List of Drafts for The Earthly Paradise

Drafts for the Spring and Summer Tales


B. L. Add. Ms. 37,499, select manuscript. Presented by C. Fairfax Murray Esq./ 11 May, 1907. Nearly fair copy of the "Apology," "Prologue: The Wanderers" and early interconnective passages for April. "The Apology" is ff. 1-2, fair copy.

Think, listener

B. L. Add. Ms. 37,499, ff. 118-19, a few minor verbal changes: e. g. , "the tender petals, since they needs must fade." in the final version becomes: "Their tender petals, there in peace to fade."

Prologue: The Wanderers

For an edition of this text, see "Unpublished Tales for The Earthly Paradise: The Wanderers," edited by David Latham. An early version of "The Wanderers" is in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,305, ff. 9-73. A near final version is in B. L. Add. Ms. 37,499, ff. 2v, 3-118, with verbal changes in the last lines, e. g.:

"And tell you what your life with us should be
That pays so ill your hoped felicity,"
becomes in the final version:
"And tells you what your life henceforth may be,
But poor, alas, to that ye hoped to see."

March lyric

B. L. Add. Ms. 37,499, ff. 119v and 120; a few verbal changes.

Atalanta's Race

no known draft

interconnective lyric preceding The Man Born to be King

B. L. Add. Ms. 37,499, f. 122.

interconnective lyric succeeding The Man Born to be King

B. L. Add. Ms. 37,499, f. 123.

The Man Born to be King

Early Draft: The Man Born To Be King

Fitz. MS 2, in Morris's hand, 10ff. Very rough. Murray titles it "The Man Born To Be King" in his table of contents to Fitz. MS 2. May Morris cites portions of this in CW, III, xvi-xvii, and CW, XXI, xviii. (The CW, XXI passage apparently preceded the CW, III one). She comments, "It is interesting, as it was written, I think, about the time of 'The Scenes from the Siege of Troy,' the workmanship being in my father's younger manner --full of vigorous, imperfect, and impatient verse, different indeed from that of the published 'Earthly Paradise'” (III, xvi). This would make it the earliest known draft of an individual Earthly Paradise tale.

Pub. CW, XXI, xviii.

It is well said among wise men
If ye cannot have twelve take ten,
Also I say for my part
That the grey smock may cover a heart
Good enough for the gown of a king:
May this tale be to your liking.

Now this same lusty king
Had a dame, a right sweet thing,
And he loved her passing well
In such wise it were hard to tell,
Over long at Candlemas
The snow lay upon the grass,
Thereupon did the Queen pass
With the King from the minster.

Portions Pub. CW, III, xvi-xvii

That same damozel bent low
Her knee in the white snow,
Lightly at the Queen's command
To that gold shoe she set her hand;
Right so some steel pin
In the Queen's gown, smote therein;
The red blood fell from her hand,
There as the Queen did stand.
The Queen regarded pensively
The red blood on the snow lie
And her gold shoe that was nigh.
She sighed and said: "Yellow as gold,
White as the snow upon the mold,
I would my child might be so;
Red as blood and white as snow,
And yellow as gold mote she be,
Great joy this would be to me."

In that same night that she was born
There was a small house poor and forlorn
Beside a river lay alone;

He sold his skins and feathers of heme,
And unto him they gave in turn
Nets and wood-axes and such gear,
Coats of frieze for him to wear,
Flanders cloth for his mother,
Shoes and hats of Caudebec ...

I trow a right fat man was he,
He had a brown face and eyen white;
His red hair in the sun shone bright;
He was as fierce as any knight.
I trow that in the town council
Always for hanging spoke he well,
If men debated on some thief.

April lyric

B. L. Add. Ms. 37,499, f. 121.

Changes in wording in ll. 12, 14 and 16: "and thy fresh life clings" becomes in final version "but thy fresh life clings"; "ripened seed" becomes "hopeful seed"; "fragrant blossoms" becomes "snowy blossoms."

lyric preceding Acrisius

B. L. Add. Ms. 37,499, f. 124.

The Doom of King Acrisius

Fitzwilliam Library FW EP25; early draft.

The Proud King

May Morris, AWS, I, 405, reproduces two stanzas. see May Morris's Remarks on Early Drafts for The Earthly Paradise,William Morris: Artist, Writer, Socialist, Oxford: Blackwells, 1936, 404-36.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,306, ff. 1-69, rough pencil draft, more moralistic than earlier versions, with a rougher ending:

"But this I know whoso hath got
An earthly gift be nowise proud of it
For one day shall it perish every whit."

The Story of Cupid and Psyche

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,305, ff. 73v-98; a rougher version of about forty percent of the completed tale, with essentially the same sequence of incidents; the draft seems to end with the scene in which Cupid courts Psyche in the darkness.

Yale University, Tinker Library, draft.

The Writing on the Image

Early draft, Fitzwilliam Library, FW EP25.

The Love of Alcestis

no draft preserved

The Lady of the Land

Early draft, Fitzwilliam Library FW EP25.

The Watching of the Falcon

May Morris, AWS, I, 407 reproduces two short passages and one longer one, 406-11.See May Morris's Remarks on Early Drafts for The Earthly Paradise,William Morris: Artist, Writer, Socialist, Oxford: Blackwells, 1936, 404-36.

Early draft, Fitzwilliam Library FW EP25.

B. L. Add. Ms. 37,499, ff. 25-63; early draft, ff. 25-32 in pencil, 32 ff. in pen. The language is rougher than in the later verion; e. g., the draft ends:

"If so they will But yet will not
Because their hasty hearts are hot
With foolish haste and vain longing
That many a woe to them will bring."
The final version reads:
"If so they will--Who yet will not,
Because their hasty hearts are hot
With foolish hate and longing vain,
The sire and dam of grief and pain."

The Son of Croesus

Early draft, Fitzwilliam Library FW EP25, titled "Adrastus."

August lyric

B. L. Add. Ms. 37,499, f. 127, written at Dorchester/August 1867. In pencil; a few verbal changes.

Pygmalion and the Image

no draft preserved

The Story of Ogier

no draft preserved

No early drafts seem to be extant for three classical tales from the spring and summer months: "Atalanta's Race," "The Love of Alcestis," and "Pygmalion and the Image"; and one medieval tale, "The Story of Ogier." Morris kept a more complete set of the tales for subsequent months (September through February); perhaps he realized somewhere between the writing of volumes II and II that he should take greater care to preserve his manuscripts.

Drafts for the Fall and Winter Tales

The most rudimentary early drafts for Earthly Paradise tales were relatively simple romances (many now in the Fitzwilliam Library, Cambridge), whose metrics, vocabulary, and settings lacked the published tales' more elaborate frames and introspective reflections. Presumably later pencil drafts (many now in the British Library) incorporated end-rhymes and plot-details which paralleled more closely those of the printed tales.

At the next stage of the process, Morris copied and revised these pencilled drafts in a smaller pen hand, and marked stanza divisions in the text with lines across the page. Most of these pen drafts have also come to rest in the British Library. At the penultimate stage of composition, Morris then made fair copies of these pen drafts in a large, neatly-spaced hand. At the final stage, he finally arranged and amalgamated these polished drafts into a single fair copy for the printer.

The Death of Paris

An early draft exists in B. L. Add. Ms. 45, 299. The final draft is in Huntington Library Ms. 6418.

The Land East of the Sun and West of the Moon

An early draft, titled "The Palace East of the Sun," is preserved in the Fitzwilliam Library FW EP 25. B. L. Add. Ms. 45,299 contains a pencil draft. The final draft is in Huntington Library Ms. 6418. In addition B. L. Ms. 45,298A, f. 96v seems a loose page from an Earthly Paradise tale, most likely this one, for it mentions the characters John and Thorgerd.

Now thereat men were served right well
And most grew merry and the horn
Swiftly from beard to beard [heart to heart?] was born
But no mead brewed of mortal man
Might make Johns face less strange and wan
Or keep him yet from trembling sore
When neath some sharp [---] just shook the door
More than it wont – no merriment
A flash [of] any pleasure sent
To Thorgerd’s hot heart – yet at last
Now when the midnight was nigh passed

John warmed with that festivity
Gan hope all ill had well passed by,
That quiet longing at the worst
His life must bear [now?]. Yet he cursed
With dull remorseful bitterness
Of wrong and folly that doth press
On longing love so heavily.
Full oft and makes the joy go by
Seem wasted all too much for life
To be endured with all its strife
So with a soul made more at ease
The coming joy he turned to seize
As glad to win a little rest
And seemed as blithesome as the best
So passed a space till presently
As with a beaker raised on high
He stood and called on some great name
Writ in the book of northern fame
Across the wind then came a sound
As though some wright a great horn wound
Nigh to the door and while the men
Hearkened thereto it came again
And nigher as it seemed and John
Grew pale and laid his hand upon
His beating heart – and then once more
Clear rang the horn close by the door
And men sprang up in haste to take
Their weapons for their safety[’s] sake --

But John the horn in his right hand
His left hand on his heart did stand
And might not either move or speak
Then cried the goodman not so weak
Are we but these may well come in.
Stint ye you[r] clamour! they will win
Shelter and food this weary night
Go welcome them to our delight
For all things Christ the Lord shall rule
Upon this merry tide of Yule
Then opened they the door and strong
The wild wood swept the hall along
Driving the hangings here and there.
Make way the torches and [the] fire [?]
Therefore more red and therewithal
And [--] hush came oer the hall
And no man spake of bad or good

The Man Who Never Laughed Again

Early drafts exist in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,299 and B. L. Add. Ms. 45,303. The final draft is in Huntington Library Ms. 6418.

Also a one page autograph in rough pencil draft in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 113 is from an early version of this tale, corresponding to ll. 1039-1053 in the published version. Also B. L. Add. M. S. 45,298B, f. 30; copyist’s version.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A

[ f. 113]

such words the summer air swept past his ears
Such words those tender maidens murmured
With unabashed soft eyes made wet with tears
As though for them the world were really dead
As though indeed those tender words they said
Each to her mate, and each her fingers moved
As though they thought to meet the hands she loved

But B[haram] heeded not their lovesomeness
But through his heart there shot one bitter thought
At memory of the mourners['] sore distress
That his own feet to that strange land had brought[,]
But even ere the fear had come to nought
The thought that made [it, yea, all memory]
Of the past days had utterly gone away[.]

The Story of Rhodope

May Morris, AWS, I, 414-22 reproduces selected passages. See May Morris's Remarks on Early Drafts for The Earthly Paradise, William Morris: Artist, Writer, Socialist, Oxford: Blackwells, 1936, 415-22.

Earlier drafts of "The Story of Rhodope" appear in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,299 and B. L. Add. Ms. 45,304. The final draft is in Huntington Library Ms. 6418.

The Story of Rhodope (rough draft) British Library Add. MS 45,304; transcription "The Story of Rhodope," British Library Add. MS 45,304.

The Lovers of Gudrun

A draft appears in Fitzwilliam Library FW EP 25. The final draft is in Huntington Library Ms. 6418.

The Golden Apples

No early draft has been found. The final draft is in Huntington Library Ms. 6418.

The Fostering of Aslaug

A relatively polished version exists in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,300. The final draft is in Huntington Library Ms. 6418.

Bellerophon at Argos

May Morris, AWS, I, 426-28 reproduces short passages. See May Morris's Remarks on Early Drafts for The Earthly Paradise, Collected Works 3, 628-32, Collected Works 21, xviii-xix; William Morris: Artist, Writer, Socialist, Oxford: Blackwells, 1936, 426-28.

An early draft exists in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,301. The final draft is in Huntington Library Ms. 6418.

The Ring Given to Venus

May Morris, AWS, I, 424-25 reproduces short passages. See May Morris's Remarks on Early Drafts for The Earthly Paradise,William Morris: Artist, Writer, Socialist, Oxford: Blackwells, 1936, 424-25.

An early version appears in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,302. The final draft is in Huntington Library Ms. 6418.

Bellerophon in Lycia

A pencil draft exists in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,301. The final draft is in Huntington Library Ms. 6418. An excised draft exists in B. L. Add. MS. 45,301, ff. 23v. and 24. See "Poems of the Earthly Paradise Period," C49.

The Hill of Venus

Early drafts appear in May Morris, AWS, I, William Morris: Artist, Writer, Socialist, Oxford: Blackwells, 1936, 435-36 and Florence Boos, The Design of Morris' 'The Earthly Paradise," 446-76.

Two partial early drafts for the poem are included in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,299. One, in pen, includes 220 stanzas from the middle to the end of the tale, and the second, reproduced in Boos, is a long pen draft with a truncated conclusion (ff. 63-86). Other early drafts are in Fitzwilliam Library FW EP 25 and Huntington Library Ms. 6423. The final draft is in Huntington Library Ms. 6418.

For a fuller account of these drafts, see Florence Boos, "Ten Journeys to the Venusberg: Morris's Drafts for 'The Hill of Venus'," Victorian Poetry 39.4 (2002), 597-615. A list of the 10 drafts/versions may be found here.


The following eight stanzas of a trial "envoi" appear in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,308.

I have heard folk say talking of such men
As brought great things in measured words to pass
That all was as/ these were but as the fountain's splashings when
The glittering drops leap out upon the grass
That knoweth nought of that scarce moved mass
Within the bowl--such are great men they say
No idle singers of an empty day.

Good if it be so, so is left more hope
That some man unborn yet in his short life
In happy wise with that long art may cope
And rising up unwearied with the strife
Give us that good wherewith his soul is rife.
Come sun of a new world cast thou thy ray
On us poor singers of an empty day!

And yet I doubt; for if such man there were
Could bounteous nature ever let him die
Would not his glory sweep the world's house clear
Of every crime and all infirmity
And surely then were all our craft gone by
For death and woe it is wherewith we play
We idle singers of an empty day

Yea I of little faith must still believe
That men scarce nigher through the ages draw
To godhead that shall neither sin nor grieve
And so despite all fair dreams new once saw
Blind clinging failure yet makes love our law
Makes well beloved the earths woe cumbered way
To us poor singers of an empty day.

Our craft is earthly of the earth--meseems
One after other rises up to fail
To make a few folk happier for his dreams
For some few moments among change and bale.
O worshipped dead that strove so to prevail--
Surely your whole souls spoke through words ye say
To us poor singers of an empty day.

And thou at least poor book I bid go forth/
And thou Book that here I bid go forth [two versions of same line]
To such a place mid that loved company
However little thou mayst be of worth
Yet art thou worth een just so much as I.
Go forth and pray at worst that thou mayst lie
Mid kindly earth to give the heart away
Of me poor singer of an empty day.

Thou has beheld me tremble enough
At things I could not choose but trust to thee
Although I knew the world was wise and rough
Yet did I [n]ever fail to let thee see
The littleness that each day was in me
Through all this while we dealt did I betray.
The idle--

Therefore o book how querulous thou art
How cold at whiles, how over soft at whiles,
How blind to see ought of another heart
That in a soul struggling in self-woven toils:
At thine own wisdom oft how full of smiles
How cowering down before the worlds great fray
Thou idle--

The final draft is in Huntington Library Ms. 6418.

Discarded Drafts

Interlinking lyric for "The Deeds of Jason" ( Now must we tell what life those old men had )

CW, II, xxi-xxiii, with fascimile inserted. This lyric was removed when The Life and Death of Jason was published independently from The Earthly Paradise.

Now must we tell what life those old men had
While from the glass the last sands quickly ran
Of their loved lives; they dwelt there scarcely glad
And scarcely sorry, loved of every man
In such-like joyance as these elders can;
Feeble, and willing life should pass away
In peaceful ending to a stormy day.

And on a time when March was well begun
The rulers of the land in their great hall
Set forth a feast, and there bid every one

Of lords and strangers, and till eve did fall
They feasted, while the March rain beat the wall
Half-heard in pauses of the minstrelsy.

The spices being brought in, and men being set
About the strangers, spoke the chiefest lord:
“No doubt, O guests, ye scarcely can forget
Of how awhile ago ye spoke a word
Of old tales telling wonders of the sword,
The changing ways of strange fold of all climes
And unforgotten men of ancient times.

“And now this eve there cometh unto me
The memory of a tale ye well may hear
Of the first men that sailed upon the sea
From our old land of Greece, that they might bear
That fleece unto their temple: without fear
They bore to suffer many a dreadful thing,
Therefore to-day their names are flourishing.”

“Green in their memory truly,” quoth Sir Rafe
“And we perchance are clean forgotten now;
They, their great deed accomplished, came back safe,
But we shall never pass the white cliffs now
Or see the nesses named by names we know.
Yet tell your tale, although I weep again
Our wasted lives and fond desire and vain.

“And let us think ourselves a little while
But merchants, with no hope but gain of gold,
Willing an anxious hour to beguile
By hearing tell of fearless deeds of old
Wrought spite of fire fierce, and water cold.
Fair Sir, we hearken.” Then the kingly man
This story of the Argo thus began.
To come between “March” and “The Deeds of Jason”

Unidentified fragment of draft, in B. L. Add. Ms. 45, 298A, f. 114 and 114v
Seems another orphaned page from an EP tale

Moreover in that time and place

Verses for the Months, The Earthly Paradise, January, February, March.

Published CW, VI, xxviii-xix. The March lyric is different from the one in C21.

The year is gone and now another year
Begins again amid half frozen rain
From its strange hand scattering both hope and fear,
Idle forebodings, longings sore and vain,
Uncertain joys and certain toil and pain.
What thing is there but one can still the strife:
The end of labour is the end of life.

Let us leave hopes because we doubt them all,
Let us leave fear at least a little while,
Let us forget ourselves the while we call
Old names before us, let us now beguile
These sorry days with thoughts of Helen’s smile,
And let our eyes dim looking through the wine
Behold once more the prow of Argo shine.

Then in our memory and forgetfulness

May we [be] like to men upon the sea
Laid fast asleep in midst of their distress,
But dreaming how the stream runs pleasantly
By summer meadows where the mowers be,
Are they not happy though they wake no more
Until they reach the unknown shadowy shore.

[pp. xix-xx]

Look out of door to-day and see the streets
Swept by the cold unkindly north-east wind,
And how the rain upon the window beats
Putting all though of summer from the mind.
So on this even what solace can we find
But watching how the wine runs bright and clear;
Yet, would the summer and its sun were here.

Nay, silence, and get ready for the spring
And meet her with your heart all free from care
For in the woods wolfsbane is blossoming
And faintly shows the primrose here and there,
And there is scent of new things in the air,
And by the south wind blown from place to place
Northward the long-for Spring draws on apace.

Yea, so things come and go and come again,
And if one root within the hazelwood

Dies off for ever, then with little pain
Another grows up where the lost one stood.
And so in April all seems fair and good
And with the sight thereof our eyes we please:
Now unto someone may we be as these.

[pp. xxx-xxi]

Lo last night winter died, although to-day
Unwillingly we leave the fireside
And shiver as the sunlight fades away
From off the southern wall at eventide,
Yet none the less I say that winter died
Last evening with the rising of the moon.
And many a change will be upon us soon.

For many a day henceforth the cheerless sun
Shall shine upon the furrows cheerlessly,
Along the straight road shall the dust cloud run
Before the East wind, till a day shall be
When with the west shall rain come from the sea,
Then look to see full many a lovely thing
And feel the quickening power of the spring.

Behold the year lies spread before you now,
Spring, summer, autumn and the end of all,
And if therein some sorrow you may know

Bear not about with you your dusky pall
But make the best of what may chance to fall:
Then thou diest like others, yet be glad
That ere thy death some joyance thou hast had.

Verses for the Months, The Earthly Paradise, March, April, May.

Published CW, XXIV, 345-46. Draft March, April B. L. Add. Ms. 37, 499.


Back to top