Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

William Morris

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

"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."

"A fearful thing stood at the cloister's end and eyed him for a while, then 'gan to wend adown the cloisters, and began again that rattling, and the moan like fiends in pain. And as it came on towards him, with its teeth the body of a slain goat did it tear, the blood whereof in its hot jaws did seethe, and on its tongue he saw the smoking hair; then his heart sank, and standing trembling there, throughout his mind wild thoughts and fearful ran: "some fiend she was," he said, "the bane of man." yet he abode her still, although his blood curdled within him: the thing dropped the goat, and creeping on, came close to where he stood, and raised its head to him and wrinkled throat. Then he cried out and wildly at her smote, shutting his eyes, and turned and from the place ran swiftly, with a white and ghastly face."

"A good way to rid one's self of a sense of discomfort is to do something. That uneasy, dissatisfied feeling is actual force vibrating out of order; it may be turned to practical account by giving proper expression to its creative character."

"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."

"A pattern is either right or wrong.... It is no stronger than its weakest point."

"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."

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

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

"Alas, alas! another day gone by, another day and no soul come, she said; Another year, and still I am not dead!" And with that word once more her head she raised, and on the trembling man with great eyes gazed."

"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?"

"All rooms ought to look as if they were lived in, and to have so to say, a friendly welcome ready for the incomer."

"And the clouds fade above. Loved lips are thine as i tremble and hearken; bright thine eyes shine, though the leaves thy brow darken. O love, kiss me into silence, lest no word avail me, stay my head with thy bosom lest breath and life fail me! O sweet day, o rich day, made long for our love!"

"All wonder of pleasure, all doubt of desire, all blindness, are ended, and no more ye feel if your feet treat his flowers or the flames of his fire, if your breast meet his balms or the edge of his steel. Change is come, and past over, no more strife, no more learning: now your lips and your forehead are sealed with his seal, look backward and smile at the thorns and the burning. — sweet rest, o my soul, and no fear of returning!"

"And there he saw a door within the wall, well-hinged, close shut; nor was there in that place another on its hinges, therefore he stood there and pondered for a little space and thought: "Perchance some marvel I shall see, for surely here some dweller there must be, because this door seems whole and new and sound, while nought but ruin I can see around"."

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

"And then the image, that well-nigh erased over the castle-gate he did behold, above a door well-wrought in colored gold again he saw; a naked girl with wings enfolded in a serpent's scaly rings."

"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."

"Architecture would lead us to all the arts, as it did with earlier mean: but if we despise it and take no note of how we are housed, the other arts will have a hard time of it indeed."

"Art is man's expression of his joy in labor."

"Beauty, which is what is meant by art, using the word in its widest sense, is, I contend, no mere accident to human life, which people can take or leave as they choose, but a positive necessity of life."

"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."

"April O fair mid-spring, besung so oft and oft, How can I praise thy loveliness enow? Thy sun that burns not, and thy breezes soft That o'er the blossoms of the orchard blow, The thousand things that 'neath the young leaves grow, The hopes and chances of the growing year, Winter forgotten long, and summer near. When summer brings the lily and the rose, She brings us fear-her very death she brings Hid in her anxious heart, the forge of woes; And, dull with fear, no more the mavis sings. But thou! thou diest not, but thy fresh life clings About the fainting autumn's sweet decay, When in the earth the hopeful seed they lay. Ah! life of all the year, why yet do I, Amid thy snowy blossoms' fragrant drift, Still long for that which never draweth nigh, Striving my pleasure from my pain to sift, Some weight from off my fluttering mirth to lift? - Now, when far bells are ringing Come again, Come back, past years! why will ye pass in vain?"

"Boundless risk must pay for boundless gain."

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

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

"Come — pain ye shall have, and be blind to the ending! Come — fear ye shall have, mid the sky's overcasting! Come — change ye shall have, for far are ye wending! Come — no crown ye shall have for your thirst and your fasting, but the kissed lips of love and fair life everlasting! Cry out, for one heedeth, who leadeth you home!"

"Cricket, following the Ashes success, has proven to be one of the major drivers of inbound tourism in the sports and leisure sector."

"Death have we hated, knowing not what it meant Life we have loved, through green leaf and through sere, Though still the less we knew of its intent."

"Do not be afraid of large patterns, if properly designed they are more restful to the eye than small ones: on the whole, a pattern where the structure is large and the details much broken up is the most useful... very small rooms, as well as very large ones, look better ornamented with large patterns."

"Dawn talks to day over dew-gleaming flowers, night flies away"

"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."

"Don't think too much of style."

"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."

"Earth, left silent by the wind of night, seems shrunken 'neath the gray unmeasured height."

"Eve shall kiss night, and the leaves stir like rain as the wind stealeth light o'er the grass of the plain. Unseen are thine eyes mid the dreamy night's sleeping, and on my mouth there lies"

"Folk say, a wizard to a northern king at Christmas-tide such wondrous things did show, that through one window men beheld the spring, and through another saw the summer glow, and through a third the fruited vines a-row, while still, unheard, but in its wonted way, piped the drear wind of that December day. So with this Earthly Paradise it is, if ye will read aright, and pardon me, who strive to build a shadowy isle of bliss midmost the beating of the steely sea, where tossed about all hearts of men must be; whose ravening monsters mighty men shall slay, not the poor singer of an empty day."

"Fear and Hope — those are the names of the two great passions which rule the race of man, and with which revolutionists have to deal; to give hope to the many oppressed and fear to the few oppressors, that is our business; if we do the first and give hope to the many, the few must be frightened by their hope; otherwise we do not want to frighten them; it is not revenge we want for poor people, but happiness; indeed, what revenge can be taken for all the thousands of years of the sufferings of the poor?"

"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."

"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."

"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!"

"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."

"Forsooth, he that waketh in hell and feeleth his heart fail him, shall have memory of the merry days of earth, and how that when his heart failed him there, he cried on his fellow, were it his wife or his son or his brother or his gossip or his brother sworn in arms, and how that his fellow heard him and came and they mourned together under the sun, till again they laughed together and were but half sorry between them. This shall he think on in hell, and cry on his fellow to help him, and shall find that therein is no help because there is no fellowship, but every man for himself."

"Forsooth, ye have heard it said that ye shall do well in this world that in the world to come ye may live happily for ever; do ye well then, and have your reward both on earth and in heaven; for I say to you that earth and heaven are not two but one; and this one is that which ye know, and are each one of you a part of, to wit, the Holy Church, and in each one of you dwelleth the life of the Church, unless ye slay it."

"From out the throng and stress of lies, from out the painful noise of sighs, one voice of comfort seems to rise: "It is the meaner part that dies.""

"From those thy words, I deem from some distress by deeds of mine thy dear life I might save; O then, delay not! if one ever gave his life to any, mine I give to thee; come, tell me what the price of love must be? Swift death, to be with thee a day and night and with the earliest dawning to be slain? Or better, a long year of great delight, and many years of misery and pain? Or worse, and this poor hour for all my gain? A sorry merchant am I on this day,e'en as thou willest so must I obey."

"Go back again, now you have seen us, and your outward eyes have learned that in spite of all the infallible maxims of your day there is yet a time of rest in store for the world, when mastery has changed into fellowship — but not before. Go back again, then, and while you live you will see all round you people engaged in making others live lives which are not their own, while they themselves care nothing for their own real lives — men who hate life though they fear death. Go back and be the happier for having seen us, for having added a little hope to your struggle. Go on living while you may, striving, with whatsoever pain and labor needs must be, to build up little by little the new day of fellowship, and rest, and happiness."

"Give me love and work - these two only"

"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."

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

"Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful."