William Morris


English Poet, Artist, Textile Designer, Libertarian Socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

Author Quotes

Nothing should be made by man's labor which is not worth making or which must be made by labor degrading to the makers.

So I say, if you cannot learn to love real art at least learn to hate sham art and reject it.

The memory of some hopeful close embrace, low whispered words within some lonely place?

Thy still lips are sweet though the world is a-listening. O love, set a word in my mouth for our meeting, cast thine arms round about me to stay my heart's beating! O fresh day, o fair day, o long day made ours!

When a writer knows home in his heart, his heart must remain subtly apart from it. He must always be a stranger to the place he loves, and its people.

And what do ye say then? — that spring long departed has brought forth no child to the softness and showers; — that we slept and we dreamed through the summer of flowers; we dreamed of the winter, and waking dead-hearted found winter upon us and waste of dull hours.

Dreamer of dreams, born out of my due time, Why should I strive to set the crooked straight Let it suffice me that my murmuring rhyme Beats with light wing against the ivory gate, Telling a tale not too importunate.

God grant indeed thy words are not for nought! Then shalt thou save me, since for many a day to such a dreadful life I have been brought: nor will I spare with all my heart to pay what man soever takes my grief away; ah! I will love thee, if thou lovest me but well enough my saviour now to be.

I think that to all living things there is a pleasure in the exercise of their energies, and that even beasts rejoice in being lithe and swift and strong. But a man at work, making something which he feels will exist because he is working at it and wills it, is exercising the energies of his mind and soul as well as of his body. Memory and imagination help him as he works. Not only his own thoughts, but the thoughts of the men of past ages guide his hands; and, as a part of the human race, he creates. If we work thus we shall be men, and our days will be happy and eventful.

It seems to me that the sense of beauty in the external world, of interest in the life of man as a drama, and the desire of communicating this sense of beauty and interest to our fellows is or ought to be an essential part of the humanity of man, and that any man or set of men lacking that sense are less than men, and lack a portion of their birthright just as they were blind or deaf.

Love is enough: through the trouble and tangle from yesterday's dawning to yesterday's night I sought through the vales where the prisoned winds wrangle, till, wearied and bleeding, at end of the light I met him, and we wrestled, and great was my might. And the shadow of the night and not love was departed; I was sore, I was weary, yet love lived to seek; so I scaled the dark mountains, and wandered sad-hearted over wearier wastes, where e'en sunlight was bleak, with no rest of the night for my soul waxen weak.

Now such an one for daughter Creon had as maketh wise men fools and young men mad.

So long as the system of competition in the production and exchange of the means of life goes on, the degradation of the arts will go on; and if that system is to last forever, then art is doomed, and will surely die; that is to say, civilization will die.

The past is not dead, it is living in us, and will be alive in the future which we are now helping to make.

Till again shall the change come, and words your lips say not your hearts make all plain in the best wise they would and the world ye thought waning is glorious and good.

When he understands, as few others do, something of his home that is funny, or sad, or tragic, or cruel, or beautiful, or true, he knows he must do so as a stranger.

Apart from the desire to produce beautiful things, the leading passion of my life has been and is hatred of modern civilization.

Drowsy I lie, no folk at my command, who once was called the Lady of the Land; who might have bought a kingdom with a kiss, yea, half the world with such a sight as this.

God made the country, man made the town, and the Devil made the suburbs.

I too will go, remembering what I said to you, when any land, the first to which we came seemed that we sought, and set your hearts aflame, and all seemed won to you: but still I think, perchance years hence, the fount of life to drink, unless by some ill chance I first am slain. But boundless risk must pay for boundless gain.

It sprang without sowing, it grew without heeding, ye knew not its name and ye knew not its measure, ye noted it not mid your hope and your pleasure; there was pain in its blossom, despair in its seeding, but daylong your bosom now nurseth its treasure.

Love is enough: while ye deemed him a-sleeping, there were signs of his coming and sounds of his feet; his touch it was that would bring you to weeping, when the summer was deepest and music most sweet.

O hearken the words of his voice of compassion: "come cling round about me, ye faithful who sicken of the weary unrest and the world's passing fashions! As the rain in mid-morning your troubles shall thicken, but surely within you some godhead doth quicken, as ye cry to me heeding, and leading you home."

So on he went, and on the way he thought of all the glorious things of yesterday, nought of the price whereat they must be bought, but ever to himself did softly say "no roaming now, my wars are passed away, no long dull days devoid of happiness, when such a love my yearning heart shall bless."

The reward of labor is life. Is that not enough?

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English Poet, Artist, Textile Designer, Libertarian Socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood