William Morris


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

Author Quotes

If we feel the least degradation in being amorous, or merry or hungry, or sleepy, we are so far bad animals, miserable men.

Live on, for love liveth, and earth shall be shaken by the wind of his wings on the triumphing morning, when the dead, and their deeds that die not shall awaken, and the world's tale shall sound in your trumpet of warning, and the sun smite the banner called scorn of the scorning, and dead pain ye shall trample, dead fruitless desire, as ye wend to pluck out the new world from the fire.

Morn shall meet noon while the flower-stems yet move, though the wind dieth soon

One was there who left all his friends behind; who going inland ever more and more, and being left quite alone, at last did find a lonely valley sheltered from the wind, wherein, amidst an ancient cypress wood, a long-deserted ruined castle stood.

The dear rain of thy weeping.

Then listen! when this day is overpast, a fearful monster shall I be again, and thou mayst be my saviour at the last, unless, once more, thy words are nought and vain. If thou of love and sovereignty art fain, come thou next morn, and when thou seest here a hideous dragon, have thereof no fear, but take the loathsome head up in thine hands and kiss it, and be master presently of twice the wealth that is in all the lands from Cathay to the head of Italy; and master also, if it pleaseth thee, of all thou praisest as so fresh and bright, of what thou callest crown of all delight. Ah! with what joy then shall I see again the sunlight on the green grass and the trees, and hear the clatter of the summer rain, and see the joyous folk beyond the seas. Ah, me! to hold my child upon my knees after the weeping of unkindly tears and all the wrongs of these four hundred years. Go now, go quick! leave this grey heap of stone; and from thy glad heart think upon thy way, how I shall love thee — yea, love thee alone, that bringest me from dark death unto day; for this shall be thy wages and thy pay; unheard-of wealth, unheard-of love is near, if thou hast heart a little dread to bear.

Upon the floor uncounted medals lay like things of little value; here and there stood golden caldrons, that might well outweigh the biggest midst an emperor's copper-ware, and golden cups were set on tables fair, themselves of gold; and in all hollow things were stored great gems, worthy the crowns of kings.

With no rest of the night; for i waked mid a story of a land wherein love is the light and the lord, where my tale shall be heard, and my wounds gain a glory, and my tears be a treasure to add to the hoard of pleasure laid up for his people's reward.

Ah! Wilt thou leave me then without one kiss, to slay the very seeds of fear and doubt,

By God I will not tell you more to-day, judge any way you will -- what matters it

Forgetfulness of grief I yet may gain; in some wise may come ending to my pain; it may be yet the Gods will have me glad! Yet, Love, I would that thee and pain I had!

I half wish that I had not been born with a sense of romance and beauty in this accursed age.

If you cannot learn to love real art at least learn to hate sham art and reject it . . . because these are but the outward symbols of the poison that lies within them.

Lo, the lovers unloved that draw nigh for your blessing! For your tale makes the dreaming whereby yet they live the dreams of the day with their hopes of redressing, the dreams of the night with the kisses they give, the dreams of the dawn wherein death and hope strive.

My work is the embodiment of dreams in one form or another.

Ornamental pattern work, to be raised above the contempt of reasonable men, must possess three qualities: beauty, imagination and order.

The fact of the antagonism of classes underlies all our government and causes political parties, who are continually making exhibitions of themselves to the disgust of all sensible men; making party questions out of matters of universal public convenience, and delaying reforms of the most obvious nature long after the whole country has cried out for them. This is I think a necessary result of government — or, if you please, of political government; and what causes that government is, as I have said, the contest of classes which our competitive system forces on us.

There is no excuse for doing anything which is not strikingly beautiful.

We are only the trustees for those who come after us.

With the arrogance of youth, I determined to do no less than to transform the world with Beauty. If I have succeeded in some small way, if only in one small corner of the world, amongst the men and women I love, then I shall count myself blessed, and blessed, and blessed, and the work goes on.

Ah, what shall we say then, but that earth threatened often shall live on for ever that such things may be, that the dry seed shall quicken, the hard earth shall soften, and the spring-bearing birds flutter north o'er the sea, that earth's garden may bloom round my love's feet and me?

Civilization is passing like a blight, daily growing heavier and more poisonous, over the whole face of the country.

Forsooth, brothers, fellowship is heaven, and lack of fellowship is hell: fellowship is life, and lack of fellowship is death: and the deeds that ye do upon the earth, it is for fellowship's sake that ye do them, and the life that is in it, that shall live on and on forever, and each one of you part of it, while many a man's life upon the earth from the earth shall wane.

I have never been in any rich man's home that would not have looked the better for having a bonfire made of nine-tenths of all it held.

If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

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