A Letter in Which Morris Discusses his Early Poems

2 Eastcliff Gardens
May 1st 1891

My dear Murray,

Thank you very much. The poems are very interesting to me, but I doubt if they will thicken my volume directly. Catherine puzzles me: I have not the slightest recollection of any stanza of it. Did I write it? Is it a translation? I think not the latter; but it is devilish like. It is much too long: and I fear it is too rude to be altered. The Long Land I like in a fashion. But O the callowness of it; It cannot be altered, and I should shudder at seeing such ingenuous callowness exposed to the public gaze. Item it is tainted with imitation of Browning (as Browning then was). The Story of the Flower I shall try to write: the two stanzas are certainly mine, though these also I have utterly forgotten. The next ballad is too close an imitation of a border one to be either altered or published just now I fear. 'Malmsten' is (I think) a translation from a Danish one. The Stepmother certainly is.

'St Agnes &c' is a fragment and must stay as such; and I don't feel enclined to publish fragments. I should like to see anything else you can show me before you go. The Edge of the Wilderness I shall look up: I think it will do. Though I went a drive yesterday I can't shake off my gout which is a nuisance. Again very many thanks; I will consider the matter carefully.

Yours very truly

William Morris

Jenny is very well indeed, thank you, and enjoying herself hugely.


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