21st December 2016
When William Morris died, aged 65 on the 3rd October 1896 at Kelmscott Manor, his doctor remarked that Morris carried out the work of ten men in his lifetime- it was this prolific output that brought about his death. It’s no surprise then, that whilst we celebrate Morris the designer and artist, he was also a internationally known Poet and writer. During his lifetime, it was actually his poetry and literature that he was best known for, only by the late twentieth century was his designs for wallpaper and textiles recognised- it is this that he remains known for all these years after his death- even being recognised by Google and international newspapers on the anniversary of his centenary.
It’s important we remember all his artistic endeavours and so here we’re looking at our favourite Morris poems and writings. The first one is particularly relevant now that Winter is upon us!
“Whiles in the early Winter eve
We pass amid the gathering night
Some homestead that we had to leave
Years past; and see its candles bright
Shine in the room beside the door
Where we were merry years agone
But now must never enter more,
As still the dark road drives us on.
E’en so the world of men may turn
At even of some hurried day
And see the ancient glimmer burn
Across the waste that hath no way;
Then with that faint light in its eyes
A while I bid it linger near
And nurse in wavering memories
The bitter-sweet of days that were.”
― William Morris,
Between 1890-1896, Morris set up the Kelmscott Press and mastered the skill of fine hand-printing. “The aim of the Press was to revive the allied art crafts of type-designing, fine printing and book production, producing hand-printed limited editions on handmade paper. William Bowden and his son were employed as compositors.” (Helen Dore, William Morris, 1990) His own words can be seen in his excerpt named “A Note By William Morris” in which he explains his aims in founding the Kelmscott Press. This was published after his death in 1866 by trustees and friends as the last work of the Kelmscott Press.
From all of our research into the works he produced during his time running the press, it’s clear how his love of art and design could compliment his passion for writing and reading literature.
Love is Enough
LOVE is enough: though the World be a-waning,
And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining,
Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover
The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder,
Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder,
And this day draw a veil over all deeds pass’d over,
Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter;
The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter
These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.
‘Love is Enough’ is one of Morris’ most famous poems. It’s unanimously our favourite here at Laura’s Beau!
Which is your favourite?