Barnard, "Landscape with Ludlow Castle" (1952)
Charles Stuart Calverley wrote light verse and comic verse. Thus, as I have noted in a previous post, we are perhaps supposed to view the subject of the following poem as a figure of fun. However, I've never thought so. I greatly admire him, and I would be pleased to follow in his footsteps.
He stood, a worn-out City clerk --
Who'd toiled, and seen no holiday,
For forty years from dawn to dark --
Alone beside Caermarthen Bay.
He felt the salt spray on his lips;
Heard children's voices on the sands;
Up the sun's path he saw the ships
Sail on and on to other lands;
And laughed aloud. Each sight and sound
To him was joy too deep for tears;
He sat him on the beach, and bound
A blue bandana round his ears:
And thought how, posted near his door,
His own green door on Camden Hill,
Two bands at least, most likely more,
Were mingling at their own sweet will
Verdi with Vance. And at the thought
He laughed again, and softly drew
That Morning Herald that he'd bought
Forth from his breast, and read it through.
C. S. Calverley, Fly Leaves (1872).
Adrian Paul Allinson (1890-1959), "The Cornish April"