William Morris


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

Author Quotes

A queen I was, what Gods I knew I loved, and nothing evil was there in my thought, and yet by love my wretched heart was moved until to utter ruin I was brought! Alas! thou sayest our gods were vain and nought, wait, wait, till thou hast heard this tale of mine, then shalt thou think them devilish or divine.

Boundless risk must pay for boundless gain.

For Queen Diana did my body change into a fork-tongued dragon flesh and fell, and through the island nightly do I range, or in the green sea mate with monsters strange, when in the middle of the moonlit night the sleepy mariner I do affright.

I cannot suppose there is anybody here who would think it either a good life, or an amusing one, to sit with one's hands before one doing nothing - to live like a gentleman, as fools call it.

If there is a reason for keeping the wall very quiet, choose a pattern that works all over without pronounced lines.... Put very succinctly, architectural effect depends upon a nice balance of horizontal, vertical and oblique. No rules can say how much of each; so nothing can really take the place of feeling and good judgment.

Let us speak, love, together some words of our story, that our lips as they part may remember the glory! O soft day, o calm day, made clear for our sake!

Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of defeat, and when it comes it turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name

One man with an idea in his head is in danger of being considered a madman two men with the same idea in common may be foolish, but can hardly be mad ten men sharing an idea begin to act, a hundred draw attention as fanatics, a thousand and society begins to tremble, a hundred thousand and there is war abroad, and the cause has victories tangible and real and why only a hundred thousand Why not a hundred million and peace upon the earth You and I who agree together, it is we who have to answer that question.

The business of a statesman is to balance the greed and fears of the proprietary class against the necessities of the working class. This is a very sorry business, and leads to all kinds of trickery and evasion ; so that it is more than doubtful whether a statesman can be a moderately honest man.

The word Revolution, which we Socialists are so often forced to use, has a terrible sound in most people's ears, even when we have explained to them that it does not necessarily mean a change accompanied by riot and all kinds of violence, and cannot mean a change made mechanically and in the teeth of opinion by a group of men who have somehow managed to seize on the executive power for the moment. Even when we explain that we use the word revolution in its etymological sense, and mean by it a change in the basis of society, people are scared at the idea of such a vast change, and beg that you will speak of reform and not revolution. As, however, we Socialists do not at all mean by our word revolution what these worthy people mean by their word reform, I can't help thinking that it would be a mistake to use it, whatever projects we might conceal beneath its harmless envelope. So we will stick to our word, which means a change of the basis of society; it may frighten people, but it will at least warn them that there is something to be frightened about, which will be no less dangerous for being ignored; and also it may encourage some people, and will mean to them at least not a fear, but a hope.

Unless you have a certain amount of money you shall not be allowed the exercise of the social virtues : sentiment, affection, good manners, intelligence even, to you shall be mere words; you shall be less than men, because you are needed as machines.

Wind, wind thou art sad, art thou kind wind, wind, unhappy thou art blind, yet still thou wanderest the lily-seed to find.

A world made to be lost, — A bitter life 'twixt pain and nothing tost.

But taking note of these things, at the last the mariner beneath the gateway passed. And there a lovely cloistered court he found, a fountain in the mist o'erthrown and dry, and in the cloister briers twining round the slender shafts; the wondrous imagery outworn by more than many years gone by; because the country people, in their fear of wizardry, had wrought destruction here, and piteously these fair things had been maimed; there stood great Jove, lacking his head of might; here was the archer, swift Apollo, lamed; the shapely limbs of Venus hid from sight by weeds and shards; Diana's ankles light bound with the cable of some coasting ship; and rusty nails through Helen's maddening lip.

Forget days past, heart-broken, put all memory by No grief on the green hillside, no pity in the sky, Joy that may not be spoken fills mead and flower and tree.

I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few.

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,

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