List of Morris's Poems of the Earthly Paradise Period: Lyrics, Fragments, and Unused Earthly Paradise Narratives

The following is a list of known Morris poems and drafts written between 1865-74, with transcriptions of the text of poems not included in CW or AWS and alternate versions. A list of early drafts of Earthly Paradise tales is found in "Morris' Drafts for the Earthly Paradise."

Contents

A. Poems and fragments from B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, ff. 86-126.

A-1. “Rhyme Slayeth Shame” (If as I come unto her she might hear, / If words might reach her when away I go,)

Published Atlantic Monthly, February 1870. Included in CW, XXIV, 357.
Untitled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45, 298A, f. 86; Morris autograph on blue ruled paper. Variants from CW in manuscript: Morris did not indent lines; in line 7 he wrote “The world fades with its words” rather than “The world fades with its woods”; in line 8 he did not capitalize “my life.” Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f.10. Also a signed autograph manuscript is in the Pierpont Morgan Library, M. A. 925, f. 57.

B. L. MS 45,298A, f. 96

If as I come unto her she might hear
If words might reach her when away I go,
Then speech a little of my heart might show
Because indeed nor joy nor grief nor fear
Silence my love; but her grey eyes and clear
Truer than truth pierce through my weal and woe,
The world fades with its words, and nought I know
But that my changed life to my life is near:

Go, then, poor rhymes who know my heart indeed
And sing to her the words I cannot say,
That love has slain time, and knows no today
And no tomorrow; tell about my need,
And how I follow where her footsteps lead
Until the veil of speech death draws away.

*A-2. “Dear if God praise thee much for many a thing”

Unpublished. Untitled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45, 298A, ff. 86-87; Morris autograph on blue ruled paper. This follows directly after no. 1, “Rhyme Slayeth Shame.” Its fourteen lines are reproduced separately as a sonnet by a copyist in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 13.

[ff. 86-87]

Dear if God praise thee much for many a thing
And somewhere builds for thee a house of bliss
I poor and weak must praise thee most for this,
That thou beholding how my heart doth cling
To thy dear heart makest no questioning
That nor in longing look nor word nor kiss
There hideth aught where aught of guile there is
For thee nor me thou fearest no treacherous sting

Yet do I wonder praise thee as I may
Or fear to trust thee utterly herein
Or deem that thou wouldst call my service sin—
Thou who with love for all thy staff and stay
Goest great hearted down the weary way
Still looking for the new dawn to begin—

A-3. “As This Thin Thread” (As this thin thread on thy dear neck shall lie)

Published CW, XXIV, 359. Untitled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, ff. 87-88; Morris autograph on blue ruled paper. 4 drafts, none an uncorrected fair copy. In the last line “death” is uncapitalized. Also a fair autograph copy in WMG J153 [pdf]. Reproduced by a copyist in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 7.

[WMG J153]

As this thin thread upon thy neck shall lie
So on thy heart let my poor love abide,
Not noted much and yet not cast aside
Since it may be that fear and mockery
And shame, earth’s tyrants, the thin thing shall try
Nor burn away what little worth may hide
Within its pettiness, till fully tried
Time leaves it as a thing that will not die.

Then hearken! Thou, who forgest day by day
No chain for me, but arms I needs must wear,
Although at whiles I deem them hard to bear,
If thou to thine own work no hand will lay –
--That which I took I may not cast away,
Keep what I give till death our eyes shall clear.

B. L. MS 45,298A, f. 87
As this thin thread upon thy neck shall lie
So on thy heart let my poor love abide,
Not noted much, and yet not cast aside;
And shame, earths tyrant the thin thing shall try
Nor scorch therefrom what little worth may hide
Amidst its pettiness, till fully tried
Time leaves it as a thing that will not die.

Then hearken, thou who forgest day by day
No chain, but armour that I needs must wear
Although at whiles I deem it hard to bear
If thou to thine own work no hand will lay—
That which I took I may not cast away
Keep what I give till death our eyes shall clear

A-4. “The Doomed Ship” (The doomed ship drives on helpless through the sea,)

Published AWS, I 539. Untitled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, ff. 88-89; Morris autograph on blue ruled paper. 2 drafts, the second nearly a fair copy. Reproduced by a copyist in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 9. Resembles D. G. Rossetti’s sonnet, “Lost on Both Sides,” written 1854 and first published 1869.

B. L. 45,298A, f. 88
The doomed ship drives on helpless through the sea,
All that the mariners may do is done,
And death is left for men to gaze upon,
While side by side two friends sit silently;
Friends once, foes once, and now by death made free
Of Love and Hate, of all things lost or won;
Yet still the wonder of that strife bygone
Clouds all the hope or horror that may be.

Thus, Sorrow, are we sitting side by side
Amid this welter of the grey despair,
Nor have we images of foul or fair
To vex save of thy kissed face of a bride,
Thy scornful face of tears when I was tried,
And failed neath pain I was not made to bear

Earlier version f. 89
The ship drifts helpless oer the hungry sea
And all that mariners can do is done
And death is left for folk to gaze upon
And side by side two men sit silently
Friends once foes once but now by death left free
To think of all that life has lost or won
Yet still the wonder of that strife bygone
Twixt love and hate clouds all that yet may be

So sorrow are we sitting side by side
Amid the welter of the grey despair
Nor have I images of foul or fair
To vex me save thy kissed face of a bride
Thy scornful face of tears when I was tried
And faltered neath more woe than I might bear

Yet still that strife twixt love and hate bygone
Clouds all the hope and horror that may be

AWS, p. 539

The doomed ship drives on helpless through the sea,
All that the mariners may do is done
And death is left for men to gaze upon.
While side by side two friends sit silently;
Friends once, foes once, and now by death made free
Of Love and Hate, of all things lost or won;
Yet still the wonder of that strife bygone
Clouds all the hope or horror that may be.

Thus, Sorrow, are we sitting side by side
Amid this welter of the grey despair,
Nor have we images of foul or fair
To vex, save of thy kissed face of a bride,
Thy scornful face of tears when I was tried,
And failed neath pain I was not made to bear.

The doomed ship drives on helpless through the sea,
All that the mariners may do is done
And death is left for men to gaze upon.
While side by side two friends sit silently;
Friends once, foes once, and now by death made free
Of Love and Hate, of all things lost or won;
Yet still the wonder of that strife bygone
Clouds all the hope or horror that may be.

Thus, Sorrow, are we sitting side by side
Amid this welter of the grey despair,
Nor have we images of foul or fair
To vex, save of thy kissed face of a bride,
Thy scornful face of tears when I was tried,
And failed neath pain I was not made to bear.

A-5. “Near But Far Away” (She wavered, stopped, and turned; methought her eyes,)

Published AWS, I, 538. Titled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, ff. 90-91; Morris autograph on blue ruled paper. 2 drafts, 1 nearly a fair copy, dated May 11th. For line 15, AWS reproduced the first of two versions; the second is, “I seemed to stand before a wall of stone.” B. L. 45,298B, f. 6 is a copyist's version.

B. L. MS 45,298A, f. 90
She wavered, stopped, and turned; methought her eyes,
The deep grey windows of her heart were wet,
 Methought they softened with a new regret
To note in mine unspoken miseries.
And as a prayer from out my heart did rise
And struggled on my lips in shame’s strong net,
 She stayed me and cried Brother! Our lips met
Her dear hands drew me into Paradise--

Sweet seemed that kiss till thence her feet were gone
Sweet seemed the word she spake, while it might be
As wordless music—But truth fell on me
And kiss and word I knew, and left alone
Face to faced seemed I to a wall of stone
While at my back there beat a boundless sea.
                                          May 11th.

f. 91 [in blue ink, several corrections; apparently an earlier version than f. 90]

She wavered and turned back methought her eyes
The deep grey windows of her heart were  wet
Methought they softened somewhat with regret
To note in mine unspoken miseries
And even as a bitter word did rise
Up from my heart struggling with shames strong net
Brother she cried we spoke not our lips met
She stayed me crying
Her dear hands drew me into Paradise
Sweet seemed that sweet kiss till her feet had gone
Sweet seemed that word while yet it was to me
Like wordless music then ruth fell on me
And kiss and word I knew – a wall of stone
Before me made me bitterly alone
And at my back there beat a boundless sea

AWS, vol. 1, 538-39

[p. 538]

Near But Far Away

She wavered, stopped and turned, methought her eyes,

The deep grey windows of her heart, were wet,
Methought they softened with a new regret
To note in mine unspoken miseries,
And as a prayer from out my heart did rise
And struggled on my lips in shame’s strong net,
She stayed me, and cried ‘Brother!’ our lips met,
Her dear hands drew me into Paradise.

[p. 539]
Sweet seemd that kiss till thence her feet were gone,
Sweet seemed the word she spake, while it might be
As wordless music—But truth fell on me,
And kiss and word I knew, and, left alone,
Face to face seemed I to a wall of stone,
While at my back there beat a boundless sea.

A-6. “May Grown A-Cold” (O certainly, no month is this but May!)

Published Atlantic Monthly, March 1870. Included in CW, XXIV, 358. Untitled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 91; Morris autograph on blue ruled paper. CW uses one of two variants for line 7; the other is, “And make of bliss a thing to tarry long.” CW also reverses the endings of ll. 10 and 11, which in manuscript read:
          Why sayest thou the thrushes sob and moan
          And that the sky is hard and grey as stone

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A
O certainly no month is this but May
Sweet earth and sky sweet birds of happy song
Do make thee happy now and thou art strong
And many a tear thy love shall wipe away
And make the dark night merrier than the day
Straighten the crooked and make right the wrong
And [--] of bliss so that it tarry long
Go cry aloud the hope the heavens do say.

Nay what is this and wherefore lingerest thou
Why sayest thou the thrushes sob and moan
And that the sky is hard and grey as stone
Why sayst thou the east tears bloom and bough
Why seem the sons of men so hopeless now
Thy love is gone poor wretch thou art alone

*A-7. “Lonely Love and Loveless Death” (O have I been hearkening / To some dread newcomer?)

Inscribed in The Book of Verse, 1870, 44-46; published by David J. DeLaura, “An Unpublished Poem of William Morris,” Modern Philology 62 (1965), 340-41, transcribed from an autograph copy in the Miriam Lutcher Stark Library of the University of Texas (Ms. File [Morris, W.] Works). DeLaura dates it in the late 60’s. Another draft exists in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 92 and 92v; Morris autograph on blue ruled paper.

[Humanities Research Center MS.]

O have I been hearkening
To some dread newcomer?
What chain is it bindeth
What curse is anigh.
That the world is a-darkening
Amidmost the summer,
That the soft sunset blindeth,
And death standeth by?

Doth it wane, is it going,
Is it gone by forever,
The life that seemed round me,
The longing I sought?
Has it turned to undoing
That constant endeavour,
To bind love that bound me
To hold all it brought?

I beheld, till beholding
Grew pain thrice told over;
I hearkened till hearing
Grew torment past speech;
I dreamed of enfolding
Arms blessing the lover,
Till the dream past all bearing
The dark void did reach.

Beaten back, ever smitten
With pain that none knoweth,
Did love ever languish
Did hope ever die?
I know not, but litten
By the light that love showeth
She was mine through all anguish,
Never lost, never nigh.

I know not: but never
The day was without her;
I know not: but morning
Still woke me to her;
All miles that might sever,
All faces about her,
Weary days and self-scorning—
All easy to bear.

Look back, while grown colder
The sunless day lingers,
And the tree tops are stirring
With the last wind of day!
If thou didst behold her,
If thine hand held her fingers,
If her breath thou were hearing,
What words wouldst thou say?

Words meet for the hearkening
Of death the newcomer:
For the new bond that bindeth
The new pain anigh—
For the world is a-darkening
Amidmost the summer,
Earth sickeneth & blindeth,
No love standeth by.

B. L. Add. MS. 45,298A, f. 92 and 92v

[f. 92, autograph on blue ruled paper with some corrections; this seems earlier than the University of Texas version]

O have I been hearkening
To some dread newcomer
What chain is it bindeth
What curse is anigh
That the world is a-darkening
Amidmost the summer
That soft sunlight blindeth
And death standeth by.

Doth it wane is it going
Is it gone by for ever
The life that seemed round me
The longing I sought
Has it turned to undoing
That hourly endeavour
To bind love that bound me
To hold all it brought.

I beheld till beholding
Grew pain thrice told over
I hearkened till hearing
Grew anguish past speech
I dreamed of enfolding
Of beloved one and lover
Till the dream past all hearing
The dark void did reach

Beaten back ever smitten
With pain that none knoweth
Did love ever languish
Did hope ever die
I know not but litten
With the light that love showeth
She sat over mine anguish
Never lost never nigh

[f. 92v]
I know not but never
The day was without her
I know not but morning
Still woke me to her
The miles that might sever
The strangers about her
Weary days and self scorning
All easy to bear

Look back while grown colder
The sunless day lingers
And the tree tops are stirring
With the last wind of day
If thou didst behold [h]er
If thy hand touched her fingers
If her breath thou were hearing
What words wouldst thou say?
Words meet for the hearkening
Of death the newcomer
For the new bond that bindeth
The new pain anigh
For the world is a-darkening
Amidmost the summer
Death sickeneth and blindeth
No love is anigh—

Book of Verse, 1870
[p. 44]

Lonely Love and Lovely Death

O have I been hearkening
To some dread newcomer?
What chain is it bindeth,
What curse is anigh
That the World is a darkening
Amidmost the summer,
That the soft sunset blindeth
And death standeth by?

Doth it wane, is it going,
Is it gone by forever,
The life that seemed round me
The longing I sought?
Has it turned to undoing,
That constant endeavour
To bind love that bound me,
To hold all it brought?

I beheld till beholding
Grew pain thrice told over;
I hearkened till hearing
Grew woe beyond speech;
I dreamed of enfolding
Arms blessing the lover
[p. 45] Till the dream past all bearing
The dark void did reach.

Beaten back, ever smitten
By pains that none knoweth,
Did love ever languish
Did hope ever die?
I know not, but litten
By the light that love showeth
I beheld her through anguish
Never lost, never nigh.

I know not: but never
The day was without her,
I know not; but morning
Still woke me to her;
The miles that might sever,
All faces about her
Weary days, and self-scorning—
Ah easy to bear!

Look back, while grown colder,
The sunless day lingers,
And the treetops are strirring
[p. 46] With the last wind of day—
If thou didst behold her
If thine hand touched her fingers
If her breath thou were hearing
What words wouldst thou say?

Words meet for the hearkening
Of Death the new-comer,
For the new bond that bindeth
The new pain anigh:
For the World is a-darkening
Amidmost the summer,
Death sickeneth and blindeth
No love standeth by.

*A-8. “Everlasting Spring” (O my love my darling, / what is this men say)

Unpublished. Titled in manuscript., B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, ff. 93-94; Morris autograph on blue ruled paper. 2 drafts, 1 nearly a fair copy. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 5 and 5v. 2 lines quoted in Jack Lindsay, William Morris, his Life and Work, 185.
Narrator speaks to a “Love that cannot love me,” and imagines their return to a prelapsarian world of mutual love.

B. L. Ms. 45,298A
[f. 93]

O my love my darling, what is this men say
     That I, for all my yearning have no words to deny?
Why was I made for nothing, for my life to pass away,
     For thy kindness as my madness all utterly to die?

Love that cannot love me, een as I would believe
     Those dreams of the sad morning, when thou callest me to come
Little touches, little kisses, all forgiveness to receive,
     So I long to trust the story of that innocent sweet home.

Those fair meads of the old painter with their blossoms red and white,
     That thy feet touch, and my feet touch, as our hands cling palm to palm,
Nought lost and nought forgotten of old sorrow and delight,
     Nought ended, nought perfected, but all wrapped in peace and calm

Nought has changed us mid those blossoms, but the breath of happiness,
     As on earth am I ungainly, and thou sweet and delicate,
But thou lov’st me as I love thee, for now innocence doth bless
     My fierceness into patience, and I fear no change or hate.

O my love, my darling! Thou kissest me again
     In that far off country, and still a little shame
Burns on thy cheek to tell me, of remembrance of the pain
     When my lips unkissed and trembling nigh to thine of old time came.

Thy beloved and clinging fingers still loosen from mine own
     For a minute, then cling tighter, as thou thinkest of the days
When thou must thrust back pity, and I must not bemoan,
     When I heard thy sweet name spoken, burning with unspoken praise

There as I behold thee no change shall chill thine eyes,
     No fear my ears shall deafen, as I hear thy heavenly speech;
I shall not miss the pleasure twixt doubting and surprise
     Of thy kisses, O beloved, that no more I may beseech.

[f. 93v]
There to a certain expectation all hope and fear is turned,
     And love swalloweth up all longing, and yet longing ne’er is done,
And the dreadful wearying patience, and the passionate pain that burned
     Unforgotten and unwasted, are but Love now are but one.

Yet, thy pity and thy wisdom, and thy kindness and thy care,
     No longer then shall part us, for no more than love are they,
And the bitter earthly folly of my craving and despair
     No less than love, my darling, shall seem that endless day

Alas, for the white morning with no hope of touch or kiss!
     Woe worth the world’s awaking from the simple days bygone!
Woe for the wise world’s wisdom, the rich worlds growing bliss
     That make that hope a folly of twain grown into one!

[f. 94, rough version]
O my love my darling what is this they say
     That I for all my yearning have no words to deny
O dark it seems and dreadful that my life shall pass away
     That thy madness and thy kindness all utterly shall die

Love that cannot love me, e[’]en as I would believe
     Those dreams of the sad morning when thou callest me to come
Little touches little kisses all forgiveness to receive
     So I long to trust the story of that innocent sweet home.

Those fair meads of the old painter with their blossoms red and white
     That thy feet touch and my feet touch as our hands cling palm [to palm]
Nought lost and nought regretted of old sorrow and delight
     Nought finished nought perfected but all wrapped in peace and calm

Nought has changed us in those meadows but the breath and calm of happinesss
     As on earth am I ungainly and thou sweet and delicate[,]
But thou lov[e]st me as I love thee and all innocence doth bless
     My fierceness into patience for I fear no coming hate[.]

O my love my darling thou kisseth me again
     In that far off country and still a little shame
In thy cheek to tell me that thou thinkest of the pain
     When my lips unkissed and trembling nigh to thine of old time came --

Thy beloved and clinging fingers still loosen from mine own
     For a minute then cling tighter as thou thinkest of the days
When thou must thrust back pity and I must not bemoan
     When I heard thy sweet name spoken – burning with unspoken praise

There to certain expectation all hope and fear is turned
     And love swalloweth all longing, and yet longing ne[’]er is done
And the dreadful wearying patience and the passionate pain that burned
     Unforgotten and unwasted they are now they are [one.]

Then as I behold thee no change shall vex thine eyes
     No fear my ears shall deafen as I hear thy heavenly speech
I shall not miss the pleasure twixt doubting and surprise
     Of thy kisses my beloved that no more I may beseech

Thy sweet pity and thy wisdom and thy kindness and thy care,
     Shall no more thrust me from thee no more than love they are
And all the bitter cry of my craving and despair
     No less than love my darling should seem that endless day

Alas for the white morning with no hope of touch or kiss
     Woe for the worlds awaking and the simple times bygone
Woe for the wise worlds wisdom and the rich worlds growing bliss
     That make the hope a folly of twain grown into one.

*A-9. “Silence and Pity” ( “Thy lips my lips have touched no more may speak / The words that through my sorrow used to break; )

Unpublished. Untitled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 95; Morris autograph on blue ruled paper. Also in fair copied Morris autograph, William Morris Gallery, Ms. J149 [pdf], titled. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298b, f. 8.

Silence and Pity (WMG J149)

Thy lips my lips have touched no more may speak
The words that through my sorrow used to break;
Yet may they tremble sometimes for my sake
Because pure love thou art, and very ruth.

The eyes that I have kissed, no more may gaze
Into wild dreamland meads my heart to raise,
Yet may they change at thought of my changed days,
Gazing with pure love from the heart of truth.

Thine oft kissed little hands no more may write
The treasured lines of comfort and delight
Yet may they yearn for what thou dost endite,
O heart of very love, O life of ruth!

Hands, eyes, and lips, dear ministers of love,
How can I pray sweet pity not to move
Your calm to pain, my folly to reprove,
Since of my heart thou knowest, O lady Truth!

Ah midst it all, think not of me as one
To curse the sun that yestereve it shone
To wish the light of all my life undone!
And yet – thy pity, O sweet Love and Ruth!

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 95 [seems an early draft, autograph on blue ruled paper]

Thy lips my lips have touched no more may speak
The words that through my sorrow used to break
Yet may they tremble some times for my sake
Because pure love thou art and very ruth.

The eyes that I have kissed no more may gaze
As they were wont my heart to heaven to raise
Yet may they change to think of my sad days
And look with pure love from the heart of truth.

Thine oft kissed little hands no more may write
The treasured words of comfort and delight
Yet may they yearn for what thou dost endite
O heart of very love, o life of ruth

Hands eyes and lips dear ministers of love
How shall I pray sweet pity; not to move
Your loveliness my folly to reprove
Since of my heart thou knowest lady Truth.

But midst thy ruth think not of me as one
To curse the sun that yesterday it shone
To wish the light of all my life undone—
And yet – thy pity O sweet love and Ruth!

A-10. “Hope Dieth: Love Liveth” ( Strong are thine arms, O love, and strong / thy heart to live, and love, and long; )

Inscribed in The Book of Verse, 1870, 23-25, titled "Hope Dieth Love Liveth"; published CW, IX, Poems By the Way, 106. Untitled B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 96; Morris autograph, on blue ruled paper, not a fair copy but reasonably clear. Copy prepared for printer in HM 6427, f. 26, Morris autograph, titled. Copied HM 6427, ff. 36-37 with annotation by C. Fairfax Murray, “Copied by Lady Burne-Jones.”

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 96

Strong are thine arms O love and strong
Thy trenchant sword to cleave the wrong
But thou art wed to grief and wrong --
Live then and long now hope is fled

Live on and labour through the years
Make pictures through the mist of tears
Of unforgotten happy fears
That blest the time ere hope was dead

Draw near the place where once we stood
And delights swift rushing flood
And we and all the world seemed good
Nor needed hope that now is dead

Dream in the morn I come to thee
Weeping for things that may not be
Dream that thou layest hands on me
Wake wake to [call?] hope’s body dead

Weep weep although no hairs breadth move
The earth below the heavens above
One tittle for the bitter love
Lament lament that hope is dead –

Lament one by one and one by one
The minutes of the happy sun
That while agone on kissed lips shone
Count on rest for hope is dead

Sighs rest thee not tears give no ease
Life hath no joy and death no peace
The years change not though they decrease
For hope is dead for hope is dead

Speak love I listen far away
I bless thy tremulous lips that say
Mock not the afternoon of day
Mock not [the] tide when hope is dead

I bless thee love as still thou sayest
Mock not the thistle-cumbered waste
Hold love hand and make no haste
Down the long way no hope [is dead]

With other name do we name pain
The long years beat our hearts in vain
Mock not our loss grown into gain
Mock not our lost hope lying dead

Behold with lack of happiness
Our master love our hearts did bless
Lest we should think of him the less
Love dieth not though hope is dead

Our eyes gaze for the morning star
No glimmer of the dawn afar
Full silent wayfarers we are
Since ere the noonday hope lay [dead]

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 23]
Hope Dieth Love Liveth

Strong are thine arms O love, and strong
Thine heart to live and love and long
But thou art wed to grief and wrong:
Live then and long, though hope is dead!

Live on and labour through the years!
Make pictures through the mist of tears
Of unforgotten happy fears,
That crossed the time ere hope was dead

Draw near the place where once we stood
Amid delight’s swift-rushing flood,
And we and all the world seemed good
Nor needed hope now cold and dead.

Dream in the dawn I come to thee
Weeping for things that may not be!
Dream that thou layest lips on me!
Wake, wake to clasp hope’s body dead!

Count oer and oer, and one by one
The minutes of the happy sun
That while agone on kissed lips shone.
Count on, rest not for hope is dead.

[p. 24]

Weep, though no hairsbreath thou shalt move
The settled earth, the heavens above
By all the bitterness of love!
Weep and cease not, now hope is dead!

Sighs rest thee not, tears bring no ease,
Life hath no joy, and Death no peace.
The years change not, though they decrease—
For hope is dead, for hope is dead!

Speak, love, I listen: far away
I bless thy tremulous lips, that say—
‘Mock not the afternoon of day
Mock not the tide when hope is dead!

I bless thee, O my love, who say’st
‘Mock not the thistle-cumbered waste!
I hold Love’s hand, and make no haste
Down the long way, now hope is dead.

‘With other names do we name pain,
The long years wear our hearts in vain
Mock not our loss grown into gain
[p. 25] Mock not our lost hope living dead.

‘Our eyes gaze for no morning star
No glimmer of the dawn afar;
Full silent wayfarers we are
Since ere the noon-tide hope lay dead:

‘Behold with lack of happiness
The Master, Love our hearts did bless
Lest we should think of him the less—
Love dieth not, though hope is dead!

Poems by the Way, 1891, pp. 106-107.

HOPE DIETH: LOVE LIVETH.

[106] Strong are thine arms, O love, & strong
Thine heart to live, and love, and long;
But thou art wed to grief and wrong:
Live, then, and long, though hope be dead!

Live on, & labour thro' the years!
Make pictures through the mist of tears,
Of unforgotten happy fears,
That crossed the time ere hope was dead.

Draw near the place where once we stood
Amid delight's swift-rushing flood,
And we and all the world seemed good
Nor needed hope now cold and dead.

Dream in the dawn I come to thee
Weeping for things that may not be!
Dream that thou layest lips on me!
Wake, wake to clasp hope's body dead!

Count o'er and o'er, and one by one
The minutes of the happy sun
That while agone on kissed lips shone,
Count on, rest not, for hope is dead.

Weep, though no hair's breadth thou shalt move
The living Earth, the heaven above
By all the bitterness of love!
Weep and cease not, now hope is dead!

Sighs rest thee not, tears bring no ease,
Life hath no joy, and Death no peace:
The years change not, though they decrease,
For hope is dead, for hope is dead.

Speak, love, I listen: far away
I bless the tremulous lips, that say,
"Mock not the afternoon of day,
Mock not the tide when hope is dead!"

[107] I bless thee, O my love, who say'st:
"Mock not the thistle-cumbered waste;
I hold Love's hand, and make no haste
Down the long way, now hope is dead.

With other names do we name pain,
The long years wear our hearts in vain.
Mock not our loss grown into gain,
Mock not our lost hope lying dead.

Our eyes gaze for no morning-star,
No glimmer of the dawn afar;
Full silent wayfarers we are
Since ere the noon-tide hope lay dead.

Behold with lack of happiness
The master, Love, our hearts did bless
Lest we should think of him the less:
Love dieth not, though hope is dead!"

A-11. Song: “Twas one little word that wrought it” (Refrain: Half-forgotten, unforgiven and alone.)

Published CW, XXIV, 360-61. Titled, “Song,” B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 97 and 97v.; Morris autograph on white ruled paper. Copyist’s version B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, ff. 12-13.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 97 and 97v
Song

’Twas one little word that wrought it
One sweet pang of pleasure bought it
Till too sore the heart was wrung,
Till no more the lips might bear
To be parted yet so near
Then the darkness closed around me
And the bitter waking found me
Half-forgotten, unforgiven, and alone.

Hearken; nigher still and nigher
Had we grown, methought my fire
Woke in her some hidden flame
And the rags of pride and shame
She seemed casting from her heart,
And the dull days seemed to part;
Then I cried out, ‘Ah I move thee
And thou knowest that I love thee –
--Half-forgotten unforgiven and alone!

Yea, it pleased her to behold me
Mocked by tales that love had told me,
Mocked by tales and mocked by eyes
Wells of loving mysteries;
Mocked by eyes and mocked by speech
Till I deemed I might beseech
For one word, that scarcely speaking
She would snatch me from that waking
Half forgotten unforgiven and alone.

[f. 97v]
All is done – no other greeting,
No more sweet tormenting meeting
No more sight of smile or tear,
No more bliss shall draw anear
Hand in hand with sister pain –
Scarce a longing vague and vain –
No more speech till all is over,
Twixt the well-beloved and lover
Half-forgotten unforgiven and alone

A-12. Song: “Our Hands Have Met” ( Our hands have met, our lips have met )

Published CW, XXIV, 365. Untitled, B. L. Ms. 45,298A, f. 98, autograph manuscript on blue ruled paper with some corrections. Copyist’s version in B. L. Ms. 45,298B, f. 2 and 2v. In the Add. Ms. 45,298A manuscript there are two versions of lines 3 and 4, the CW version and
Can I forget can I forget
O love was all done long ago.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 98

Our hands have met our lips have met,
Our souls who knows when the wind blows,
How light souls drift mid longing set
If thou forgedst can I forget.
O[ur] love was all done long ago.

Thou wert not silent then, but told
Sweet secrets dear – I drew so near
Thy shamefaced cheeks grown overbold
That scarce thine eyes might I behold!
Ah was it then so long ago.

Trembled my lips and thou wouldst turn
But hadst no heart to draw apart
Beneath my lips thy cheek did burn –
Yet no rebuke that I might learn;
Yea kind looks still, not long ago.

Wilt thou be glad upon the day
When unto me this love shall be
An idle fancy passed away
And we shall meet and smile [and] say
O wasted sighs of long ago

Wilt thou rejoice that thou hast set
Cold words dull shows twixt hearts drawn close
That cold at heart I live on yet
Forgetting still that I forget
The priceless days of long ago.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, ff. 2 and 2v

Our hands have met, our lips have met,
Our souls who knows when the winds blow,
How light souls drift mid longings set,
If thou forgedst can I forget
The time that was not long ago?

Thou wert not silent then, but told
Sweet secrets dear – I drew so near
Thy shamefaced cheeks grown overbold,
That scarce thine eyes might I behold,
Ah! was it then so long ago?

Trembled my lips, and thou wouldst turn,
But hadst no heart to draw apart,
Beneath my lips thy cheek did burn,
Yet no rebuke that I might learn,
Yea, kind looks still, not long ago.

Wilt thou be glad upon the day
When unto me this love shall be
An idle fancy passed away?
And we shall meet and smile and say
"Ah wasted sighs of long ago!"

[f. 2v] Wilt thou rejoice that thou hast set
Cold words, dull shows, 'twixt hearts drawn close,
That cold at heart I live on yet,
Forgetting still that I forget,
The priceless days of long ago?

A-13. “Why Dost Thou Struggle” ( Why dost thou struggle, strive for victory )

Published CW, XXIV, 362-63. Untitled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 100-101; Morris autograph on blue ruled paper. Note on margin, “Ask to be together.” Copyist’s version B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 2 and 2v, beginning st. 6, “I wore a mask, because though certainly / I loved him not, yet was there something soft” ).

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 100

Why dost thou struggle[,] strive for victory
Over my heart that loveth thine so well?
When Death shall one day have its will of thee
And to deaf ears thy triumph thou must tell[.]

Unto deaf ears or unto such as know
The hearts of dead and living wilt thou say[:]
A childish heart there loved me once, and lo
I took his love and cast his love away[.]

A childish greedy heart! yet still he clung
So close to me that much he pleased my pride
And soothed a sorrow that about me hung
With glimpses of his love unsatisfied[--]

And soothed my sorrow--but time soothed it too
Though ever did its aching fill my heart
To which the foolish child still closer drew
Thinking in all I was to have a part.

But now my heart grown silent of its grief
Saw more than kindness in his hungry eyes[:]
But I must wear a mask of false belief
And feign that nought I knew his miseries[.]

I wore a mask, because though certainly
I loved him not, yet was there something soft
And sweet to have him ever loving me:
Belike it is I well nigh loved him oft.

Nigh loved him oft, and needs must grant to him
Some kindness out of all he asked of me
And hoped his love would still hang vague and dim
About my life like half[-]heard melody.

[f. 101]

He knew my heart and over[-]well knew this
And strove[,] poor soul[,] to pleasure me herein;
But yet what might he do some doubtful kiss
Some word[,] some look might give him hope to win[.]

Poor hope[,] poor soul, for he again would come
Thinking to gain yet one more golden step
Toward Love[']s shrine[,] and lo the kind speech dumb
The kind look gone[,] no love upon my lip--

Yea gone[,] yet not my fault[,] I knew of love
But my love and not his; how could I tell
That such blind passion in him I should move[?]
Behold I have loved faithfully and well[;]

Love of my love so deep and measureless.
O lords of the new world this too ye know

CW, XXIV, 362-63

Why Dost Thou Struggle

Why dost thou struggle, strive for victory
Over my heart that loveth thine so well?
When Death shall one day have its will of thee
And to deaf ears thy triumph thou must tell.

Unto deaf ears or unto such as know
The hearts of dead and living wilt thou say:
A childish heart there loved me once, and lo
I took his love and cast his love away.

A childish greedy heart! yet still he clung
So close to me that much he pleased my pride
And soothed a sorrow that about me hung
With glimpses of his love unsatisfied--

And soothed my sorrow--but time soothed it too
Though ever did its aching fill my heart
To which the foolish child still closer drew
Thinking in all I was to have a part.

But now my heart grown silent of its grief
Saw more than kindness in his hungry eyes:
But I must wear a mask of false belief
And feign that nought I knew his miseries.

I wore a mask, because though certainly
I loved him not, yet was there something soft
And sweet to have him ever loving me:
Belike it is I well-nigh loved him oft--

Nigh loved him oft, and needs must grant to him
Some kindness out of all he asked of me
And hoped his love would still hang vague and dim
About my life like half-heard melody.

[p. 363]

He knew my heart and over-well knew this
And strove, poor soul, to pleasure me herein;
But yet what might he do some doubtful kiss
Some word, some look might give him hope to win.

Poor hope, poor soul, for he again would come
Thinking to gain yet one more golden step
Toward Love's shrine, and lo the kind speech dumb
The kind look gone, no love upon my lip--

Yea gone, yet not my fault, I knew of love
But my love and not his; how could I tell
That such blind passion in him I should move?
Behold I have loved faithfully and well;

Love of my love so deep and measureless
O lords of the new world this too ye know

A-14. “Fair Weather and Foul” ( Speak not, move not, but listen, the sky is full of gold, )

Published CW, XXIV, 366. Titled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 102 and 102v; Morris autograph on blue ruled paper, nearly a fair copy. In stanza 6, CW gives “their tyranny,” manuscript “this tyranny.” Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 4.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 102

                              Fair Weather and Foul.

Speak nought, move not, but listen, the sky is full of gold,
No ripple on the river, no stir in field or fold[,]
All gleams but nought doth glisten, but the far[-]off unseen sea.

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

Look not, they will not heed thee, speak not, they will not hear[,]
Pray not, they have no bounty, curse not[,] they may not fear[,]
Cower down, they will not heed thee; long-lived the world shall be.

Hang down thine head and hearken, for the bright eve mocks thee still:
Night trippeth on the twilight, but the summer hath no will
For woes of thine to darken, and the moon hath left the sea.

Hope not to tell thy story in the rest of grey-eyed morn,
In the dawn grown grey and faint, for the thrush ere day is born
Shall be singing to the glory of the day-star mocking thee[.]

Be silent[,] worn and weary[,] till this tyranny is past,
For the summer joy shall darken, and the wind wail low at last[,]
And the drifting rack and dreary shall be kind to hear and see.

Thou shalt remember sorrow, thou shalt tell all thy tale
When the rain fills up the valley, and the trees amid their wail
Think far beyond tomorrow, and the sun that yet shall be.

Hill-side and vineyard hidden, and the river running rough,
Toward the flood that meets the northlands, shall be rest for thee enough
For thy tears to fall unbidden, for thy memory to go free.

[f. 102v]

Rest then, when all moans round thee, and no fair sunlitten lie
Maketh light of sorrow underneath a brazen sky,
And the tuneful woe hath found thee, over land and over sea[.]

CW, XXXIV, p. 366

Fair Weather and Foul

Speak nought, move not, but listen, the sky is full of gold,
No ripple on the river, no stir in field or fold,
All gleams but nought doth glisten, but the far-off unseen sea.

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

Look not, they will not heed thee, speak not, they will not hear,
Pray not, they have no bounty, curse not, they may not fear,
Cower down, they will not heed thee; long-lived the world shall be.

Hang down thine head and hearken, for the bright eve mocks thee still:
Night trippeth on the twilight, but the summer hath no will
For woes of thine to darken, and the moon hath left the sea.

Hope not to tell thy story in the rest of grey-eyed morn,
In the dawn grown grey and rainy, for the thrush ere day is born
Shall be singing to the glory of the day-star mocking thee.

Be silent, worn and weary, till their tyranny is past,
For the summer joy shall darken, and the wind wail low at last,
And the drifting rack and dreary shall be kind to hear and see.

Thou shalt remember sorrow, thou shalt tell all thy tale
When the rain fills up the valley, and the trees amid their wail
Think far beyond tomorrow, and the sun that yet shall be.

Hill-side and vineyard hidden, and the river running rough,
Toward the flood that meets the northlands, shall be rest for thee enough
For thy tears to fall unbidden, for thy memory to go free.

Rest then, when all moans round thee, and no fair sunlitten lie
Maketh light of sorrow underneath a brazen sky,
And the tuneful woe hath found thee, over land and over sea.

A-15. “O Far Away to Seek” ( O far away to seek, close-hid for heart to find, )

Inscribed in A Book of Verse, 1870, 26-27, titled "Love Alone"; published CW, XXIV, 364. Untitled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 103 autograph on blue ruled paper. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 3.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 103

O far away to seek, Close-hid for heart to find,
O hard to cast away, Impossible to bind!
A pain when found and found, A pain when slipped away,
Yet by whatever name, Be nigh us, Love, today.

Sweet was the summer day, Before thou camest here:
But never sweet to me, And Death was drawing near!
Is it summer still, What meaneth the word Death,
What meaneth all the joy Thy mouth, Love, promiseth.

Wherefore must thou babble of thy finding me alone?
What is this idle word, That thou may'st yet be gone?
Laugh, laugh, Love, as I laugh When mine own love kisseth me,
And saith no more of bliss, Twixt lips and lips shall be.

O Love, thou hast slain time; How shall he live again,
We bless thy bitter wound, We bless thy sleepless pain--
Hope and fear slain each of each, Doubt forgeting all he said[,]
Death in some place forgotten[,] lingering, & half-dead.

When my hand forgets her cunning I will loose thee Love & pray
Ah[,] and pray to what? – For a never ending day,
Where we may sit apart, Hapless, undying still,
With thoughts of the old story Our sundered hearts to fill.

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 26]

Love Alone

O far away to seek, close-hid for heart to find,
O hard to cast away, impossible to bind
A pain when found and held, a pain when fallen away,
Still joy or pain or anguish, be nigh us, Love, today!

Sweet was the summer day, before thou camest here:
But never sweet to me, and Death was drawing near—
Is it summer still? what means the ill word Death?
What means the utter joy thy mouth, Love, promiseth?

Where fore must thou babble of my being once alone?
What is this idle word, that thou mayest yet begone?
Laugh, laugh, Love, as I laugh when mine own love kisseth me,
And saith no more of joy twixt lips and lips shall be.

O Love thou hast slain Time; how shall he live again
O Love thou hast slain rest and we bless thy sleepless pain:
Hope and Fear have slain each other, Doubt forgetteth all he said.
Death in some place forgotten, lingering, and half-dead.

[p. 27]
When my hand forgets her cunning I will loose thee Love and pray
Ah, and pray to what? – for a never-ending day
Wherein we twain may sit, parted undying still
With thoughts of the old story our sundered hearts to fill.

*A-16. “O land sore torn and riven”

Unpublished. Untitled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 119; Morris autograph on white paper. Northern poem.

[f. 119]
O land sore torn and riven
Ward of the northern sea
Forgiving unforgiven
Thy God[-]wrought misery
For the years I shall not meet thee
I winter singer greet thee
Thou garden of all wonder,
And bide a better day[.]

What day? – the winter thunder
Rolls round thy hills of dread
The hidden fires whereunder
The unforgotten dead
Forget not in their slumber
The worlds grief & the cumber[,]
Unholpen hearts that sicken
Mid Nalgfar’s long delay.

A-17. “We loosed from the quays on a Friday”

Published AWS, I, 462. Untitled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 120; Morris autograph. First person narration of a voyage to Norway, possibly a discarded draft. Dating uncertain, though May Morris believed that the northern poems which ended up in Poems by the Way were from the early 1870s, and this may be a discarded draft for such a poem.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 120
We loosed from the quays on a Friday at nones at the ending of may.
And many a penny’s worth lay neath the hatches Said Adam of Ghent
Broadcloth and weapons well wrought if little of silver or gold
And nought is to tell of at first for trippingly ever we went
Down the full water of Ghent to the northland mouth we lay
Ere came the south westerly wind and the sails toward Norway we bent
And saw never a ship on the sea till the land flow came down on us cold
At the dawn of the June-tide it was and the gray clouds rolled off from the sun
And sunlitten above for anigh the mid Norway we were
Some forty miles off it maybe and the southwest fell flat and the flaw
Died out and the ripple was done and wayless we wallowed it there
Till again betwixt morning and noon oer the swell a new ripple gan run
And the north and the clouds were afoot and the Thrandheimers mountain were clear
Far off little and dark they looked as the side drew
So slowly a mile we made till the lookout cried for a sail
And down on the wind she came, and aboard was a heart or two
But quicker maybe as I cried: so sail the longships ever
And the oars are out belike, and little is all we may do
In this light wind of the land if luck and our lady fail
And een as I spake and laughed and whiter her canvass grew
And her drake-head flashed in the sun, and again our sails must strain
So I bade strike sail and abide and hoped for chaffer and gain
For ever we deemed her deep

*A-18. “Thus have I told many ways of the dealings of prudence with men”

Unpublished. Untitled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 125, Morris autograph on white paper. Possible draft of unfinished narrative poem.

Thus have I told many ways of the dealings of prudence with men
Keeping not words back all the while from my heart that were eager to well
Speaking as speaks a craftsmaster plain words for the shortness of life
Longing to make you see most clear whatever befell
But now is the time to cry out as time to forbear was then
Nor were life overlong the praises of Prudence to tell
But for many a thing to do mid the cumber & the strife

Whether in the body or no I wot not certainly which
I heard such words a while in the twilight time of day
And a film fell off from my eyes as I woke in a garden fair
And warm was the scented wind neath a quivering sky & clear
And a heaven of blossoms breathed round an ancient palace rich
With the marble shapes of men and all that the wood has dear
Of the bones of the ancient earth soft & golden & grey

*A-19. “Peevish and weak and fretful do I pray”

Unpublished. Untitled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 86v; Morris autograph on blue ruled paper with corrections. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, ff. 51-51v.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 86v

Peevish and weak and fretful do I pray
To thee great hearted to thee wise and strong
Who bears't the burden of thy grief and wrong

The world perchance to mock & jest would turn
My love for thee and ask what I desire
Or with the name of some unholy fire
Would name the thing wherewith my heart doth yearn.
[crossed out: Would stain the light wherewith my heart doth burn.]

For thy love[']s proper self may scarce discern
Nor to his golden house have they drawn nigher
Than where his flowers of joy with poisons burn—

But I now clinging to thy skirt pass through
The dangerous pleasant place with  halfshut eyes
And with new names I name old miseries
And turned to hopes are many fears I knew
And things I spoke as lies seem coming true
Since thou hast shown me where the high heaven lies

*A-20. “Deep Sea, mighty wonder.” A stanza from “Earth the Healer, Earth the Keeper.”

The entire poem published in CW, IX, Poems by the Way, 182-84. An autograph draft of 6 lines is in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, f. 94, another by a copyist in B. L. 45,298A, f. 106, and a second copyist’s version is in B. L. 45,298B, f. 95.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, f. 94

Deep sea, mighty wonder,
Great treasure thereunder,
No heart grief, no burning,
No hope of returning,
No fear in my keeping
Lie, stilled of thy weeping

B. L. Ms. 45,298A, f. 106

Deep Sea, mighty wonder,
Great treasure thereunder,
Nor heart grief, no burning,
No hope of returning,
No fear in my keeping
Lie, stilled of thy weeping

Seems identical to B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318 version.

*A-21. Dramatic fragment containing King, Oliver, Sir Walter and Yoland (“Well put thy case and more than one of us”)

Unpublished. Autograph in B. L. Add. M. S. 45,298A, ff. 117-18v (bottom half of sheet), blue ruled paper. Dramatic fragment. Goodwin lists as about 1872; seems early draft for Love Is Enough.

[f. 117]
King
Well put thy case and more than one of us
Will for the nonce be kings and queens of love.
In stead of her who wears the violet
Down there in Provence: is it long to tell—

No sire the minstrel said the case was this:
Crowned with a rose-wreath once a lady sat
Betwixt two lovers, one ungarlanded:

What helmet perchance late came back from the war
As our Sir Walter here.
May be my lord
But one was garlanded the other not.

[f. 117v]
Lady and queen twere a good deed to give
Thy chaplet to our friend—nay wilt thou not?
And thou my gentle cleaver of the press
Wilt thou not have it? – well they tale my maid

Sire one was garlanded the other not.

A forfeit if thou tell thy tale twice oer.

Nay shall I tell it once sire? by your leave
The lady took the chaplet from her head
And set it soft upon his head that lacked;
And softly drew the crown from him that had
And crowned herself withal: nor [know I] which of these
Was most her friend the crowned one or discrowned.

If I speak first or this my lady here
Ye will all speak one way Sir marshall speak:
For thou hast been a lover many years.
Though faith thy head is scarce so grey as mine—

Would she be longer taken off the crown
Than setting of it on? for fain were I
To have her finders on my aching brow
The longest that might be.
Said lover-like
Nor lawyer like meseems: thy pleasure man
Would make her neither more nor less her friend
Thou shootest beside the mark.
Thou Yoland speak
Sire, was the lady fair in very sooth?
I mean a gracious and a loving one
For were she other, she might wish to please
The crownless man and heed no whit the while
Whether the chapleted were lief or loth.

[f. 118]
Still were she gracious short my doom must be
To wit that he she discrowned was her friend
For he was bound and used to bear all slights
That she might lay upon him any whiles

Lady and Queen I prithee say thy say.

In earnest sire since these fair friends have laughed
The discrowned was her friend; to give is all:
And mercy ’tis to take who shall ask more?

O sweet and fair thy lips are made my love
Thy voice as mellow gold amid the brass.
But all would give thee all and were thou poor
Thou yet mightst learn to tell another tale

Ah maybe Sir – will not Sir Walter speak –

Yea will I speak my lady – Shall I give
And not be given withal?
I heard men say
That on a day or two thou gav[’]st good store
And bore away but little: if men built
Storehouses for their hearts.
Yea my lord
Yet let us to this game: thou sayest O Queen
That giving is delight: yet wottest thou
How giving must be twofold lest thou cast
Thy very soul into a pitiless sea
Whose tide shall sweep over thy gift and thee
And make thee both as though ye had not been

And yet God gives who getteth not again

Yea and last shall smite the world with fire
And who meanwhile is God but God alone--

[f. 118v]
Ah lady hast thou seen the ancient saw
Writ on Sir Walter’s sword from hilt to point
Bear and forbear thou shalt live long and loved
So would I live in worlds love if may be
The world will have me: give my crown today
Nor deem much given take my crown tomorn
Nor hope to wear it long and so at last
Leave the dear world behind with a light tale
To tell of all I was or hoped to be.

So wise thou art thou wouldst not seem too wise
So loving that thou dreadest words of love.

Yea for I have my masters in both these
My wise Sir Walter he: the wise in war
My loving marshal: marshall the dance
And lo thy friend the lady Yoland’s eyes--
Laughing above her lips demure and close
At any matter graver than a song!

Nay Sire some songs of mine are grave enow.

Lo there the sun is down: but yet awhile
The nightingale delayeth his delight
Until we hold our peace to hearken him
Come sing the moon up with the gravest song
Till he begin who sings in tongue forgot
The unforgoetten word of woe of yore foregone.

—Song—
So end we then today in hopes tomorrow
Shall have but half his joy but twice his sorrow

*A-22. "Thou hast it then the pouch"

Autograph dramatic fragment, B. L. Add. M. S. 45,298A, f. 116 and 116v on white ruled paper, possibly a first draft for a drama based on a love triangle after the manner of Launcelot, Arthur and Guenevere. In this fragment Oliver and his love, presumably attendants of the court, recount the signs they have observe of love between Walter and the Queen.

[f. 116]
Thou hast it then the pouch?
yea safe enow
Sweet cutpurse, o the little tender hands!
the letter too?
’Tis safe within the pouch—
Then let me see it:
nay the moon is bright
Yet scarcely bright enow to read thereby
trust me Oliver I know full well
Thy ladys writing, and can write as fine:
Can I forget her letter that I gat
The morning ere thou wentest to the war
Bear thine own shame I may not make it more
Yet had thou been my friend as I was thine
Thou wouldst have told me: all shall be forgot
My folly and thy friendship and thy words
And thou shalt have a many friends go[d] wot
While I am lonely:--This is writ as well
And is most like: Yea I can tell it o’er.
O Love so loving, beyond speech beloved
Day after day dies lonely and forlorn
Lonely through thou art here again once more
Before my face: if thou hadst known my hopes
While thou wert fighting in the perilous time
My hopes and fears: is love so wicked then
That I should hope thy friends and mine might die:
O Love let us forget all things but love:
For I have bared my breast to take from it
Thy letter and to count the kisses oer
Thou gavest me once that lie there yet alive
Although that day is dead and scarce I live.
Dost thou not see how like one dead I go
Twixt hall and bower: come thou my love my God
And raise the dead to life a little while
That when we die at last our love may live—
Her name beneath I wrote all without help
Sweet clerk come lend me these two hands a while
To look at in the morn

[f. 116v]
Wilt thou be kind
As thou art now when she has left the court—
O Sweet: and yet a full foul deed it were
But if I hated her but if we twain
Were lovers evermore.
Nay why so foul
Why should the good king be a cuckold yet.

Thou knowst he is not
Yea but he shall be.
As sure as this thy ear is honey sweet
This Walter loves the Queen: this very eve
Thou he sat far from her by thee my love
What heeded he what answered he but her:
These twain a riding walking side by side
Look never on the other, never keeps
Their wariness

A-23. “Sad-eyed and soft and grey thou art, O morn!”

Published in CW, XXIV, p. 356. Autograph B. L. Add. M. S. 45,298A, f. 115. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 11.

45,298A, f. 115

Sad eyed and soft and grey thou art o morn!
     Across the long grass of the marshy plain
     Thy west wind whispers of the coming rain
The lark forgets that day is grown forlorn
Above the lush blades of the springing corn,
     Thy thrush within the high elm strives in vain
     To store up tales of spring for summer's pain--
Vain day, why wert thou from the dark night born?

O many-voiced strange morn, why must thou break
     With vain desire the softness of my dream
     Where she and I alone on earth did seem?
How hadst thou heart from me that land to take
Wherein she wandered softly for my sake
     And I and she no harm of love might deem?

CW, XXIV, [p. 356]

Sad-eyed and soft and grey thou art, O morn!
     Across the long grass of the marshy plain
     Thy west wind whispers of the coming rain,
The lark forgets that May is grown forlorn
Above the lush blades of the springing corn,
     Thy thrush within the high elm strives in vain
     To store up tales of spring for summer's pain--
Vain day, why wert thou from the dark night born?

O many-voiced strange morn, why must thou break
   With vain desire the softness of my dream
     Where she and I alone on earth did seem?
How hadst thou heart from me that land to take
Wherein she wandered softly for my sake
     And I and she no harm of love might deem?

*A-24 "So I rose and felt my feet on the daisied grass in a while"

Fragment, date uncertain. B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 124

So I rose and felt my feet on the daisied grass in a while
And looked, and a little way off at end of a lily glade
A man on the grass there lay fair clad and fair and young
One hand on an open book by his left side lightly laid
As I looked on his parted lips and his musing happy smile
I saw that he saw me not and I grew a little afraid
That this was the death indeed and the heaven so often sung

Afraid, for the sooth to say I trusted not the place
For all its perfect peace, in the golden dusk and sweet
And I looked that there should arise some longing more than pain
As when to a lover lost death and rewarding meet
And her first look full of love is the last look of her face
But so as fluttered my heart fell fluttered [“somewhat,” not crossed out] to my feet
And I looked and found a scroll and thereon was written plain

Look and listen hereon and returning tell if thou wilt

*A-25. “Alone unhappy by the fire I sat”

Autograph draft in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 99. Unpublished. Untitled, copyist’s version in B. M. Add. Ms. 45, 298B, ff. 27-29, but was not published. The three pages of the notebook directly before this poem have been cut out. Transcribed in Le Bourgeois, "The Youth of William Morris," 139-40.

[45,298B, f. 27]
Alone, unhappy by the fire I sat
And pondered o’er the changing of the days
And of the death of this good hope and that
That time agone our hearts to heaven would raise.
But now lie buried ’neath the stony ways
Where change and folly lead our wearied feet
Till face to face this verse and sorrow meet.

I strove to think what like the days would be
If ere we die we should grow glad again
But yet no image of felicity
From out such twice changed days my heart could gain
For still on pain I thought, and still on pain
Of shifts from grief to joy we poets sing
And of the long days make a little thing.

But grief meseems is like eternity
While our hearts ache and far-of[f] seems the rest
If we are not content that all should die
That we so fondly once unto us pressed
Unless our love for folly be confessed
And we stare back with cold and wondering eyes
On the burnt days of our fool’s paradise.

[f. 28]
So I when of the happy days to come
I strove to think no whit would all avail
Rather my thoughts went back to that changed home
And in mine ears there rang some piteous tale
And all my heart for very pain did fail
To think of thine; I cannot bridge the space
’Twixt what may be and thy sad weary face.

Ah do you lift your eye-brow in disdain
Because I dare to pity or come nigh
To your great sorrow, helpless weak and vain
E’en as I know myself – ah rather I
On you my helper in the darkness cry
For you alone unchanged now seem to be
A real thing left of the days sweet to me.

Dreamy the rest has grown now that my lips
Must leave the words unsaid my heart will say
While I grow hot, and o’er the edge there slips
A word that makes me tremble and I stay
With fluttering heart the thoughts that will away
We meet, we laugh and talk but still is set
A seal o’er things I never can forget.

[f. 29]
But must not speak of, still I count the hours
That bring my friend to me with hungry eyes
I watch him as his feet the staircase mount
Then face to face we sit, a wall of lies
Made hard by fear and faint anxieties
Is drawn between us, and he goes away
And leaves me wishing it were yesterday.

Then when they both are gone, I sit alone
And turning foolish triumphs pages o’er
And think how it would be if they were gone
Not to return, or worse if the time bore
Some seed of hatred in its fiery core
And nought of praise were left to me to gain
But the poor [boon?] we talked of as so vain.

"The Youth of William Morris, 1834-76: An Interpretation," [pp. 139-40]

Alone, unhappy by the fire I sat
And pondered o’er the changing of the days
And of the death of this good hope and that
That time agone our hearts to heaven would raise.
But now lie buried ’neath the stony ways
Where change and folly lead our weary feet
Till face to face this verse and sorrow meet.

I strove to think what like the days would be
If ere we die we should grow glad again
But yet no image of felicity
From out such twice changed days my heart could gain
For still on pain I thought, and still on pain
O shifts from grief to joy we poets sing
And of the long days make a little thing;

But grief meseems is like eternity
While our hearts ache and far-off seems the rest
If we are not content that all should die
That we so fondly once unto us pressed
Unless our love for folly be confessed
And we stare back with cold and wondering eyes
On the burnt days of our fools paradise.

So I when of the happy days to come
I strove [to] think no whit would all avail
Rather my thoughts went back to that changed home
And in mine ears there rang some piteous tale
And all my heart for very pain did fail
To think of thine; I cannot bridge the space
Twixt what may be and thy sad face.

[p. 139] Ah do you lift your eye-brow in disdain
Because I dare to pity or come nigh
To your great sorrow, helpless weak and vain
E’en as I know myself – ah rather I
On you my helper in the darkness cry
For you alone unchanged now seem to be
A real thing left of the days sweet to me.

Dreamy the rest has grown now that my lips
Must leave the words unsaid my heart will say
While I grow hot, and oer the edge there slips
A word that makes me tremble and I stay
With flattering heart the thoughts that will away
We meet, we laugh and talk but still is set
A seal oer things I never can forget

But must not speak of still I count the hours
That bring my friend to me with hungry eyes
I watch him as his feet the staircase mount
Then face to face we sit a wall of lies
Made hard by fear and faint anxieties
Is drawn between us, and he goes away
And leaves me wishing it were yesterday

Then when they both are gone, I sit alone
And turning foolish sleepless pages oer
And think how it would be if they were gone
Not to return, or worse if the time bore
Some seed of hatred in its fiery core
And nought of praise were left to me to gain
But the boon we talked of as so vain.


 

B. Poems and Fragments Preserved Only in Copyist’s hand in B. M. Add. Ms. 45,298B

*B-1. “They have no song, the sedge is dry”
Unpublished. B. L. Ms. 45,298B f. 50, in copyist’s hand.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 50

[f. 50]
They have no song, the sedges dry
And still they sing,
It is within my breast they sing
As I pass by.
Within my breast they touch a string
They wake a sigh
There is but sound of sedges dry
In me they sing.

B-2. Three Chances and One Answer ( O love, if all the pleasures of the earth )

Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 14.

Three chances and one answer

O love, if all the pleasures of the earth
Can give one life if new and happy birth
Were given me now, how could I weigh their worth
     If low and soft thy sweet voice said to me
     “We, who were twain, one loved soul let us be.”

Love if they showed me plenteous rest and peace,
A summer land, and fruitful years increase,
Thou knowest how my soul would turn from these,
     If thou shouldst say, “one kiss love, ere the cold
     The lonely dark, and the sad year grown old.”

And now that thou art silent, and thine eyes
Must turn no more to these my miseries,
Thou wilt not think me grown so bitter-wise
     That I, the dream of what thy lips might say
     For all the good of life, could give away.

B-3. Song from Orpheus: “While agone my words had wings”

Published CW, XXIV, 251-53. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, ff. 31-32.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 31 titled, Songs from Orpheus

[f. 31]
While agone my words had wings
And might tell of noble things
The wide warring of the kings.
And the going to and fro
Of the wise that the world do know.

Then the sea was in my song
And the wind blew rough and strong
And the swift steeds swept along,
And the grinding of the spears
Reached the heart through the ears.

So a slim youth sang I then
Mid the beards of warring men
Till the great hall rang again.
And the swords were on their knees
As they hearkened words like these.

Or before the maids hat led
The white oxen sleek full-fed
When th4e field gave up its dead,
The dead lover of the sun
Sweet I sang when day was done.

Hearts I gladdened, limbs made light
When the feet of girls gleamed white
In the odorous torch-lit night,
And belike my heart did flame
Through my cheek told lies of shame.

Or in days not long agone
Would I sit as if alone
Though around stood many a one.
Each as if alone we were
For of fresh love sang I there.

All such things could I sing now,
And to this dull silence show
How the life of man doth grow
Of all love and hope and hate
And unseen slow-creeping fate.

But of this how shall I sing?
The sick hope whereto I cling.
The despair that every-thing
Moaneth with about mine eyes
This dull cage of miseries?

B-4. Song from Orpheus: “O ye who sit alone, and bend above the earth”

Published CW, XXIV, 253-54 [not published separately but as a part of “The Story of Orpheus and Eurydice]. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, ff. 33-34.

[f. 33]

Oh ye, who sit alone,      and bend above the earth[,]
So great that the world’s gain      Is but a hollow dearth,
And pain forgot like laughter,      And love of fleeting worth[,]
Did ye teach me how to sing [?]      Or where else did I gain
The tears slow[-]born of bliss,      The sweetness drawn from pain.

I stand alone and longing Nor know if aught doth live
Except myself and sorrow Nor know with whom to strive[,]
Nor know if ye have might To hold back or to give[,]
Nor know if ye can love, Or what your hate shall be
Or if ye are my foes, Or the love that burns in me.

Can ye hearken as men hearken, Can I move you as erewhile
I moved the happy kings, And the wise men did beguile[,]
When the lover unbeloved[,] Must sigh with rest and smile
For the sweetness of the song[,] That made not light of woe,
And the youngling stand apart, and learn that life must go.

O ye who ne’er were fettered, By the bonds of time and ill[,]
Give, give, if ye are worthy Or leave me worthier still[;]
For the measure of my love, No gain of love should fill.
If I held the hands I love, If I pressed her who is gone,
Living, breathing, to my heart, Not e’en so were all well won.

[f. 34] O be satisfied with this, That no end my longing knows
If the years might not be counted, For we twain to sit all close
As on earth we sat a little. Twixt the lily and the rose.
Sat a little and were gone, Ere we mingled in the strife,
Ere we learned how best to love, Ere we knew the ways of life.

Folk pray to us of earth, To be loved, and sick at heart
Must turn their eyes away, And from every hope depart[:]
We are lone who cannot give[,] And grow hard beneath the smart
But ye have wealth and might, Ye can hearken and can give[,]
What gain is there in death, O be wise and make alive.

CW, XXIV, 253-54 [not published separately but as a part of “The Story of Orpheus and Eurydice”

Oh ye, who sit alone, and bend above the earth
So great that the world’s gain Is but a hollow dearth,
And pain forgot like laughter, And love of fleeting worth,
Did ye teach me how to sing Or where else did I gain
The tears slow-born of bliss, The sweetness drawn from pain?

I stand alone and longing Nor know if aught doth live
Except myself and sorrow Nor know with whom to strive,
Nor know if ye have might To hold back or to give,
Nor know if ye can love, Or what your hate shall be
Or if ye are my foes, Or the love that burns in me.

Can ye hearken as men hearken, Can I move you as erewhile
I moved the happy kings, And the wise men did beguile?
When the lover unbeloved Must sigh with rest and smile
For the sweetness of the song That made not light of woe,
And the youngling stand apart, and learn that life must go.

[p. 254]
O ye who ne’er were fettered, By the bonds of time and ill,
Give give, if ye ware worthy Or leave me worthier still:
For the measure of my love No gain of love should fill.
If I held the hands I love, If I pressed her who is gone,
Living, breathing, to my breast, Not e’en so were all well won.

O be satisfied with this, That no end my longing knows
If the years might not be counted, For we twain to sit all close
As on earth we sat a little Twixt the lily and the rose,
Sat a little and were gone Ere we mingled in the strife,
Ere we learned how best to love, Ere we knew the ways of life.

Folk pray to us of earth To be loved, and sick at heart
Must turn their eyes away, And from every hope depart:
We are lone who cannot give, And grow hard beneath the smart
But ye have wealth and might, Ye can hearken and can give,

What gain is there in death? O be wise and make alive!

B-5. Song from Orpheus: “Once a white house there was”

Never published as a separate poem in Morris's lifetime. Included in CW, XXIV, 255-57. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, ff. 35-38

B. L. 45,298B, [ff. 35-38]

Once a white house there was
Set amid the Thracian grass,
And the wood-dove moaned thereover,
And the Thracian loved and lover,
Passing by the garden close
Speaking words that no one knows,
Stopped awhile to smile and say
“Orpheus shall be wed today![”]
[“]The white feet of Eurydice
Fair, as thou art fair to me
Soft beneath the lilies white.”
“Bear her forth to full delight
Till the night and morn shall touch[.]”
“Come then[,] love, for overmuch
Them and us the Gods do bless
With enduring happiness.”
“Yea love, for the grass is green
Still, and thrushes run between
The faint mallows overworn,
And the berries of the thorn
Know no ruddy threat of death.”

So they felt each other’s breath
[f. 36] And each other’s shoulders warm,
And the weight of hand and arm
As they went amid the grass.
There her naked feet did pass
And her hand touched blossoms fair
By the poison lurking there
In the yellow-throated snake,
But their beauty did not wake
His dull heart and evil eyes
And belike in happy wise
They abide now, and shall come
Yet again unto that home.

Ah, the gate is open wide,
And the wild bees only hide
In the long-cupped blossoms there,
And the garden-god is bare
Of the flowers he used to have,
And no scythe the sward doth shave
And the wilding grasses meet
High above their faltering feet
Where the lilies used to grow
And unnailed the peach hangs now,
[f. 37] No more is the fountain full
And the dial’s gold is dull;
And the foot-worn pink-veined stone
Of the porch all green hath grown:
Through the empty chambers cold
Moans the wind as it did hold
Dull winter mid the summer’s heart.

Think ye that the twain depart
Glad that they alone are glad?
They who saw the clothes that clad
Her fair body that fair night,
Yellowing as the jasmine white
Yellows as it fades away,
And how withered roses lay
On the pillows of the bed
That ne’er touched her golden head?

They who looked so close they saw
The bed-gear into creases draw,
Drawn that noon so by my mouth
Feverish with half-happy drought.

[f. 38] And the threshold, saw they not
Where my lips thereon were hot
Ere she came, that she might feel
As her feet there o’er did steal
Trembling sweet, and know not why,
Fluutering hope so soon to die
In the heart of utter bliss
As the still night saw our kiss.

Think ye that these twain might rest
Till they knew why they so blessed
Such a sorrow of heart should feel?
Through the summer day they steal,
E’en as folk who dwell alone
In a land whence all are gone
Where their shame hath wrought the thing.
For their hands forget to cling
Each to each, and their sweet eyes
Are distraught with mysteries
Hard to solve and hard to leave.
Till at ending of the eve
Folk to meet at last to tell
How the death of joy befell.

CW 24 [255-57]

[p. 255]
O me, a white house there was
Set amid the Thracian grass
And the wood-dove moaned thereover,
And the Thracian loved and lover,
Passing by the garden-close
Speaking words that no one knows,
Stopped awhile to smile and say
“Orpheus shall be wed today—”
“The white feet of Eurydice
Fair as thou art fair to me
Soft beneath the lilies white—”
“Bear her forth to full delight
Till the night and morn shall touch.”
“Come then, love, for overmuch
Them and us the Gods do bless
With enduring happiness.”
“Yea love, for the grass is green
Still, and thrushes run between

[p. 256]
The faint mallows overworn,
And the berries of the thorn
Know no ruddy threat of death!”

So they felt each other’s breath
And each other’s shoulders warm,
And the weight of hand and arm
As they went amid the grass;
There her naked feet did pass
And her hand touched blossoms fair
By the poison lurking there
In the yellow-throated snake;

But their beauty did not wake
His dull heart and evil eyes
And belike in happy wise
They abide now, and shall come
Yet again unto that home.

Ah, the gate is open wide
And the wild bees only hide
In the long-cupped blossoms there,
And the garden-god is bare
Of the flowers he used to have,
And no scythe the sward doth shave
And the wilding grasses meet
High above their faltering feet
Where the lilies used to grow
And unnailed the peach hangs now,
No more is the fountain full
And the dial’s gold is dull;
And the foot-worn pink-veined stone

Of the porch all green hath grown;
Through the empty chambers cold
Moans the wind as it did hold
Dull winter mid the summer’s heart.

Think ye that the twain depart
Glad that they alone are glad?
[p. 257]
They who saw the clothes that clad
Her fair body that fair night,
Yellowing as the jasmine white
Yellows as it fades away,
And how withered roses lay
On the pillows of the bed
That ne’er touched her golden head?

They who looked so close they saw
The bed-gear into creases draw;
Drawn that noon so by my mouth
Feverish with half-happy drought.

And the threshold, saw they not
Where my lips thereon were hot
Ere she came, that she might feel
As her feet thereo’er did steal
Trembling sweet, and know not why,
Fluutering hope so soon to die
In the heart of utter bliss

As the still night saw our kiss?

Think ye that these twain might rest
Till they knew why they, so blessed
Such a sorrow of heart should feel?
Through the summer day they steal,
E’en as folk who dwell alone
In a land whence all are gone
Where their shame hath wrought the thing.
For their hands forget to cling
Each to each, and their sweet eyes
Are distraught with mysteries
Hard to solve and hard to leave.
Till at ending of the eve
Folk they meet at last to tell
How the death of joy befell.

B-6. Song from Orpheus: “O if ye laugh, then am I grown”

Published CW, XXIV, 258-60. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, ff. 39-41.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B [ff. 39-41]

O if ye laugh, then am I grown
O Gods, and here I stand alone
The body of a ceaseless moan,
Yet better than ye are, a part
Of the world's woe and the world's heart.

For the world laughed not on the morn
When my full woe from night was born [ms. shorn]
When first I called on you forlorn.
The world laughed not, although I feared
When first its waking breath I heard.

O me! the morn was bright enow,
A little westering wind did blow
Across the ripe field's outer row,
Across her white breast no more warm
Across my numbed enfolding arm.

The July morn was bright and clear
No more the cock's cry did I hear,
Now when the sparrows wakened there
Now when all things awoke around
Mine arms about her heart unwound.

[f. 40] Then o'er the edge of earth and sky
The sun arose, and silently
Lit up the lily heads anigh;
The sun stole through the room to light
Her arm hung down, her fingers white.

Higher and higher arose the sun
Until unto our breasts it won
And burned there till the noon was done;
Uopn my heart the sun was hot
And scorched me sore, but harmed her not.

Then toward the west it gan to wend,
No wind was left the rye to bend
Till drew the day unto an end,
No wind until the night grew cold
Above the face my hands did hold.

Yet all that bright day mocked me nought.
Through sunny hours its end was wrought.
Yet was it sad enow methought;
Its end was wrought mid calm and peace
Yet mournfully did it decrease.

[f. 41] And if men went upon their ways
E'en as in other summmer days,
Surely they toiled with no glad face,
Amid the bright day did they seem
To toil as in a hapless dream.

And so at first I thought indeed
The world was kind to help my need;
No thing therein, from man to weed.
But it was kind my love to lack[,]
To help my need and wish her back.

But ye help not, nor know how I
Would help the whole world's misery
And give it bliss ne'er passing by,
Ne'er passing by, if I might sit
Above the world, and yearn to it.

CW 24 [pp. 258-60]

O if ye laugh, then am I grown,
O Gods, as here I stand alone
The body of a ceaseless moan,
Yet better than ye are, a part
Of the world's woe and the world's heart.

For the world laughed not on the morn
When my full woe from night was born
When first I called on you forlorn:
The world laughed not, although I feared
When first its waking breath I heard.

O me! the morn was bright enow;
A little westering wind did blow
Across the rye-field's outer row,
Across her white breast no more warm,
Across my numbed enfolding arm.

[p. 259]

The July morn was bright and clear,
No more the cock's cry did I hear,
Now when the sparrows wakened there,
Now when all things awoke around
Mine arms about her heart enwound.

Then o'er the edge of earth and sky
The sun arose, and silently
Lit up the lily-heads anigh;
The sun stole through the room to light
Her arm hung down, her fingers white.

Higher and higher arose the sun
Until unto our breast it won
And burned there till the noon was done;
Uopn my heart the sun was hot
And scorched me sore, but harmed her not.

Then toward the west it 'gan to wend,
No wind was left the rye to bed
Till drew the day unto an end;
No wind until the night grew cold
Above the face my hands did hold.

Yet all that bright day mocked me nought,
Through sunny hours its end was wrought
Yet was it sad enow methought;
It end was wrought mid calm and peace
Yet mournfully did it decresase.

And if men went upon their ways
E'en as in other summmer days,
Surely they toiled with no glad face,
Amid the bright day did they seem
To toil as in a hapless dream.

[p. 260]

And so at first I thought indeed
The world was kind to help my need;
No thing therein, from man to weed,
But it was kind my love to lack,
To help my need and wish her back.

But ye help not nor know how I
Would help the whole world's misery
And give it bliss ne'er passing by,
Ne'er passing by, if I might sit
Above the world, and yearn to it.

B-7. Song from Orpheus: “O my love how could it be”

Published CW, XXIV, 273. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 298B, ff. 42-43.

B. L. Add. Ms. 298B [ff. 42-43]

O my love, how could it be
But summer must be brought to me
Brought to the world by thy full love?
Long within thee did it move,
Move and bud and change and grow,
Till it wraps me wholly now,
And I turn from thee awhile
Its o'er-sweetnesss to beguile
With a little thought of rest.

Ah me! have I gained the best,
Have I no more to desire
No more hope to vex and tire
No more fear to sicken me,
Nought but the full gift of thee,
All my soul to satisfy.

Ah sweet[,] le[s]t my longing die
E'en a moment, rise and come,
For the roses of our home,
For the rose and lily here,
Are too sweet for us to bear.
[f. 43] Let us wander through the wood
Till a little rest seem[s] good
To our weary limbs, till we
(As the eve dies silently)
Neath the chestnut boughts are laid
Faint with love, but not downweighed
By the summer's restlessness,
Wearied, but most fain to bless,
Pity-laden, summer: sad
With the hope the spring once had.

CW 24 [p. 273]

O my love, how could it be
But summer must be brought to me
Brought to the world by thy full love?
Long within thee did it move,
Move and bud and change and grow,
Till it wraps me wholly now,
And I turn from thee a while
Its o'er-sweetnesss to beguile
With a little thought of rest.

Ah me, have I gained the best,
Have I no more to desire
No more hope to vex and tire
No more fear to sicken me,
Nought but the full gift of thee,
All my soul to satisfy.

Ah sweet, lest my longing die
E'en a moment, rise and come,
For the roses of our home,
For the rose and lily here
Are too sweet for us to bear.
Let us wander through the wood
Till a little rest seem[s] good
To our weary limbs, till we,
As the even dies silently,
Neath the chestnut boughts are laid
Faint with love but not downweighed
By the summer's restlessness,
Wearied but most fain to bless
Pity-laden summer, sad
With the hope the spring once had.

*B-8. “They have no song, the sedge is dry”
Unpublished. B. L. Ms. 45,298B f. 50, in copyist’s hand.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 50

[f. 50]
They have no song, the sedges dry
And still they sing,
It is within my breast they sing
As I pass by.
Within my breast they touch a string
They wake a sigh
There is but sound of sedges dry
In me they sing.

C. Other Morris Poems

*C-1. "Praise of Venus" ( Before our lady came on earth/ Little there was of joy or mirth )

Inscribed in "The Book of Verse," 1870, 49-51. Also included in "The Ring Given to Venus" in The Earthly Paradise.

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 49]
           Praise of Venus

BEFORE our lady came on earth
Little there was of joy or mirth.

About the borders of the sea
The sea-folk wandered wearily,
About the wintry river-side
The weary fishers would abide

Alone within the weaving room
The girls would sit before the loom
And sing no song and play no play

Alone from dawn to hot mid-day
From mid-day into evening
The men afield would work, nor sing
Mid weary thoughts of man and God
Before thy feet the wet ways trod

Unkissed the merchant bore his care
Unkissed the knights went out to war,
Unkissed the mariner came home,
Unkissed the minstrel men must roam

Or in the stream the maids would stare
Nor know why they were shapen fair
[p. 50]
Then yellow locks, their bosoms hite
Their libms well wroguth for all delight
Seemed fruitless things that waited death
As hopeless as the lowers beneath
The weariness of unkissed feet

THEREFORE O Venus well may we
Praise the green ridges of the sea
Oer which upon a happy day
Thou cams’t to take our shame away
Well may we praise the curdling foam
Amidst the which thy feet did bloom,
Flowers of the Gods; the yellow sand
They kissed betwixt the sea and land
The bee-beset ripe seeded grass
Though which thy find limbs first did pass;
The purple dusted butterfly
First blown against thy quivering thigh;
The first red rose that touched thy side
And overblown and fainting died;

The flickering of the orange shade
Where first in sleep thy limbs were laid
The happy day’s sweet life and death
Whose air first caught thy balmy breath:--
[p. 51]
Yea all these things well praised may be
But with what words shall we praise thee
O VENUS O thou love alive
Born to give peace to souls that strive.

*C-2. “Dorothea”

Unused Earthly Paradise tale, B. L. Ms. 45,309, f. 50-81; an earlier draft is in the Fitzwilliam. Described with long quotations in K. L. Goodwin, “An Unpublished Tale from The Earthly Paradise,” Victorian Poetry 13, nos. 3 and 4: 91-102. “...it is clear that she [May Morris] felt a need to hide the poem from view, but her action was dictated, I believe, by considerations of a social and moral kind that were purely personal and local. The literary quality of the work justifies the removal of the supression it has suffered.” K. L. Goodwin. Published in F. Boos, The Design of William Morris’ ‘The Earthly Paradise(New York: Mellen, 1991), 400-45.

*C-3. “O fair gold goddess”

William Morris Gallery, A. Ms. J150 [pdf] fair copy. Printed with notes by R. C. Ellison, English, 15 (1964): 100-102. Ellison assigns 1873 as the date of composition. The poem is signed “Vilhjálmar Vandraedaskáld,” Icelandic for “William the Troubled Skald." Another autograph is in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, f. 92 and 92v, on blue ruled paper.

[WMG J150]
O fair gold goddess,
As fain as thou mayest be
That gone I were
To the white seas-roof land,* [Iceland]
Yet fainer were I
To leap on the wave-swine,
If God for me
The ghosts would quicken
Of Odin’s fellows,
The old abiders
In the land of Naddod. [Iceland]
To live a life there
Too short for sorrow,
Too loud with sword-clash
For any weeping.

Might the world go backward
Then, Roses’ Freyia,
Soon were I faring
Along the way
That leads to Valhall,
Long rest before me,
And my right hand holding
A glory maybe
To give to Odin

For foul is waxen
That world the Gods made,
And I help nought
Nor holpen am I.

But all are gone by,
And the edge play is over
And the long frost is fallen upon them.
There the wind wails ever
Without a story;
No whither the sea’s way leadeth.

The deeds they did
Are as hopes foredone
Cumbering the heart with curses.
Have ye not heard
How hard they wrought?
And lo, the world ever worseneth.

Yet these are they
I must turn to now,
The dead—yea the dead forgotten.
Fair friends were they
Were they alive;
And now for me meet friends it may be.

O Rhine-fires Goddess
This wretched trickle
Of Kvasir’s mead,
(The last it may be )
Thy skald now poureth;
Still praying pardon
For fainting heart
And tongue grown feeble,
Since nought he helpeth
Nor holpen is he.
Vílhjálmr Vandrađaskáld

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, ff. 92 and 92v

[f. 92]
O fair gold goddess
As fain as thou mayst be
That gone I were
To the white seas-roof land
Yet fainer were I
To leap on the wave-swine
If God for me
The ghosts would quicken
Of Odin’s fellows,
The old abiders
In the land of Naddod.
To live a life there
Too short for sorrow
Too loud with sword-clash
For any weeping.
Then, roses’ Freyia,
Soon were I faring
Along the way
That leads to Valhall
Long rest before me,
And my right hand holding
Maybe a glory
To give to Odin
For foul is waxen
That world the Gods made,
And I help nought
Nor holpen am I.

But all are gone by,
And the edge-play is over
And the long frost is fallen upon them.
There the wind wails ever
Without a story;
No whither the sea’s way leadeth.

[f. 92v]
The deeds they did
Are as hopes foredone
     Cumbering the world with curses.
Have ye not heard
How hard they wrought?
     And [yet] the world ever worseneth?

Yet these are they
I must turn to now,
     The dead—yea the dead forgtotten.
Fair friends were they
Were they alive--
     And now for me meet friends it may be.

O Rhine-fire’s Goddess
This wretched trickling
Of Kvasir’s mead,
The last it may be
Thy skald now poureth;
Still praying pardon
For fainting heart
And tongue grown feeble,
Sinice nought he helpeth
Nor holpen is he.

C-4. “What All Men Long For and What None Shall Have” ( Bare is the world and waste and wide )

Published AWS, I, 539-40. Ms. in Troxell Collection, Princeton University Library. See Benjamin Fisher IV, “William Morris’s ‘What all men long for and what none shall have,’” Library Chronicle 43 (1976): 47-54.

AWS, I, 539-40

[p. 539]

What All Men Long For and None Shall Have

Bare is the world and waste and wide
Where many an evil doth betide
And men have lived and men have died
Mingling their love with pride and rage

Their foolish joy with fear and age:
     What thing shall save? Be strong and brave,
How better shall it crush thy cage?

A little space of fruitless ruth,
Of acted lies and spoken truth,
[p. 540]
Of gainless eld, and restless youth,
Of love well trusted turned to shame;
And then the change we may not name;
The change the end, And thou dost wend
Unto the dark whence all things came.

Go cry aloud, ‘A little rest
Before the end, is all the best.’
How shall thou gain it and be blessed
Wit aught of joy, e’en for a space?
Harden thine eyes, make smooth thy face!
Wear the mask still, Lie down with ill!
Rest wearily from hope and praise.’

Is it enough, forgetfulness
That may forget the sharp distress,
But not that it forgetteth bliss?
The words a shame that once we spake
‘For love and truth and honour’s sake,’
The worst well known, All longing flown
But longing that our hearts might ache.

Lo the world’s rest, lo the world’s choice!
Mad longing for forbidden joys,
Or babbling over hated toys
Beneath the scorn, beneath the smile
Of thine own face grown wise and vile:
No hope no God, No way untrod,
No curse, no blessing to beguile.

Choose, choose the best, the pain, but pray,
If thou hast breath to cast away
For somewhat of a better day;
A rest with something good to gain
More than dead love and wasted pain;
Cry bitterly, To drawn anigh
One heart at least, and cry in vain.

C-5. “Praise of Wine” (“The sun grows dim and the day waxes old” )

Published AWS, I, 541-43. Reprinted in small fine arts booklet, "William Morris and his Praise of Wine," The Ward Ritchie Press, September 21, 1958.

[p. 541]

Praise of Wine

The sun grows dim and the day waxes old
And the blossoms droop, for May is a-cold
And the nook in the street the wind doth hold,
And the night lies dark before us.

But come if ye are wearied and sad
Or think too much of the days ye have had,

For here is yet what shall make you glad
     Though the night lies dark before us.

Shut up in a narrow prison it is
That weaver of the veil of bliss,
Across the face of all memories
     When the night lies dark before us.

How shall we name it better than Wine,
That glorious hope, that deathless sign
That the heavens yet to the earth decline
     Though the night lie dark before us?

Think how while we sorrow and slept
Higher and higher the hearth’s flame crept,
Till out of the press the red stream leapt
     And the dark night lies before us.

How did we yearn in our misery
Till across the land and across the sea
It came to the land where the chill winds be
     And the night lies dark before us.

Come then and wrath this dark flask fair
With the flowers our heads no more may bear
Lest we scorch them black with the first of care,
     For the dark night lies before us.

[p. 542]
Yea, lightly lay your hand thereon,
For therein lies hid the life of the sun
Whereby are sorrow and joy made one
     When the dark night lies before us.

Sweet, sweet as the primrose beds,
As the summer wind o’er the lily-heads,
As the clover field the night dew weds
      When the dark night lies before us.

Heart O heart, now growest thou bold
And hope long dead and a love long cold
For a little minute thou yet mayst hold
      Ere the night lies dark before us.

And this hard world that we kept at bay,
The panting struggles of yesterday
We gaze on now like an idle play
      For the dark night lies before us.

Clear grow our eyes and we see how vain
Were hope and fear of pleasure and pain:
How shall it be when it comes again?
     Yet the night lies dark before us.

Loath to depart, yet weak to abide,
Praying to see yet fain to hide,
Bringing together that we may divide,
     While the dark night lies before us.

Such were we once, but now through thee
We share but the woes of divinity;
Better or worse we cannot be
      And the night lies dark before us.

With happy/pensive years hast thou filled our eyes
As musically now, and overwise,
We talk of the curse that over us lies
     And the dark night stretched before us.

[p. 543]
And if to-morrow but short and vain
We call this space betwixt pain and pain,
Yet life is long, it shall hap again,
     Ere the dark night closes o’er us.

C-6. “Hapless Love” ( Haec: Why do you sadly go alone / O fair friend? )

Published Good Words, April, 1869, and privately printed 1876. Included in CW, XXIV, 347-51. According to May Morris, taken from an early draft of “Cupid and Psyche” (CW, IX, xxix-xxx). This doesn’t fit the poem, however, which is another instance of a love trilogy with two speakers (Hic and Ille) in which the speaker laments that his loved one has chosen another.

[p. 347]

HIC
Why do you sadly go alone,
O fair friend? Are your pigeons flown,
Or has the thunder killed your bees,
Or he-goats barked your apple-trees?
Or has the red-eared bull gone mad,
Or the mead turned from good to bad?
Or did you find the merchant lied
About the gay cloth scarlet-dyed?
And did he sell you brass for gold,
Or is there murrain in the fold?

ILLE
Nay, no such thing has come to me.
In bird and beast and field and tree,
And all the things that make my store,
Am I as rich as e’er before;
And no beguilers have I known
But Love and Death; and Love is gone,
Therefore am I far more than sad,
And no more know good things from bad.

HIC
Woe worth the while! Yet coming days
May bring another, good to praise.

ILLE
Nay, never will I love again,
For loving is but joyful pain
If all be at its very best;
A rose-hung bower of all unrest;
But when at last things go awry,
What tongue can tell its misery?
And soon or late shall this befall –
The Gods send death upon us all.

[p. 348]

HIC
Nay, then, but tell me how she died,
And how it did to thee betide
To love her; for the wise men say
To talk of grief drives grief away.

ILLE
Alas, O friend, it happed to me
To see her passing daintily
Before my homestead day by day –
Would she had gone some other way!
For one day, as she rested there
Beneath the long-leaved chestnuts fair,
In very midst of mid-day heat,
I cast myself before her feet,
And prayed for pity and for love.
How could I dream that words could move
A woman? Soft she looked at me:
“Thou sayest that I a queen should be,”
She answered with a gathering smile;
“Well, I will wait a little while;
Perchance the Gods thy will have heard.”

And even with that latest word,
The clash of arms we heard anigh;
And from the wood rode presently
A fair knight well apparelled.
And even as she turned her head,
He shortened rein, and cried aloud:
“O beautiful, among the crowd
Of queens thou art the queen of all!”

But when she let her eyelids fall,
And blushed for pleasure and for shame,
Then quickly to her feet he came,
And said, “Thou shalt be queen indeed;
For many a man this day shall bleed
[p. 349] Because of me, and leave me king
Ere noontide fall to evening.”

Then on his horse he set the maid
Before him, and no word she said
Clear unto me, but murmuring
Beneath her breath some gentle thing,
She clung unto him lovingly;
Nor took they any heed of me.

Through shade and sunlight on they rode
But ‘neath the green boughs I abode,
Nor noted aught that might betide.
The sun waned and the shade spread wide;
The birds came twittering overhead;
But there I lay as one long dead.

But ere the sunset, came a rout
Of men-at-arms with song and shout,
And bands of lusty archers tall,
And spearmen marching like a wall,
Their banners hanging heavily,
That no man might their blazon see;
And ere their last noise died away,
I heard the clamour of the fray
That swelled and died and rose again;
Yet still I brooded o’er my pain
Until the red sun nigh was set,
And then methought I e’en might get
The rest I sought, nor wake forlorn
Midst fellow-men the morrow morn;
So forth I went unto the field,
One man without a sword or shield.
But none was there to give me rest,
Tried was it who was worst and best,
And slain men lay on every side;
For flight and chase were turned aside,
[p. 350] And all men got on toward the sea.
But as I went right heavily
I saw how close beside the way
Over a knight a woman lay
Lamenting, and I knew in sooth
My love, and drew a-near for ruth.

There lay the knight who would be king
Dead slain before the evening,
And ever my love cried out and said,
“O sweet, in one hour art thou dead
And I am but a maiden still!
The Gods this day have had their will
Of thee and me; whom all these years
They kept apart: that now with tears
And blood and bitter misery
Our parting and our death might be.”

Then did she rise and look around,
And took his drawn sword from the ground
And on its bitter point she fell –
No more, no more, O friend, to tell!
No more about my life, O friend!
One course it shall have to the end.

O Love, come from the shadowy shore,
And by my homestead as before
Go by with sunlight on thy feet!
Come back, if but to mock me, sweet!

HIC
O fool! what love of thine was this,
Who never gave thee any kiss,
Nor would have wept if thou hadst died?
Go now, behold the world is wide:
Soon shalt thou find some dainty maid
To sit with in thy chestnut shade,
[f. 351] To rear fair children up for thee,
As those few days pass silently,
Uncounted, that may yet remain
‘Twixt thee and that last certain pain.

ILLE
Art thou a God? Nay, if thou wert,
Wouldst thou belike know of my hurt,
And what might sting and what might heal?
The world goes by 'twixt woe and weal
And heeds me not; I sit apart
Amid old memories. To my heart
My love and sorrow must I press;
It knoweth its own bitterness.

C-7. Love Is Enough

Published 1872: Ellis and White. Included in CW, IX 1-89. Several autograph drafts are in HM 6422.

C-8. French Noel: Masters in This Hall ( Masters in this Hall /Hear ye news today )

Published AWS, I 532-34. Printed in Collection of Ancient Christmas Carols, arr. Edmund Spedding, 1860, where it was titled, “French Noel: Masters in this Hall.” Probably a translation.

Masters in this Hall
Hear ye news to-day
Brought from over sea,
And ever I you pray:
Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell sing we clear
Holpen are all folk on earth, Born is God's Son so dear:
Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell sing we loud!
God to-day hath poor folk rais'd, And cast down the proud.

Going over the hills,
Though the milk-white snow,
Heard I ewes bleat
While the wind did blow.

Nowell! etc.

Shepherds many an one
Sat among the sheep,
No man spake more word
Than they had been asleep.

Nowell! etc.

Quoth I, 'Fellows mine,
Why this guise sit ye?
Making but dull cheer,
Shepherds though ye be?'

Nowell! etc.

'Shepherds should of right
Leap and dance and sing;
Thus to see ye sit
Is a right strange thing.'

Nowell! etc.

Quote these fellows then,
'To Bethlem Town we go,
To see a mighty Lord
Lie in manger low.'

Nowell! etc.

'How name ye this Lord
Shepherds' then said I,
'Very God,' they said,
'Come from heaven high.'

Nowell! etc.

Then to Bethlem Town
We went two and two
And in a sorry place
Heard the oxen low.

Nowell! etc.

Therein did we see
A sweet and goodly May
And a fair old man,
Upon the straw she lay.

Nowell! etc.

And a little Child
On Her arm had She
'Wot yet Who this is?'
Said the hinds to me.

Nowell! etc.

Ox and ass Him know
Kneeling on their knee,
Wondrous joy had I
This little Babe to see,

Nowell! etc.

That is Christ the Lord,
Masters be ye glad!
Christmas is come in,
And no folk should be sad.

Nowell! etc.

C-9. Song for Orpheus: “O love, love, love, folk told me thou wert dead”

Published AWS, I, 534-35. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, ff. 47-48.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B [ff. 46-48]

Song for Orpheus
O Love, love, love, folk told me thou were dead
And O my folly! I believed their tale,
And I have gone about with hanging head
And found no place in hill, or wood, or dale
Lonely enough that thee I might bewail;
All dead things heard my breath and gazed& moved
And cried, O sorrow, sorrow unbeloved!
The wood laid hand upon me when I screamed[,]
The grass clung round about my heavy feet,
The cruel sun upon my hot head streamed[,]
The heavy circling air my face did meet[,]
In measured cadence did the world’s pulse beat
About my ears and wheresoe’er I moved
Cried[,] Sorrow, sorrow, sorrow unbeloved.

I knew not what I said, for “dead” I cried
And when shall I forget and all things cease?
Ah fool! for rather nothing at that tide
Did I remember and no dream brought ease.
No dream of all the kisses and the peace[.]
Yea, I was dead, though on the earth I moved[.]
O Sorrow, sorrow, sorrow unbeloved.

[f. 48] But now perchance, perchance, O Love[,] I live,
For all around me is the world dead now;
All unregarded now and meet to give
Pleasure or pain from out its painted show;
And clearer now the dreams of thee do grow
When o’er thy face[,] my love, my loved lips moved,
O Sorrow, sorrow, sorrow unbeloved.

Perhchance[,] I live, and certainly thou livest
And must I ever then be left alone
While thou new joy to unseen people givest[?]
O strange, O strange if thou so hard art grown
That thou mayst sit apart and hear my moan[:]
Once was thine heart not all so hardly moved[.]
O Sorrow, sorrow, sorrow unbeloved--
Sweet solace, lovely sorrow well-beloved.

AWS, I

[p. 534]

Song for Orpheus
O LOVE, love, love, folk told me thou were dead
And O my folly! I believed their tale,
And I have gone about with hanging head
And found no place in hill, or wood, or vale
Lonely enough that thee I might bewail;
All dead things heard my breath and gazed and moved
And cried, O sorrow, sorrow unbeloved!

The wood laid hand upon me when I screamed,
The grass clung round about my heavy feet,
The cruel sun upon my hot head streamed,
The heavy circling air my face did meet,

In measured cadence did the world’s pulse beat
About my ears and wheresoe’er I moved
Cried sorrow, sorrow, sorrow unbeloved.

I knew not what I said, for “dead” I cried
And when shall I forget and all things cease?
Ah fool! for rather nothing at that tide
Did I remember and no dream brought ease.
No dream of all the kisses and the peace
Yea, I was dead, though on the earth I moved
O sorrow, sorrow, sorrow unbeloved.

[p. 535] But now perchance, perchance, O Love, I live,
For all around me in the world dead now;
All unregarded [now] and meet to give
Pleasure or pain from out its painted show,
And clearer now the dreams of thee do grow
When o’er thy face, my love, my loved lips moved:
O sorrow, sorrow, sorrow unbeloved.

Perhchance I live, and certainly thou livest
And must I ever then be left alone
While thou new joy to unseen people givest?
O strange, O strange if thou so hard art grown
That thou mayst sit apart and hear my moan:
Once was thine heart not all so hardly moved.
O sorrow, sorrow, sorrow unbeloved:
Sweet solace, lovely sorrow well-beloved.

C-10. Song for Orpheus: “O hollow image of the very death”

Published AWS, I, 535-36. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,28B, f. 49.

B. L. 45,298B [f. 49]

O hollow image of the very death!
Despite of what the dull void threateneth
Despite the dull curse that thy silence saith
     My feet are on the way to meet my love.

O eyeless thing! the night is dark about[,]
The hounds of hard-lipped fear are loosed and out[,]
Low hangs the sky above the dull earth’s doubt.
     I tremble too, but hope my heart doth move.

I know thee! when the clover-field did pine,
They set thee here[,] cold thing[,] to be a sign.
Beneath thee lay all life that once was mine.
     O tired feet, long is the way to meet my love.

They lied. Tomb of my love, and made thee lie.
Harken, hearken strings, clear voice her sweet name cry,
"Come Eurydice"--and no reply
     Unto the heart of hope my heart to move.

Nay, nay, thou art not God’s abiding place,
And with none else but God now dwells that face
That gave me once clear nights and shadowy days.
     Be patient, feet, scarce time to meet my love.

[f. 49v] And yet strangely, O thou lie, thou holdest me!
And with strained eyes I stare as though to see
Through thy dull void, the lips once laid on me.
     Speak! midst the silence, love, my heart to move.

AWS

[p. 535]

Song for Orpheus
O hollow image of the very death!
Despite of what the dull void threateneth
Despite the dull curse that thy silence saith
My feet are on the way to meet my love!

O eyeless thing! the night is dark about,
The hounds of hard-lipped fear are loosed and out,
Low hangs the sky above the dull earth’s doubt.
I tremble too, but hope my heart doth move.

I know thee! when the clover flowers did pine,
They set thee here, cold thing to be a sign;
Beneath thee lay all life that once was mine:
O tired feet, long is the way to meet my love.

They lied, tomb of my love, and made thee lie.
Harken, harp-strings’ clear voice her sweet name cry,
O me Eurydice: and no reply
Unto the heart of hope my heart to move.

[p. 536]
Nay, nay, thou art not God’s abiding place,
And with none else but God now dwells that face
That gave me once clear nights and shadowy days.

Be patient, feet, scarce time to meet my love.

And yet strangely, O thou lie, thou holdest me,
And with strained eyes I stare as though to see
Through thy dull void the lips once laid on me
Speak midst the silence, love, my heart to move.

C-11. Song for Cupid and Psyche (two voices, Haec and Ille) ( Haec: O love, in songs thou lovest me,)

Published AWS, I, 537-38.

[p. 537]

Song for Cupid and Psyche

HAEC

O love, in songs thou lovest me,
For love of me brave knight do flee
Before the peril of thy spear;
Why doest thou leave me sighing here?

ILLE

The last time that I saw thee, love,
Across the throne-room didst thou move
Following the footsteps of the Queen,
In dainty clinging gown of green
Girt up above your gold-shod feet:
Alas so quick you vanished, sweet,
I scarce had time to cry, before
The King had called me from the door.

And where then shall I seek thou [thee] now?
Sitting with crown upon thy brow;
Beside some mighty conquering King,
Or, with Diana wandering
Through many an untrodden glade,
Or naked by a river laid?

Where never any man has been,
By Naiads is thy body seen,
Or in some garden of a town,
[p. 537] Where the bewildered thrushes brown
Sing doubtfully between the walls
And drowsily the fountain falls,
There, crowned with flowers sittest thou,
Blushing with love from chin to brow,
Whilst thy fair lover sings a song
Of joy and passion, death and wrong.

Alas wherever thou mayst be
A long way off thou art from me;
Unknown, unmeasured is the way
That leads to thee, O Love, to-day.

HAEC

Alas! I would I saw thee, sweet,
Here am I helpless in the street,
Weeping for what has past away;
And now to-morrow will they say
When by some tree they find me dead,
'Behold now, if her lips were red
And if she were in seemly weed
A lovely things she were indeed.'

ILLE

O who art thou that standest there,
In rent gown but so passing fair,
Unshod, but with such lovely feet,
O art thou not my only sweet?

HAEC

Alas I am a wretch to-day,
Not her who in thine arms once lay,
For ill dawn followed that sweet night
And I was shamed in all men's sight;
Yet in thine arms now let me lie
Since now is come the time to die.

ILLE

Lie there and weep, O Love, awhile,
But soon lift up thy head and smile
Nor weep when mine own eyes are dry,
For neither is it time to die.

HAEC

Then canst thou find some lonely isle
Where we may live a little while
Where I may soon forget my wrong
And all these evil folk and strong?

ILLE

Yes such a place indeed there is
Where we may live long time in bliss;
Thitherward when the sun gets low
Adown the river will we go
Until we come unto the sea
That shall be kind to thee and me,
Until unto a land we come
That is indeed my very home
Where dwells my father the great King
Having no need of anything
But thee and me that we may sit
Before his face and gladden it.

C-12. “The Wanderers,” first version. (Oho! Oho! Whence come ye, Sirs, /Drifted to usward in such guise,)

Published CW, XXIV, 87-170. Autograph early version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,305, ff. 9-73. Later version autograph is in B. L. Add. Ms. 37,499, f. 2v-118. See also List of Earthly Paradise drafts.

C-13. “The Story of Aristomenes” (Nigh twenty years had the Messenian folk / Striven to free them from the Spartan yoke)

A portion, “The First Foray of Aristomenes,” was published in the Athenaeum, May 13th, 1876. Published CW, XXIV, 171-238. B. L. Add. Ms. 45,308, ff. 58-79 first draft, begun on June 25th, 1870; ff. 80-154 typed version with very few corrections. A partial draft is in the Humanities Research Center, University of Texas (Ms. File, [Morris, W.], Works B). An unused Earthly Paradise tale. See alsoThe Story of Aristomenes and the checklist for Earthly Paradise drafts.

C-14. “The Story of Orpheus and Eurydice” ( Down in the south Laconian country-side / About mount Tenarus, a wood spreads wide )

Published in CW, XXIV, 239-80. An early autograph draft is in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,308, ff. 1- 11; ff. 12-55 contains a good draft with a few corrections. Copyist’s versions of several songs appear in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298b, ff. 31-49. See also The Story of Orpheus and Eurydice.

C-15. “Meeting in Winter” ( Winter in the world it is / Round about the unhoped
kiss )

A song from Orpheus, included in The Book of Verse, 1870, 28. It was published in The English Illustrated Magazine, March, 1884, 339-40 and in CW, IX, Poems by the Way, 93, as the first poem. HM 6427, f. 57 is a copy of the English Illustrated Magazine version, prepared for the printer of Poems By the Way, with no verbal changes marked.

See also songs from Orpheus, B3-7 and C9-10.

Images of the English Illustrated Magazine version

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 28]

Meeting in Winter

Winter in the world it is
Round about the unhoped kiss
Whose shadow I have long moaned oer
Round about the longing sore,
That the touch of thee shall turn
Into joy too deep to burn.

Round thine eyes and round thy mouth
Passeth no murmur of the south
When my lips a little while
Leave thy quivering tender smile,
As we twain, hand touching hand,
Once again together stand.

Sweet is that as all is sweet,
For the white drift shalt thou meet
Kind and cold-cheeked, and mine own,
Wrapped about with deep-furred gown
In the broad-wheeled chariot;

Then the north shall spare us not,
The wide-reaching waste of snow
Wilder, lonelier yet shall grow
As the reddened sun falls down.

[p. 29]
But the warders of the town,
When they flash the torches out
Oe’r the snow amid their doubt,
And their eyes at last behold
Thy red-litten hair of gold,
Shall they open, or in fear
Cry; Alas, what cometh here?
Whence hath come this heavenly one,
To tell of all the world undone?

They shall open and we shall see
The long street litten scantily
By the stream of light before
The guest-halls half open door,
And our horses bells shall cease
As we gain the place of peace:
Thou shalt tremble, as at last
The worn threshold is o’erpast,
And the fire-light blindeth thee;
Trembling shalt thou cling to me
As the sleepy merchants stare
At thy cold hands, slim and fair,

Thy soft eyes and happy lips
Worth all lading of all ships

[p. 30]
O my love, how oversweet
That first kissing of thy feet,
When the fire is sunk alow,
And the hall made empty now
Groweth solmn dim and vast!

O my love, the night shall last
Longer than men tell thereof
Laden with our lonely love!

C-16. “The Wooing of Swanhild” (A king of the Goths there was as tells my tale / Men called Hermenaric, a man of might)

Published CW, vol. 24, 281-315. B. L. Add. Ms. 45,308, ff. 156-78, rough draft and better copy; Morris autograph. Another unpublished Earthly Paradise tale, which May Morris believed contemporaneous with the later Earthly Paradise stories (CW, vol 9, 149). See also The Wooing of Swanhild and the checklist of Earthly Paradise drafts.

C-17. A Garden By the Sea” ( I know a little garden-close / Set thick with lily and red rose, )

Copied by Georgiana Burne-Jones in HM 6427, ff. 75-76; her handwriting is characterized by the older form of the double s, in pencil on white ruled paper.

Originally included in The Life and Death of Jason, Bk. 4, CW, II, 69-70, with change in the 3rd verse. Also included separately in the Book of Verse, 1870, 31-32, and published in Poems By the Way (CW, IX, 149).

HM 6427 [f. 75]

          A Garden by the Sea.
I know a little garden-close,
Set thick with lily and red rose,
Where I would wander if I might
From dewy morn to dewy night
And have one with me wandering

And though within it no birds sing,
And though no pillared house is there,
And though the apple-boughs are bare
Of fruit and blossom, would to God
Her feet upon the green grass trod
And I beheld them as before

There comes a murmur from the shore,
And in the close two fair streams are,
Drawn from the purple hills afar.
Drawn down unto the restless sea:
Dark hills whose heath-bloom feeds no bee,
Dark shore no ship has ever seen,
Tormented by the billows green
Whose murmur comes unceasingly
Unto the place for which I cry.

For which I cry both day and night,
For which I let slip all delight,
Whereby I grow both deaf and blind,
[f. 76]
Careless to win, unskilled to find,
And quick to lose what all men seek.

Yet tottering as I am and weak,
Still have I left a little breath
To seek within the jaws of death
An entrance to that happy place.
To seek the unforgotten face,
Once seen once kissed, once reft from me
Anigh the murmuring of the sea.

[in Charles Fairfax Murray's handwriting] Copied by Lady Burne Jones.

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 31]

    A Garden by the Sea

I know a little garden close,
Set thick with lily and red rose
Where I would wander if I might
From dewy morn to dewy night
And have one with me wandering

And though within it no birds sing,
And though no pillared house is there
And though the apple-boughs are bare
Of fruit and blossom, would to God
Her feet upon the green grass trod
And I beheld them as before.

There comes a murmur from the shore,
And in the close two fair streams are,
Drawn from the purple hills afar
Drawn down unto the restless sea:
Dark hills whose heath-boom feeds no bee,
Dark shore no ship has ever seen,
Tormented by the billows green
Whose murmur comes unceasingly
Unto the place for which I cry

For which I cry both day and night,
[p. 32]
For which I let slip all delight,
Whereby I grow both deaf and blind,
Careless to win, unskilled to find,
And quick to lose what all men seek.

Yet tottering as I am and weak
Still have I left a little breath
To seek within the jaws of death
An entrance to that happy place,
To seek the unforgotten face,
Once seen once kissed, once reft from me
Anigh the murmuring of the sea.

C-18. “In Arthur’s House” ( In Arthur’s house whilome was I / When happily the time went by)

Published CW, XXIV, 316-28. B. L. Add, Ms. 45,308, ff. 180-94, autograph drafts. Folio 180 is a single page fragment; ff. 181-86 is another draft; ff. 187-94 a third.
Unfinished, written about 1865. Published in CW, XXIV, 316-28.

See Karl Litzenberg, “Tyrfing Into Excalibur? A Note on William Morris’ Unfinished Poem, ‘In Arthur’s House’,” Scandinavian Studies, 15 (1938-1939): 81-83. May Morris feels this may have been a fragment of one of the projected Earthly Paradise stories (CW, XXIV, xxxi).

For a critical discussion, see Karl Anderson, "Scandinavian Elements in the Works of William Morris," discussion of "In Arthur's House,"142-43 [follows the discussion of "The Wooing of Swanhild"]

In Arthur’s House [ff. 180-94]

[f. 180] In Arthur’s house whilome was I
When merrily the time went by
In midmost glory of his days.
He held his court then in a place
Whereof ye shall not find the name
In any story of his fame[.]
Caerliel good sooth men called it not[,]
Nor London Town, nor Camelot[;]
Yet therein was there bliss enow.
–Ah, far off was the overthrow
Of all that Britain praised and loved;
And, though among us lightly moved
A love that could but lead to death[,]
Smooth-skinned he seemed, of rosy breath,
That could but wound a lady’s lip,
No ruin of goodly fellowship.
No shame and death of all things good.

     Forgive the old carle’s babbling mood;
As here I sit grey[-]haired and old,
My life gone as a story told[,]
Ye bid me tell a story too[;]
And then the evil days and few,
That yet were overlong for me
Rise up so clear I may not see
The pictures of my minstrel lore[.]
Well hearken: in those days of yore
From prime of morn the court did ride

[f. 181] [omitted opening corresponds to ff. 188-89
As one who thinks no harm he smiled,
And cried out: “Well met in the wild,
Fair King and Queen; and ye withal
Sweet dames and damsels! Well befal
This day, whereon I see thee nigh,
O Lancelot, before I die!
And surely shall my heart rejoice
Sir Gawain, when I hear thy voice!”

Then Lancelot laughed: “Thou knowest us then
Full well among a many men?”

“As quoth the lion to the mouse,”
The man said, “in King Arthur’s House
Men are not names of men alone,
But coffers rather of deeds done.”

The Queen smiled blithe at heart, and spake:
“Hast thou done deeds for ladies’ sake?”

“Nay dame,” he said, “I am but young;
A little have I lived and sung
And seen thy face this happy noon.”

The King said: “May we hearken soon
Some merry tale of thee? for I
Am skilled to know men low and high
And deem thee neither churl nor fool.”

Said he, “My fathers went to school
Where folk are taught a many things,
But not by bliss: men called them kings
In days when kings were near to seek;
But as a long thread waxeth weak,
So is it with our house; and now
I wend me home from oaken bough
Unto a stead where roof and wall
Shall not have over far to fall
When their last day comes.”
          As he spake
He reddened: “Nathless for their sake,
[f. 181v] Whom the world loved once, mock not me
O King, if thence I bring to thee
A morsel and a draught of wine,
Though nothing King-like here thou dine.”

Of some kind word King Arthur thought,
But ere he spake the woodman caught
His forest-nag and leapt thereon,
And through the tangled brake was gone.
Then leapt the King down, glad at heart,
Thinking, This day shall not depart
Without some voice from days that were;
And lightly leapt down Guenevere,
And man and maid lay presently
Neath the bee-laden branches high,
And sweet the scent of trodden grass
Amid the blossoms’ perfume was.

There long they lay, and little spake,
[f. 181v] As folk right loth the calm to break;
Till lo upon the forest-breeze
A noise of folk, and from the trees
They came: the first-seen forester,
A grizzled carle in such-like gear,
And then two maidens poorly clad
Though each a silver chaplet had
And round her neck a golden chain:
And last two varlets led a wain
Drawn by white oxen well bedight
With oaken boughs and lilies white;
Therein there lay a cask of wine
And baskets piled with bread full fine,
And flesh of hart and roe and hare;
And in the midst upon a chair
Done over with a cloth of gold
There sat a man exceeding old
[f. 182] With long white locks: and clad was he
No other than his company
Save that a golden crown he bore
Full fairly fashioned as of yore,
And with a sword was girt about
Such as few folk will see I doubt.
Right great it was: the scabbard thin
Was fashioned of a serpent’s skin,
In every scale a stone of worth:
Of tooth of sea-lion of the north
The cross was, and the blood-boot stone
That heals the hurt of the blade hath done
Hung down therefrom in silken purse:
The ruddy kin of Niblung’s curse
O’er tresses of a sea-wife’s hair
Was wrapped about the handle fair;
And last a marvellous sapphire stone
Amidst of the great pommel shone,
A blue flame in the forest green.
And Arthur deemed he ne’er had seen
So fair a sword: nay not when he
The wonder of the land-locked sea
Drew from the stone that Christmas-tide.

Now forth the forest youth did ride,
Leapt down beside the King, and spake:
[“]King Arthur for thy greatness[’] sake
My grandsire comes to look on thee;
My father standeth here by me;
These maidens are my sisters twain;
My brethren draw out from the wain
Somewhat thy woodland cheer to mend.”

Thereat his sire the knee did bend
[f. 182v] Before the King, who o’er the brown
Rough sleeve of the man’s homespun gown
Beheld a goodly golden ring:
And fell to greater marvelling
When he beheld how fine and fair
The woodman’s kneeling sisters were.
And all folk thereby deemed in sooth
That (save indeed the first seen youth)
These folk were nobler e’en than those
Of Arthur’s wonder of a house.

But now the elder drew anigh,
By half a head was he more high
Than Arthur or than Lancelot,
Nor had eld bent him: he kneeled not
Before the King, but smiling took
His hands in hands that nowise shook;
And the King joyed as he who sees
One of his fathers’ images
Stand glad before him in a dream.
Then down beside the bubbling stream
They sat together, and the King
Was loth to fall a questioning;
So first the elder spake and said:

“It joys me of thy goodlihead
O great king of our land; and though
Our blood within thee doth not flow,
And I, who was a king of yore
May scarcely kneel thy feet before,
Yet do I deem thy right the best
Of all the kings who rule the West.
I love thy name and fame: behold,
King Arthur, I am grown so old
In guilelessness, the Gods have sent,
Be I content or uncontent,

That I may see as through a haze
The lives and deeds of days to come:
I laugh for some, I weep for some –
I neither laugh nor weep, for thee,
But trembling through the clouds I see
Thy life and glory to the end;
And how the sweet and bitter blend
[f. 183] Within the cup that thou must drink.
Good is it that thou shalt not shrink
From either: that the afterdays
Shall still win glory from thy praise
And scarce believe thee laid asleep
When o’er thy deeds the days lie deep.”

He ceased but his old lips moved still,
As though they would the tale fulfil
His heart kept secret: Arthur’s eyes
Gleamed with the pride that needs would rise
Up from his heart, and low he said:
“I know the living by the dead
I know the future by the past.”
Wise eyes and kind the elder cast
Upon him; while a nameless fear
Smote to the heart of Guenevere,
And, fainting there, was turned to love:
And thence a nameless pain did move
The noble heart of Lancelot[,]
The store of longings unforgot.
–And west a little moved the sun
And noon began, and noon was done.

But as the elder’s grey eyes turned
On Guenevere’s, her sweet face burned
With a sweet shame; as though she knew
He read her story through and through.
Kindly he looked on her and said:
“O Queen, the chief of goodlihead,
Be blithe and glad this day at least
When in my fathers’ house ye feast:
For surely in their ancient hall
Ye sit now: look, there went the wall
Where yon turf ridge runs west-away:
Time was I heard my grand-dame say
She saw this stream run bubbling down
The hall-floor shut in trench of stone;
[f. 183v] Therein she washed her father’s cup
That last ever e’er the fire went up
O’er ridge and rafter she passed
Betwixt the foemen’s spears the last
Of all the women, wrapping round
This sword the gift of Odin’s ground.”

He shook the weapon o’er his knee,
Thereon gazed Arthur eagerly.
“Draw it, my lord,” quoth Guenevere,
“Of such things have we little fear
In Arthur’s house.” And Lancelot rose
To look upon the treasure close.
But grimly smiled the ancient man:
“E’en as the sun arising wan
In the black sky when Heimdall’s horn
Screams out and the last day is born,
This blade to eyes of men shall be
On that dread day I shall not see–”
Fierce was his old face for a while:
But once again he ‘gan to smile
And took the Queen’s slim lily hand
And set it on the deadly brand
Then laughed and said: “Hold this, O Queen,
Thine hand is where God’s hands have been,
For this is Tyrfing: who knows when
His blade was forged? Belike ere men
Had dwelling on the middle-earth.
At least a man’s life is it worth
To draw it out once: so behold
These peace-strings wrought of pearl and gold
The scabbard to the cross that bind
Lest a rash hand and heart made blind
Should draw it forth unwittingly.”

Blithe laughed King Arthur: “Sir,” said he,
“We well may deem in days by gone
[f. 184] This sword, the blade of such an one
As thou hast been, would seldom slide
Back to its sheath unsatisfied.
Lo now how fair a feast thy kin
Have dight for us and might we win
Some tale of thee in Tyrfing’s praise,
Some deed he wrought in greener days,
This were a blithesome hour indeed.”

“Sir,” said the elder, “little need
To pray me hereof. Please ye dine
And drink a cup of woodman’s wine,
Surely meantime some tale shall stir
Within my heart of days that were.”

Then to their meat they gat and there
Feasted amid the woodland fair
The fairest folk of all the land.
Ah me when first the Queen’s fair hand
Drew near the kneeling forest youth
New-wrought the whole world seemed in sooth
And nothing left therein of ill.
So at the last the Queen did fill
A cup of wine, and drank and said:
“In memory of thy fathers dead
I drink, fair lord, drink now with me
And then bethink thee presently
Of deeds that once won prize and praise
The glory of thy fathers’ days.”

He drank and laughed and said, “Nay, nay,
Keep we the peace-strings whole today.
This draught from where thy lips have been
Within mine old heart maketh green
The memory of a love full true,
The first recorded deed that drew
My fathers’ house from dark to light.

If thus my grandame told aright,
[f. 184] A rougher place our land was then,
Quoth she, than with us living men,
And other trees were in the wood
And folk of somewhat other blood
Than ours: then were the small-eyed bears
More plenty in the woodland lairs
Than badgers now: no holiday
It was to chase the wolves away,
Yea there were folk who had to tell
Of lyngworms lying on the fell,
And fearful things by lake and fen,
And manlike shapes that were not men.
Then fay-folk roamed the woods at noon,
And on the grave-mound in the moon
Faint gleamed the flickering treasure-flame.
Days of the world that won no fame,
Yet now, quoth she, folk looking back
Across the tumult and the wrack
And swelling up of windy lies
And dull fool-fashioned cruelties,
Deem that in those days Gods abode
On earth and shared ill times and good
And right and wrong with that same folk
Their hands had fashioned for the yoke.
Quoth she, of such nought tells my tale,
Yet saith that such as should prevail
In those days o’er the fears of earth
Must needs have been some deal of worth,
And saith that had ye seen a kin
Who dwelt these very woods within
Them at the least ye would have told
For cousins of the Gods of old.
Amongst all these it tells of one,
The goodman’s last-begotten son,
Some twenty summers old: as fair
As any flower that blossomed there
[185] In sun and rain, and strong therewith
And lissome as a willow with.
Now through these woods amidst of June
This youngling went until at noon
From out the thicket his fair face
Peered forth upon this very place;
For he had been a-hunting nigh
And wearied thought a while to lie
Beside the freshness of a stream.
But lo as in a morning dream
The place was changed, for there was dight
A fair pavilion blue and white
E’en where we play, and all around
Was talk of men and diverse sound,
Tinkling of bit and neigh of steed,
Clashing of arms and iron weed.
For round about the painted tent
Armed folk a many came or went,
Or on the fresh grass lay about.
Surely our youth at first had doubt
If ‘twere not better to be gone
Than meet these stranger folk alone–
But wot ye well such things as these
Were new to him born mid the trees
And wild things: and he thought, Maybe
The household of the Gods I see:
Who for as many tales as I
Have heard of them, I ne’er saw nigh.
If they be men, I wotted not
That such fair raiment men had got;
They will be glad to show them then.

For one thing taught these woodland men
Whatever wisdom they let fall
Men since have won Fear nought at all.

[185v] So from the holly brake he strode
Shouldering the while his hunter’s load,
A new slain roe; but there arose
To meet him half a score of those
Whom in fair words he greeted well.

Now was he clad in a sheep’s fell
And at his back his quiver hung,
His woodknife on his thigh: unstrung
His bow he held in a staff’s stead.
An oaken wreath was round his head
From whence his crispy locks of brown
Well nigh unto his belt hung down,
And howso frank his eyes might be
A half-frown smoothly might you see
As these men handled sword or spear
And cried out, “Hold, what dost thou here?”
“Ah,” said he, “then no Gods ye are.
Fear not, I shall not make you war.”
Therewith his hunting-knife he drew
And the long blade before them threw.
Then loud they laughed; one sheathed his sword:
“Thanks, army-leader, for that word!
We are not Gods e’en as thou say’st,
Nor thou a devil of the waste
But e’en a devil’s friend belike.”
Something [of] hate hereat did strike
Unto the woodman’s unused heart,
Yet he spake softly for his part:
“What men are ye and where dwell ye?
What is the wondrous house I see?”
“In the fair southland is our home
Yet from the north as now we come,”
Said one: then with a mocking smile,
“And in our house there dwells awhile
A very Goddess of the north.
But lo you, take a thing of worth
[186] For that thy quarry, and begone.”

But as he spake another one
Spake softly in his ear: and so
The word from this to that did go,
With laughing that seemed nowise good
Unto the dweller of the wood,
Who saying nought moved toward the tent.
But they came round him as he went
And said: “Nay, pagan, stay thy feet;
Thou art not one our dame to greet

3rd draft, B. L. Add. MS. 45,308, [ff. 187-194]

In Arthur’s House

In Arthur’s house whilome was I
When happily the time went by
In midmost glory of his days.
He held his court then in a place
Whereof ye shall not find the name
In any story of his fame:
Caerliel good sooth men called it not,
Nor London Town, nor Camelot;
Yet therein was there bliss enow.
–Ah, far off was the overthrow
Of all that Britain praised and loved;
And, though among us lightly moved
A love that could but lead to death,
Smooth-skinned he seemed, of rosy breath,
That could but wound a lady’s lip,
No ruin of goodly fellowship[.]
No shame and death of all things good.
     Forgive the old carle’s babbling mood;
As here I sit grey-haired and old,
My life gone as a story told[.]
Ye bid me tell a story too;
And then the evil days and few,
That yet were overlong for me
Rise up so clear I may not see
The pictures of my minstrel lore.

Well hearken! in those days of yore
From prime of morn the court did ride
[f. 188] Amidmost of the summertide
To search the dwellings of the deer
Until the heat of noon was near;
Then slackening speed awhile they went
Adown a ragged thorn-bushed bent
At whose feet grew a tangled wood
Of oak and holly nowise good:
But therethrough with some pain indeed
And rending of the ladies[’] weed
They won at last, and after found
A space of green-sward grown around
By oak and holly set full close;
And in the midst of it arose
Two goodly sycamores that made
A wide and little sun-pierced shade
About their high boles straight and green:
A fount was newborn there-between,
And running on as clear as glass,
[F]lowed winding on amid the grass
Until the thick wood swallowed it.
     A place for happy folk to sit
While the hot day grew hotter still
Till eve began to work his will.
–So might those happy people think
Who grudged to see the red sun sink
And end another day of bliss
Although no joy of bliss should miss–
They laughed for joy as they drew nigh
The shade and fount: but lo, thereby
A man beside the fountain laid
The while his horse 'twixt sun and shade
Cropped the sweet grass: but little care
Had these of guile or giant[’]s lair,
And scarce a foot before the Queen
[f. 189] Rode Gawain o[’]er the daisied green
To see what man his pleasure took;
Who rose up in meanwhile and shook
His tangled hair aback, as one
Who e[’]en but now his sleep hath done.
Rough-head, and yellow-haired was he
Great-eyed[,] as folk have told to me,
And big and stout enow of limb:
As one who thinks no harm he smiled,
And cried out: “Well met in the wild,
Fair King and Queen; and ye withal
Sweet dames and damsels! Well befal
This day, whereon I see thee nigh,
O Lancelot, before I die!
And surely shall my heart rejoice
Sir Gawain, when I hear thy voice!”

Then Lancelot laughed: “Thou knowest us then
Full well among a many men?”

“As quoth the lion to the mouse,”
The man said, “in King Arthur’s House
Men are not names of men alone,
But coffers rather of deeds done.”

The Queen smiled blithe at heart, and spake;
“Hast thou done deeds for ladies’ sake?”

“Nay dame,” he said, [“]I am but young;
A little have I lived and sung
And seen thy face this happy noon.”

The King said: “May we hearken soon
Some merry tale of thee? for I
[f. 190] Am skilled to know men low and high
And deem thee neither churl nor fool.”

Said he, “My fathers went to school
Where folk are taught a many things,
But not by bliss: men called them kings
In days when kings were near to seek;
But as a long thread waxeth weak,
So is it with our house; and now
I wend me home from oaken bough
Unto a stead where roof and wall
Shall not have over far to fall
When their last day comes.”
As he spake
He reddened: “Nathless for their sake,
Whom the world loved once, mock not me
O King, if thence I bring to thee
A morsel and a draught of wine,
Though nothing King-like here thou dine.”

Of some kind word King Arthur thought,
But ere he spake the woodman caught
His forest-nag and leapt thereon,
And through the tangled brake was gone.
Then leapt the King down, glad at heart,
Thinking, This day shall not depart
Without some voice from days that were;
And lightly leapt down Guenevere,
And man and maid lay presently
Neath the bee-laden branches high,
And sweet the scent of trodden grass
Amid the blossoms’ perfume was.

There long they lay, and little spake,
As folk right loth the calm to break;
[f. 191] Till lo upon the forest-breeze
A noise of folk, and from the trees
They came: the first-seen forester,
A grizzled carle in such-like gear;
And then two maidens poorly clad
Though each a silver chaplet had
And round her neck a golden chain:
And last two varlets led a wain
Drawn by white oxen well bedight
With oaken boughs and lilies white;
Therein there lay a cask of wine
And baskets piled with bread full fine,
And flesh of hart and roe and hare;
And in the midst upon a chair
Done over with a cloth of gold
There sat a man exceeding old
With long white locks: and clad was he
No other than his company
Save that a golden crown he bore
Full fairly fashioned as of yore;
And with a sword was girt about
Such as few folk shall see I doubt.
Right great it was: the scabbard thin
Was fashioned of a serpent’s skin,
In every scale a stone of worth:
Of tooth of sea-lion of the north
The cross was, and the blood-boot stone
That heals the hurt of the blade hath done
Hung down therefrom in silken purse:
The ruddy kin of Niblung’s curse
O[’]er tresses of a sea-wife’s hair
Was wrapped about the handle fair;
And last a marvellous sapphire stone
Amidst of the great pommel shone,
A blue flame in the forest green.
[f. 192] And Arthur deemed he ne[’]er had seen
So fair a sword: nay not when he
The wonder of the land-locked sea
Drew from the stone that Christmas-tide.

Now forth the forest youth did ride,
Leapt down beside the King, and spake:
[“]King Arthur for thy greatness sake
My grandsire comes to look on thee;
My father standeth here by me;
These maidens are my sisters twain;
My brethren draw out from the wain
Somewhat thy woodland cheer to mend.”

Thereat his sire the knee did bend
Before the King, who o[’]er the brown
Rough sleeve of the man’s homespun gown
Beheld a goodly golden ring:
And fell to greater marvelling
When he beheld how fine and fair
The woodman’s kneeling sisters were.
And all folk thereby deemed in sooth
That[,] (save e[']en the first seen youth)
These folk were nobler e’en than those
Of Arthur’s wonder of a house.

But now the elder drew anigh,
By half a head was he more high
Than Arthur or than Lancelot,
Nor had eld bent him: he kneeled not
Before the King, but smiling took
His hands in hands that nowise shook;
And the King joyed as he who sees
One of his fathers’ images
Stand glad before him in a dream.
[f. 193] Then down beside the bubbling stream
They sat together, and the King
Was loth to fall a questioning;
So first the elder spake and said;

“It joys me of thy goodlihead
O great King of our land; and though
Our blood within thee doth not flow,
And I, who was a king of yore
May scarcely kneel thy feet before,
Yet do I deem thy right the best
Of all the kings who rule the West.
I love thy name and fame: behold,
King Arthur, I am grown so old
In guilelessness, the Gods have sent,
Be I content or uncontent,

This gift unto my latter days
That I may see as through a haze
The lives and deeds of days to come:
I laugh for some, I weep for some[–]
I neither laugh nor weep, for thee,
But trembling through the clouds I see
Thy life and glory to the end;
And how the sweet and bitter blend
Within the cup that thou must drink:
Good is it that thou shalt not shrink
From either: that the afterdays
Shall still win glory from thy praise
And scarce believe thee laid asleep
When o’er thy deeds the days lie deep.”

He ceased but his old lips moved still,
As though they would the tale fulfill
His heart kept secret: Arthur’s eyes
[f. 194] Gleamed with the pride that needs would rise
Up from his heart, and low he said:
“I know the living by the dead
I know the future by the past.”
Wise eyes and kind the elder cast
Upon him; while a nameless fear
Smote to the heart of Guenevere,
And, fainting there, was turned to love:
And thence a nameless pain did move
The noble heart of Lancelot[,]
The store of longings unforgot.
–And west a little moved the sun
And noon began, and noon was done. But as the elder’s grey eyes turned
On Guenevere’s, her sweet face burned
With a sweet shame; as though she knew
He read her story through and through.
Kindly he looked on her and said:

“O Queen, the chief of goodlihead,
Be blithe and glad this day at least
When in my fathers’ house ye feast:
For surely in their ancient hall
Ye sit now: look, there went the wall
Where yon turf ridge runs west-away:
Time was I heard my grand-dame say
She saw this stream run bubbling down
The hall-floor shut in trench of stone[.]
[breaks off, no f. 195]

C-19. [Anthony] ( On board ship off the coast of Norway . . . . SHIPMASTER: Well, master merchant, you slept late this morn )

Published CW, 24, 329-42. Autograph in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,308, ff. 197-201 (seems rough draft).

[f. 197]

On board ship off the coast of Norway: Anthony, Shipmaster & Sailors.

SHIPMASTER--

Well[,] master merchant, you slept late this morn
Despite our drawing nigh our journey’s end –
Well, you did well perchance being among friends[,]
For one day at the least a steady wind,
A cloudless sky and all things going well.

ANTHONY
Why[,] but to hear you things go not so well
Since now I go ashore – among unfriends
You seem to say--Yet was your word before
That this lord Rolf the Red was a good lord
To those who dealt in peaceful wise with him;
And in no warlike wise I come, meseems.

SHIPMASTER--
There now again I note you – looking round
As though to find a man or two to smite –
That’s still your way, and sooth it seems to me
The nigher you come to land the hotter grows
Your blood: I warn you this good lord withal
His sword-blade nowise grows unto its sheath
And he is one of many, lord or thrall
Tis much the same [--] life is cheap enow
And one man’s blow is like another’s still--
A second warning[,] try your mocks on them[,]
They will not laugh belike or say a word
Though the hall roars around them: you shall think
Them dull and go on piling jeer and jeer[;]
But two hours thence[,] two hours or days or months--
As time serves[,] you shall find they understood--
Warning the third[:] some things here shall be bought[–]
Most things – a sword, a house, a horse, a wife:
You may want all these things except the last[,]
And certes you are rich enough to deal.
– Take this by the way that they may well deal thus[,]
Sell you a sword and thrust you through therewith--
Sell you a house and burn it o[']’er your head[,]
Sell you a horse and steal it the next morn[,]
Sell you a wife and bid her loose her tongue
Until you make a red mark on her face –
And then the district-court--and her tall kin
And point and edge, or clink of the King’s sweet face
Outside your purse – well all that by the way[,]
But this I mean by the third--all women here–
Yea how you start[–]are marked and known & named
[D]aughter of this Good-man[,] sister of that
Nor will gold buy them save in open wise[,]
As wives I mean – though you indeed may deal
[f. 197v] In wares that please them, if to help your face[,]
Your song[,] your story of old time[,] your dance[,]
You therewithal could play well with the sword,
Or throw your hair back in the face of death
To show your cheeks no paler for the sight –
Eh[!] do I make too long a tale; you scowl[:]
Why don[’]t you ask me then to make an end[?] [ms. and]
Turn round & look[,] we’ve weathered the last ness[.]
Off half a point[,] you helmsman! there it is
The stead we were to bring you to – though why
You were so eager after this man’s fame
I know not. Does it like you well or ill--

ANTHONY
A place to be forgotten in[,] it seems
The hil-sides like a wall, the deep green sea
The pine-trees all above it – so there dwells
The man who tears his gold from out the fire--

S[HIP]M[ASTER]
Yea[,] fire full hot enow – lo there the hall
Big enough for a king, the water deep
Up to the garth-gate; there on the round hill
Thor[’]s temple[–]may Christ curse it--the shipstocks[,]
One[,] two[,] three cutters[,] one great merchant-ship
Just newly pitched – the long-ships neither there;
If I had not a sort of name of friend
With him and his, that would not like me well[;]
I would not care to meet him in the main--

ANTHONY
What then[,] the lord is gone away belike--

SH[IPMASTER]
Most like[,] but since the winter comes apace
Tis but a matter of ten days at most
Ere he comes back unless his friends[,] his Gods
Have got his soul at last.

A[NTHONY]
Nay[,] God forbid--

S[HIP]M[ASTER]
Why thou art eager[!] wouldst thou see him live?

ANTHONY
Nay by the saints--I would see him die.
Tell him my name first!

S[HIP]M[ASTER]
There it all comes out[.]
I doubted this, fair merchant[,] God to aid
Thou hadst a look of Jonah in the face
E[’]en from the first[;] well, full certainly
There gapes the whale for thee stranded ashore[,]
But a dark cavern of ill hap.

A[NTHONY]
Goodsooth[,]
Ill luck enow is still on my tongue’s end[,]
And in the corners of my eyes--what need
To say bewray me not[,] thou knowst not much –

SHIPMASTER
Why, [had] I said to Rolf thou wishedst him dead
He would laugh somewhat – drink nightlong with thee
And call thee to the ring of hazel wands
[f. 198] Wherein they fight next morn and then[–]

A[NTHONY]
                                                            What then[?]

S[HIP]M[ASTER]
Is thy neck iron[,] he could cut it through,
E’en so I think; is thy sword as swift
As July lightning--three swords seem aloft--
When his sword leaves the scabbard and he plays[,]
So say his own men, and our English folk
Have e[’]en such tales to tell of him at York
And Scarborough & Dunwich--

A[NTHONY]
                                                Come thy ways
Below deck[,] shipmate[,] somewhat more away
From these long[-]eared east countrymen, and then
You will soon learn the reasons from my mouth
Why the mere killing him or being killed
Will not mend all for me--green unburnt slopes
Under the soft sun[-]smooth green waveless sea[,]
Too kind a world thou art for such as I[,]
When shall I bid farewell and learn what place
For such a restless[,] helpless loveless man
Twixt lowest hell and highest heaven there is
Since earth is all at strife with all I am--

The Hall at Earlscrag.
Thora[,] Margaret[,] Bower Maidens.

T[HORA]
Well, maiden, such a tale as thou hast told
Two years agone I thought I could foresee
When first thine eyes gan look to woman’s years
And thou wouldst redden at a tale of love[.]
Trust me[,] I knew that when my lord had time
And thou wert riper[,] he would reach his hand
To take the fair fruit to him; day by day,
For a year past[,] I thought of sending thee
Unto my mother[’]s brother in the north
Or out to Iceland to my father’s kin:
But time passed, neither thee nor my lord Rolf [ms. past]
Seemed worth the pains[,] though neither him nor thee
Do I hate or could hate: nor for him methinks
We sit together in the hall nor know
Each of the other what is in our hearts
About us, and for thee the dull days here
Will drag from out me what had better lie
Quiet within my heart for thee – nay[,] nay[,]
I will not speak[,] I note thee ready now
To take my whole speech rash and lay it up
In that deep storehouse of thy mind-- Thorgerd,
Come hither, tell me how the fishing sped
Our folk came back from at the dawn--

She [MAIDEN]
But ill, Goodwife[,] they said they deemed the shoal
Had shifted and the sea was e[’]en too deep[.]

[f. 198v]

THORA
Thou sittest silent[,] Margaret, car[e]st not
For hate or love of mine?

M[ARGARET]
     Nay, if I could
Well would I love thee, if I needs must speak[–]
What say I[?] for I love thee well indeed
As slaves durst love: and thou art worthy love[.]

T[HORA]
A many loves twixt a few common words,
And no man by to take one of them all--
But hearken[,] as for thee[,] I think, I fear
Thy smooth soft speech, thy voice so seldom raised
That dealeth not with great words, thy great eyes
That fall asleep and dream of far off things
E’en midst thy speech – thou shalt be dangerous
In love belike unto thyself and all
Who come across thee[.]

M[ARGARET]
                                    Lady[,] fear me not[.]
I do thy will [–] thou hast been kind of me,
And for the rest day comes and day goes by
And leaves me with nought done and nought to hope
And nought to fear even when all is said
That I have said e[’]en now--
This have I shown today in letting thee [see]
The shame and trouble that above me hung.

T[HORA]
                                    As from a man[’]s
That came from out thy lips, and well I deem
That if thou hadst a brother he and I
Might be fair friends a while--Hearken, the horn
Sounds at the garth-gate[;] is my lord come back?

Enter a Servant[.]

[SERVANT]
Mistress[,] Wulfstan the English ship-master
Has anchored in the haven, and is here
Some 6 in company and prayeth thee
For harbourage for him & his awhile[.]

T[HORA]
We shall have tidings then[;] go bid them in[.]
Well now the day shall go nowise so ill[;]
We shall have merry talk, news of our earl
And his last dealings with the English king.
Five years ago he sat a gold[-]haired youth
At the great wedding[-]feast where Rolf was God
And I was goddess, and he kissed me then
The new wed wife of that same fostersire
Who bade me love him for the most of hope
Of all the men then waxing in the north[.]
He kissed me, and my heart felt soft to him
At first, I thought when sixteen years are gone
Shall I have such a son to win the world[?]
[f. 199] Then something chilled my heart as I beheld
My husband’s eager eye on him and me,
The youth he loved[,] the wife he had just won
And deemed a fair thing doubtless[.]
              Southland may,
Almost would he have moved thy solemn heart;
Baldur come back to life again he seemed[,]
A sun to light the dim hall[’]s glimmering dusk[–]
What[,] sighest thou then[?] – I am babbling on
Before thy wisdom – Ah here come the guest[s.]

Enter Wulfstan, the Shipmaster, Anthony and Shipmen.

Welcome[,] my masters[,] and thou Wulfstan[,] first,
Good hast thou done to ours across the sea
And once again somewhat we pay thee back[.]
Lord Rolf had been right glad to see thee here
And hearken to thy tidings[.]

W[ULFSTAN]
                                                None the worse
We think to fare at thy hands than at his:
Be merry[,] for two gifts I bring today[,]
A bale of English linen for thy beds
And a fair winter-guest to make thy board
The merriest in Norway--Greet him well
For he is worthy of it[,] a rich man
Of noble Southland kin and yet withal
A merchant of all merchants – and thou[,] friend[,]
Behold a woman noble as she seems[,]
Kind[,] wise and open[-]hand[ed], craving still [ms. openhanding]
For honour and for knowledge[:] greet her well--

T[HORA]
Nay Wulfstan, we shall get to verses soon[;]
Content thee[,] man, two Icelanders we have
To set the big words going--verily
I am right glad to see thee and thy friend[;]
The winter shall be merrier for his words
I doubt me not: [T]hou lookest round[,] fair Sir
As if thou wonderest whither thou art come:
Thou hast seen Southland kings and all their state
And deemest us of small account belike[,]
Yet are we merry at whiles.

A[NTHONY]
                                                Hail[,] most fair dame[!]
Kings[’] courts hold men and women gaily clad[,]
Soft words of priests and bitter lies and change[,]
But few names more redoubted than thy lord[’]s[,]
And few – no eyes methinks as bright as thine[.]
Yea[,] this fair hall should be a happy place.
Aside. The [W]elshman lied not: she is changed indeed
From the slim joyous maiden of twelve years
And looks my mother of 15 summers back
Come from the dead to gaze with mournful eyes
Upon the ashes of her house--Yet strange
She doth not seem to know me – would that I
Had come upon this torment of the seas[,]
[f. 199v] Whose death is my desire,[] amid his men
Flushed with his wealth and wine-- for certainly
Peace seems about the place--these red-lipped girls--
Shock[-]headed herds not all too full of work[,]
That song without, the smiles here[,] that soft hand
And ready welcome–would that we were gone
And they at peace as now.

T[HORA]
                                    And yet[,] fair Sir[,]
Your soft speech well said[,] merely on the ground
Your eyes are fixed--well, some unburied grief
Perchance you left behind you in your land
And think you are a long way off from it[,]
And deem our coming winter but a sign
Of mortal separation from all love[,]
As I have done at whiles--

A[NTHONY]
          In kindly wise
Thou speakest to me[. T]hirty-five years past [ms. passed]
I first saw light, and in our land God wot
That is a long time to be free from grief[–]
But all shall go well now. (Aside.) [A] kind soft place
For me to ruin like my father’s house
The soft-winged owl will through to[-]night!

W[ULFSTAN]
Well lady[,] if you could turn to me
From this fair Southlander[,] then might your ears
Hear tidings from the west that touch on you[.]

T[HORA]
What tidings?

W[ULFSTAN]
These, that Sigurd your young earl[,]
My lord Rolf[']s fosterson[,] when spring comes round
Saileth for home, bearing the good word
Of all men, and great fame that shall endure[,]
And gold enow for anyone but him
Who deems himself Lord God to give away
What e[’]er he has[,] yet never to grow less--

T[HORA]
Great tidings, Wulfstan. (Aside.) How the bondmaid stares
Upon the guest--a fair man but a proud[;]
He looks as though he somewhat hated me
Already – Who shall love me?--O fair Sir
Sawest thou Earl Sigurd at the English King[’]s--

A[NTHONY]
Nay[,] lady[.]

W[ULFSTAN]
Now by all the saints of heaven
Thy wits are gathering wool upon the downs[!]
When first I saw thee thou didst stand three feet
From the Earl’s nose, wert telling him long tales
Of Sicily and the isles, the day I came
To pray for his good word in Norway here.

T[HORA]
Well, if [thou] wakedst then[,] fair guest[,] say now
How thou deemest of him--

A[NTHONY]
A tall man was he,
Bright cheeked & fair haired[,] glib enow of speech;
Men called him a good swordsman.

W[ULFSTAN]
O my merchant-friend[,]
[f. 200] No need to cheapen him so eagerly,
We sell no earls here."

T[HORA]
Friends & guests, come forth
Unto the great hall, for the boards by now
Should be well laid. Yea now the horns blow up[;]
Come[,] whatso things tomorrow’s sun may bring,
Tonight at least shall see us somewhat glad
Drinking the grave ales of our joys bygone,
Our hopes too bright to bear three noonday suns.

A Wood near the House.
Anthony[,] Margaret.

M[ARGARET]
Thanks to the beech-boughs we are deep enough
Amongst them now to turn eyes each to each[–]
O brother with the eyes of the old days
Kiss me and bring the old hope back again
And half forgotten scents of southland things[!]

A[NTHONY]
Or bring thou back unto the lonely man
Foiled[,] unloved and unloveable[,] that tide
A month belike or our last parting day[,]
That morning of the south wherein we sat
Anigh the tideless sea beneath the wall
Whereon the rose-laurel grew.

M[ARGARET]
          I was twelve then,
I had known no sorrow – yet as children use
To be saddened by the sound of bells or song
And try to shake from them the first sweet pain[,]
That as time wears is all the joy belike
That they may hope for, so there hung on me
A vague disquiet that day long ago.

A[NTHONY]
It showed not in thee[,] rather joy in life[,]
Sweet[,] healthful[,] strong, burned in thee as I deemed[,]
The gift we waste[,] the seed of the longings vain
That poison all when at the last we know
That God has made each one of us as lone
As he himself sits, crying out for love
Through mouths of loveless prophets[,] unwed priests[,]
Through all his judgments on the dreadful word[,]
Yet if we meet in hell[,] tis good to meet –
Thou lookest hard: a vile sour face it is[,]
Thy brother’s face--but shows not all the worst--
Yet I am glad thou lovest me.

M[ARGARET]
                                                No face
Here have I seen as dear a long, long while[;]
Help in a helpless place it bringeth me[.]
Thou art great-hearted.

A[NTHONY]
Ah, if it were so
And the world might go its ways while I abode
Embraced by some great love, not heeding pain
Or fearing change. With thee it might be so.
Thou art grown wondrous fair, calm are thine eyes[,]
[f. 200v] Strong seemest thou all grief well to endure
And grow the fairer –

M[ARGARET]
               Brother, let us talk
Of how the world goes, and thou first, & all
That thou hast dealt with since our parting day[.]

A[NTHONY]
Nay first of thee, si[nce] a free [man] thou seest me
And rich, while thou[–]while thou[-]
How shall I say it[?] art a bondmaid here--
Tell me about thy life.

M[ARGARET]
               Little to tell
After that first time when my young heart found
The misery undreamed of and I saw
As in a picture of the very hell
The red flame blazing strong against the sky[,]
The cloudless sunny sky, and all about
Betwixt the hot deck and the flapping sail
The great-limbed fearful sailors stained with blood[,]
Redfaced hoarse-voiced & restless[,] mad with blood
And gain of gold and joy of their lives gained
After the battle, deeming the earth made
For them alone[. S]mall wonder that the men
The Duke sent for our father[’]s guard & help
Shrank back before them, being what well you know[,]
Door[-]keepers[,] varlets[,] full[-]fed, purblind knaves
Taking their ease as the world takes sunrise[,]
A thing that God has made once to endure--
These rather were like dreadful Gods – the fight?
I saw it not--a lad of fifteen years
With a great axe all bloody dragged us down[,]
Me and my nurse, into the Castle[-]yard –
O what a dreadful place it seemed that day
Filled with the clamour of the barbarous tongue
And clash of arms and crash of things thrown down
From out the window groans of dying men
And sobs & wails, and now and then a scream
Of sudden pain.[B]y their chief there lay
A dead man well nigh covered with a cloth[,]
But from beneath it was a hand thrust forth[,]
The dead hand of my father; on the ground
Without a wound but [with] their hands bound sat
Some thirty men[,] the Duke’s folk, waiting death
Or so they thought, and calm enow indeed
Now no more was to do--The women stood
Huddled together each in her own way[,]
As I belike[,] deeming that now she knew
What the world will be on that day of days
When o[’]er hushed town, and useless fruitful fields
The [J]udge’s face shows dreadful –well, the chief
[f. 201] When I was brought before him stared a while
Into my wan face[,] then in grave voice said[,]
[“]A great man’s child[;] had there been twenty such
As she and he a nobler tune belike
Our fiddles might have played[”]--then he cried out,
[“]Eric the skald[,] good skill thou deemst thou hast
In ways of women[,] choose thou ten of these--
That like thee best besides this noble may[”]--
Then forth there stood a huge red-headed man
And grinning went up to the trembling band
And drew forth 9 of all the fairest there[,]
But therewithal a palsied withered crone
Our porter’s grand[-]dame. Then a huge laugh burst
From out the seafarers who stood round[,] and the chief
Said[, “]Tell us, Eric, why must we bear forth
This great[-]mouthed toothless porridge[-]eater then?”
[“]Nay[,”] said he[, “]I have chosen her for thee[,]
For she looked old and wise to teach thee well
How big a fool thou art to give such choice
Unto another[.”] Midst the laugh I heard
The lord say[: “]Nay, for this Valkyria here
Shall be my darling some 4 summers hence [breaks off]

Published CW, 24, 329-42.

[p. 329]

On board ship off the coast of Norway: Anthony, Wulfstan the Shipmaster, and Sailors.

SHIPMASTER

Well, master merchant, you slept late this morn
Despite our drawing nigh our journey’s end –
Well, you did well perchance being among friends:
For one day at the least a steady wind,
A cloudless sky and all things going well.

ANTHONY
Why, but to hear you things go not so well
Since now I go ashore – among unfriends
You seem to say. Yet was your word before
That this Lord Rolf the Red was a good lord
To those who dealt in peaceful wise with him;
And in no warlike wise I come, meseems.

SHIPMASTER
There now again I note you – looking round
As though to find a man or two to smite –
That’s still your way, and sooth it seems to me
The nigher you come to land the hotter grows
Your blood. I warn you this good lord withal
His sword-blade nowise grows unto its sheath
And he is one of many, lord or thrall
Tis much the same – life is cheap enow
And one man’s blow is like another’s still.
A second warning: try your mocks on them,
They will not laugh belike or say a word
Though the hall roars around them: you shall think
Them dull and go on piling jeer and jeer;
But two hours thence, two hours or days or months,
As time serves, you shall find they understood.
Warning the third: some things here shall be bought –
[330] Most things – a sword, a house, a horse, a wife:
You may want all these things except the last,
And certes you are rich enough to deal.
– Take this by the way that they may well deal thus,
Sell you a sword and thrust you through therewith,
Sell you a house and burn it o’er your head,
Sell you a horse and steal it the next morn,
Sell you a wife and bid her loose her tongue
Until you make a red mark on her face –
And then the district-court and her tall kin
And point and edge, or clink of the King’s sweet face
Outside your purse – Well all that by the way,
But this I mean by the third: all women here –
Yea how you start – are marked and known and named
Daughter of this Goodman, sister of that
Nor will gold buy them save in open wise,
As wives I mean – though you indeed may deal
In wares that please them, if to help your face,
Your song, your story of old time, your dance,
You therewithal could play well with the sword,
Or throw your hair back in the face of death
To show your cheeks no paler for the sight –
Eh! do I make too long a tale; you scowl:
Why don’t you ask me then to make an end?
Turn round and look, we’ve weathered the last ness.
Off half a point, you helmsman! There it is
The stead we were to bring you to – though why
You were so eager after this man’s fame
I know not. Does it like you well or ill?

ANTHONY
A place to be forgotten in, it seems
The hill-sides like a wall, the deep green sea
The pine-trees all above it – so there dwells
The man who tears his gold from out the fire.

[331] SHIPMASTER
Yea, fire full hot enow – lo there the hall
Big enough for a king, the water deep
Up to the garth-gate; there on the round hill
Thor’s temple – may Christ curse it! the ship-stocks,
One, two, three cutters, one great merchant-ship
Just newly pithed – the long-ships neither there;
If I had not a sort of name of friend
With him and his, that would not like me well;
I would not care to meet him in the main.

ANTHONY
What then, the lord is gone away belike?

SHIPMASTER
Most like, but since the winter comes apace
Tis but a matter of ten days at most
Ere he comes back unless his fiends, his Gods
Have got his soul at last.

ANTHONY
Nay, God forbid!

SHIPMASTER
Why art thou eager? wouldst thou see him live?

ANTHONY
Nay by the saints, but I would see him die –
Tell him my name first!

SHIPMASTER
There it all comes out.
I doubted this, fair merchant, God to aid
Thou hadst a look of Jonah in the face
E’en from the first; well, full certainly
There gapes the whale for thee stranded ashore,
But a dark cavern of ill hap.

[332] ANTHONY
Good sooth,
Ill luck enow is still on my tongue’s end
And in the corners of my eyes; what need
To say bewray me not, thou knowst not much –

SHIPMASTER
Why, [had] I said to Rolf thou wishedst him dead
He would laugh somewhat – drink nightlong with thee
And call thee to the ring of hazel wands
Wherein they fight next morn and then –

ANTHONY
                                                            What then?

SHIPMASTER
Is thy neck iron, he could cut it through,
E’en so I think; is thy sword as swift
As July lightning, three swords seem aloft
When his sword leaves the scabbard and he plays;
So say his own men, and our English folk
Have e’en such tales to tell of him at York
And Scarborough and Dunwich.

ANTHONY
                                                Come thy ways
Below deck, shipmate, somewhat more away
From these long-eared east-countrymen, and then
You will soon learn the reasons from my mouth
Why the mere killing him or being killed
Will not mend all for me.
Green unburnt slopes
Under the soft sun, smooth green waveless sea,
Too kind a world thou art for such as I.
When shall I bid farewell and learn what place
For such a restless helpless loveless man
Twixt lowest hell and highest heaven there is
Since earth is all at strife with all I am?

[333] The Hall at Earlscrag.
Thora, Margaret, Bower Maidens.

THORA
Well, maiden, such a tale as thou hast told
Two years agone I thought I could foresee
When first thine eyes ‘gan look to woman’s years,
And thou wouldst redden at a tale of love.
Trust me, I knew that when my lord had time
And thou wert riper, he would reach his hand
To take the fair fruit to him; day by day,
For a year past, I thought of sending thee
Unto my mother’s brother in the North
Or out to Iceland to my father’s kin:
But time passed, neither thee nor my lord Rolf
Seemed worth the pains, though neither him nor thee
Do I hate or could hate: nor for him methinks
We sit together in the hall nor know
Each of the other what is in our hearts
About us, and for thee the dull days here
Will drag from out me what had better lie
Quiet within my heart for thee – nay, nay,
I will not speak. I note thee ready now
To take my whole speech rash and lay it up
In that deep storehouse of thy mind.
Thorgerd,
Come hither, tell me how the fishing sped
Our folk came back from at the dawn.

MAIDEN
But ill,
Goodwife; they said they deemed the shoal
Had shifted and the sea was e’en too deep.

THORA
Thou sittest silent, Margaret, car’st not
For hate or love of mine?

[334] MARGARET
Nay, if I could
Well would I love thee, if I needs must speak –
What say I? for I love thee well indeed
As slaves durst love: and thou art worthy love.

THORA
A many loves ‘twixt a few common words,
And no man by to take one of them all.
But hearken, as for thee, I think, I fear
Thy smooth soft speech, thy voice so seldom raised
That dealeth not with great words, thy great eyes
That fall asleep and dream of far off things
E’en midst thy speech – thou shalt be dangerous
In love belike unto thyself and all
Who come across thee.

MARGARET
                                    Lady, fear me not.
I do thy will – thou hast been kind of me,
And for the rest day comes and day goes by
And leaves me with nought done and nought to hope
And nought to fear even when all is said
That I have said e’en now.

THORA
                                    As from a man’s
That came from out thy lips, and well I deem
That if thou hadst a brother he and I
Might be fair friends a while.
Hearken, the horn
Sounds at the garth-gate; is my lord come back?

Enter a Servant.

SERVANT
Mistress, Wulfstan the English ship-master
Has anchored in the haven, and is here
[335] Some six in company and prayeth thee
For harbourage for him and his awhile.

THORA
We shall have tidings then; go bid them in.
Well now the day shall go nowise so ill;
We shall have merry talk, news of our earl
And his last dealings with the English king.
Five years ago he sat a gold-haired youth
At the great wedding-feast where Rolf was God
And I was Goddess, and he kissed me then
The new wed wife of that same fostersire
Who bade me love him for the most of hope
Of all the men then waxing in the North.
He kissed me, and my heart felt soft to him
At first; I thought, when sixteen years are gone
Shall I have such a son to win the world?
Then something chilled my heart as I beheld
My husband’s eager eye on him and me,
The youth he loved, the wife he had just won
And deemed a fair thing doubtless.
Southland may,
Almost would he have moved thy solemn heart;
Baldur come back to life again he seemed
A sun to light the dim hall’s glimmering dusk –
What, sighest thou then? – I am babbling on
Before thy wisdom – Ah here come the guests.

Enter Wulfstan the Shipmaster, Anthony and Shipmen.

Welcome, my masters, and thou Wulfstan, first,
Good hast thou done to ours across the sea
And once again somewhat we pay thee back.
Lord Rolf had been right glad to see thee here
And hearken to thy tidings.

WULFSTAN
                                                None the worse
[336] We think to fare at thy hands than at his:
Be merry, for two gifts I bring today,
A bale of English linen for thy beds
And a fair winter-guest to make thy board
The merriest in Norway. Greet him well
For he is worthy of it, a rich man
Of noble Southland kin and yet withal
A merchant of all merchants – and thou, friend,
Behold a woman noble as she seems,
Kind, wise and open-handed, craving still
For honour and for knowledge: greet her well.

THORA
Nay Wulfstan, we shall get to verses soon;
Content thee, man, two Icelanders we have
To set the big words going. Verily
I am right glad to see thee and thy friend;
The winter shall be merrier for his words
I doubt me not. Thou lookest round, fair Sir
As if thou wonderest whither thou art come.
Thou hast seen Southland kings and all their state
And deemest us of small account belike,
Yet are we merry at whiles.

ANTHONY
                                                Hail, most fair dame!
Kings’ courts hold men and women gaily clad,
Soft words of priests and bitter lies and change,
But few names more redoubted than thy lord’s,
And few – no eyes methinks as bright as thine.
Yea, this fair hall should be a happy place.
Aside. The Welshman lied not: she is changed indeed
From the slim joyous maiden of twelve years
And looks my mother of fifteen summers back
Come from the dead to gaze with mournful eyes
Upon the ashes of her house. Yet strange
She doth not seem to know me – Would that I
[337] Had come upon this torment of the seas,
Whose death is my desire, amid his men
Flushed with his wealth and wine; for certainly
Peace seems about the place: these red-lipped girls,
Shock-headed herds not all too full of work,
That song without, the smiles here, that soft hand
And ready welcome – Would that we were gone
And they at peace as now.

THORA
                                    And yet, fair Sir,
Your soft speech well said, merely on the ground
Your eyes are fixed. Well, some unburied grief
Perchance you left behind you in your land
And think you are a long way off from it,
And deem our coming winter but a sign
Of mortal separation from all love,
As I have done at whiles.

ANTHONY
In kindly wise
Thou speakest to me. Thirty-five years past
I first saw light, and in our land God wot
That is a long time to be free from grief –
But all shall go well now. Aside. A kind soft place
For me to ruin like my father’s house
The soft-winged owl will through to-night!

WULFSTAN
Well lady, if you could turn to me
From this fair Southlander, then might your ears
Hear tidings from the West that touch on you.

THORA
What tidings?

WULFSTAN
These, that Sigurd your young earl,
[338] My lord Rolf’s fosterson, when spring comes round
Saileth for home bearing the good word
Of all men, and great fame that shall endure
And gold enow for anyone but him
Who deems himself Lord God to give away
Whate’er he has, yet never to grow less.

THORA
Great tidings, Wulfstan. Aside. How the bondmaid stares
Upon the guest! a fine man but a proud;
He looks as though he somewhat hated me
Already – Who shall love me? O fair Sir
Sawest thou Earl Sigurd at the English King’s?

ANTHONY
Nay, lady.

WULFSTAN
Now by all the saints of heaven
Thy wits are gathering wool upon the downs!
When first I saw thee thou didst stand three feet
From the Earl’s nose, wert telling him long tales
Of Sicily and the isles, the day I came
To pray for his good word in Norway here.

THORA
Well, if [thou] wakedst then, fair guest, say now
How thou deemest of him?

ANTHONY
A tall man was he,
Bright cheeked and fair haired, glib enow of speech;
Men called him a good swordsman.

WULFSTAN
O my merchant-friend,
No need to cheapen him so eagerly,
We sell no earls here.

[339] THORA
Friends and guests, come forth
Unto the great hall, for the boards by now
Should be well laid. Yea now the horns blow up;
Come, whatso things tomorrow’s sun may bring,
Tonight at least shall see us somewhat glad
Drinking the grave-ales of our joys bygone,
Our hopes too bright to bear three noonday suns.

A Wood near the House.
Anthony, Margaret.

MARGARET
Thanks to the beech-boughs we are deep enough
Amongst them now to turn eyes each to each –
O brother with the eyes of the old days
Kiss me and bring the old hope back again
And half forgotten scents of Southland things!

ANTHONY
Or bring thou back unto the lonely man
Foiled, unloved and unloveable, that tide
A month belike or our last parting day,
That morning of the South wherein we sat
Anigh the tideless sea beneath the wall
Whereon the rose-laurel grew.

MARGARET
I was twelve then,
I had known no sorrow – yet as children use
To be saddened by the sound of bells or song
And try to shake from them the first sweet pain,
That as time wears is all the joy belike
That they may hope for, so there hung on me
A vague disquiet that day long ago.

[340] ANTHONY
It showed not in thee, rather joy in life,
Sweet, healthful, strong, burned in thee as I deemed,
The gift we waste, the seed of the longings vain
That poison all when at the last we know
That God has made each one of us as lone
As he himself sits, crying out for love
Through mouths of loveless prophets, unwed priests,
Through all his judgments on the dreadful word,
Yet if we meet in hell ‘tis good to meet –
Thou lookest hard: a vile sour face it is,
Thy brother’s face, but shows not all the worst.
Yet I am glad thou lovest me.

MARGARET
                                                No face
Here have I seen as dear a long, long while;
Help in a helpless place it bringeth me.
Thou art great-hearted.

ANTHONY
Ah, if it were so
And the world might go its ways while I abode
Embraced by some great love, not heeding pain
Or fearing change. With thee it might be so.
Thou art grown wondrous fair, calm are thine eyes,
Strong seemest thou all grief well to endure
And grow the fairer –

MARGARET
Brother, let us talk
Of how the world goes, and thou first, and all
That thou hast dealt with since our parting day.

ANTHONY
Nay first of thee, since a free [man] thou seest me
And rich, while thou – while thou –
[341] How shall I say it? art a bondmaid here.
Tell me about thy life.

MARGARET
Little to tell
After that first time when my young heart found
The misery undreamed of and I saw
As in a picture of the very hell
The red flame blazing strong against the sky,
The cloudless sunny sky, and all about
Betwixt the hot deck and the flapping sail
The great-limbed fearful sailors stained with blood,
Redfaced hoarse-voiced and restless, mad with blood
And gain of gold and joy of their lives gained
After the battle, deeming the earth made
For them alone. Small wonder that the men
The Duke sent for our father’s guard and help
Shrank back before them, being what well you know,
Door-keepers, varlets, full-fed, purblind knaves
Taking their ease as the world takes sunrise,
A thing that God has made once to endure--
These rather were like dreadful Gods – the fight?
I saw it not--a lad of fifteen years
With a great axe all bloody dragged us down,
Me and my nurse, into the Castle-yard –
O what a dreadful place it seemed that day
Filled with the clamour of the barbarous tongue
And clash of arms and crash of things thrown down
From out the window groans of dying men
And sobs & wails, and now and then a scream
Of sudden pain. By their chief there lay
A dead man well nigh covered with a cloth,
But from beneath it was a hand thrust forth,
The dead hand of my father; on the ground
Without a wound but with their hands bound sat
Some thirty men, the Duke’s folk, waiting death
Or so they thought, and calm enow indeed
[342] Now no more was to do--The women stood
Huddled together each in her own way,
As I belike, deeming that now she knew
What the world will be on that day of days
When o’er hushed town, and useless fruitful fields
The Judge’s face shows dreadful–well, the chief
When I was brought before him stared a while
Into my wan face, then in grave voice said,
“A great man’s child; had there been twenty such
As she and he a nobler tune belike
Our fiddles might have played”--then he cried out,
“Eric the skald, good skill thou deemst thou hast
In ways of women, choose thou ten of these--
That like thee best besides this noble may”--
Then forth there stood a huge red-headed man
And grinning went up to the trembling band
And drew forth nine of all the fairest there,
But therewithal a palsied withered crone
Our porter’s grand-dame. Then a huge laugh burst
From out the seafarers who stood round, and the chief
Said, “Tell us, Eric, why must we bear forth
This great-mouthed toothless porridge-eater then?”
“Nay,” said he, “I have chosen her for thee,
For she looked old and wise to teach thee well
How big a fool thou art to give such choice
Unto another.” Midst the laugh I heard
The lord say: “Nay, for this Valkyria here
Shall be my darling some four summers hence

C-20. Written in a copy of The Earthly Paradise, December 25, 1870 ( So many stories written here / And none among them but doth bear ) [pdf]

Published CW, XXIV, 343-44.

[p. 343]

So many stories written here
And none among them but doth bear
Its weight of trouble and of woe!
Well may you ask why it is so;
Fore surely neither sour or dull
In such a world, of fair things full,
Should folk be.
                        Ah, my dears, indeed
My wisdom fails me at my need
To tell why tales that move the earth
Are seldom of content and mirth.
Yet think if it may come of this—
That lives fulfilled of ease and bliss
Crave not for aught that we can give,
And scorn the broken lives we live;
Unlike to us they pass us by,
A dying laugh their history.
But those that struggled sore, and failed
Had one thing left them, that availed
When all things else were nought—
                        E’en Love—
Whose sweet voice, crying as they strove,
Begat sweet pity, and more love still,
Waste places with sweet tales to fill;
Whereby we, living here, may learn
Our eyes toward very Love to turn,
And all the pain it bringeth meet

As nothing strange amid the sweet:
Where by we too may hope to be
Grains in the great world’s memory
Of pain endured, and nobleness
That life ill-understood doth bless.
[p. 344]
Words over-grave and sad for you
Maybe: but rime will still be true
Unto my heart—most true herein
In wishing, dear hearts, you may win
A life of every ill so clear,
That little tale for folk to hear
It may be: yet so full of love,
That e’en these words your hearts may move,
Years and years hence, when unto me
Life is a waste and windless sea.

C-21. Verses for the Months, The Earthly Paradise, March and April

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

CW 24, 345-46

[p. 345]

MARCH

In March, when the gold-bringing east wind blows
And bright and cloudless is the pale blue sky,
And day by day the sunset later grows,
And on red hedges green buds you may spy,
On such a day of March, when eve was nigh,
In a fair hall, those old men sat talking
With people of the land; and many a thing

Of ancient stories, each to other told;
Till for sweet youth and unforgotten land
The strangers sighed, and longings manifold
Possessed the strong ripe men that there did stand
Half shamefaced; and young lovers hand in hand
Sat silent, feeling the sweet tears arise
Into their happy, longing, youthful eyes.

[p. 345]
APRIL

Soft is the air in the sweet April-tide,
When all day long the small brown thrushes sing
And sings the blackbird in the coppice side
And ever is the cuckoo on the wing.
Then were these old folk fain to welcome spring
And [in] an open southern chamber sat
One April morn and talked of this and that.

And in that morn to make their old hearts glad
With people of the land they drank well there,
Yet none the less, distraught they seemed and sad,
Although the promise of the spring was fair
And soft the April wind blew in their hair.
There in low voices these old tales they told
Remembered but in songs and ballads old.

C-22. 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.

JANUARY
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]

FEBRUARY
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 longed-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]

MARCH
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.

C-23. “The Mother Under the Mould” ( Svend Dyring rode on the island-way / Yea have not I myself been young )

Published CW XXIV, 352-55. B. L. Add. Ms. 4,318, ff. 89-90v. autograph copy with corrections. Also copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, ff. 18-22. See List of Morris' Translations, no. 6, which transcribes the draft.

C-24. “Error and Loss” ( Upon an eve I sat me down and wept, / Because the world to me seemed nowise good; )

In the Book of Verse, 1870, belonging to Georgiana Burne-Jones, it was labelled “Missing” ( p. 15) . It was published in the Fortnightly Review, February 1, 1871, 219-220, under the title “The Dark Wood”; Included Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 108. Some Rossettian images; also compare “The Sun’s Shame” (1869).

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 15]

          Missing

Upon an eve I sat me down and wept,
Because the world to me seemed nowise good
Still autumn was it, and the meadows slept
The misty hills dreamed, and the silent wood
Seemed listening to the sorrow of my mood
I knew not if the earth with me did grieve
Or if it mocked my grief that bitter eve.

Then twixt my tears a maiden did I see
Who drew anigh me o’er the leaf-strewn grass
Then stood and gazed upon me pityfully
With grief-worn eyes, until my woe did pass
From me to her, and tearless now I was,
And she mid tears was asking me of one
She long had sought unaided and alone

I knew not of him, and she turned away
Into the dark wood, and my own great pain
Still held me there, till dark had slain the day,
And perished at the grey dawn’s hand again
Then from the wood a voice cried: “Ah, in vain
In vain I seek thee, O thou bitter sweet;
In what lone land are set thy longed-for feet?

[p. 16]

Then I looked up, and lo, a man there came
From midst the trees, and stood regarding me
Until my tears were dried from very shame;
Then he cried out, “O mourner, where is she
Whom I have sought oer every land and sea?
“I love her, and she loveth me, and still
We meet no more than green hill meeteth hill

With that he passed on sadly, and I knew,
That these had met, and missed in the dark night,
Blinded by blindness of the world untrue,
That hideth love, and maketh wrong of right.
Then midst my pity for their lost delight
Yet more with barren longing I grew weak
Yet more I mourned that I had none to seek

C-25. “Of The Three Seekers” ( There met three knights on the woodland way, / And the first was clad in silk array: )

Published in To-Day, January, 1884, 25-29. Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 117-19. HM 6427, ff. 38-42, Morris autograph on white ruled paper, signed "William Morris"; in an early draft with variations this was called “Three Houses.” Copy in WMG J148, A. Ms, titled The Three Seekers,” signed W. M., August 5th, 1872.

HM 6427, f. 38

            The Three Seekers.
There met three knights on the woodland way,
And the first was clad in silk array:

The second was dight in iron & steel,
But the third was rags from head to heel.

“Lo, now is the year and the day come round
When we must tell what we have found.”

The first said: “I have found a King
Who grudgeth no gift of anything.”

The second said: “I have found a knight
Who hath never turned his back in fight.”

But the third said: “I have found a love
That Time and the World shall never move.”

Whither away to win good cheer?
“With me,” said the first, [“]for my King is anear.”

So to the King they went their ways;
But there was a change of times & days.

“What men are ye,” the great King said,
“That ye should eat my children’s bread?

My waste has fed full many a store,
And mocking & grudge have I gained therefore.

Whatever waneth as days wax old,
Full worthy to win are goods and gold.”

[f. 39]

Whither away to win good cheer?
“With me,” said the second, “my knight is anear.”

So to the knight they went their ways,
But there was a change of times and days.

He dwelt in castle sure & strong,
For fear lest aught should do him wrong.

Guards by gate & hall there were[,]
And folk went in and out in fear.

When he heard the mouse run in the wall,
“Hist!” he said, “what next shall befal?

"Draw not near, speak under your breath,
For all new-comers tell of death[.]

"Bring me no song nor minstrelsy,
Round death it babbleth still,” said he.

“And what is fame and the praise of men
When lost life cometh not again?”

Whither away to seek good cheer?
“Ah me!” said the third, “that my love were anear!

Were the world as little as it is wide,
In a happy house should ye abide.

Were the world as kind as it is hard,
Ye should behold a fair reward.”

[f. 40]

So far by high & low have they gone,
They have come to a waste was rock & stone.

But lo, from the waste a company
Full well bedight came riding by;

And in the midst a queen, so fair,
That God wrought well in making her.

The first and the second knights abode
To gaze upon her as she rode.

Forth passed the third with head down-bent,
And stumbling ever as he went.

His shoulder brushed her saddle-bow;
He trembled with his head hung low[.]

His hand brushed o’er her golden gown,
As on the waste he fell adown.

So swift to earth her feet she set,
It seemed that there her arms he met.

His lips that looked the stone to meet
Were on her trembling lips & sweet.

Softly she kissed him cheek & chin,
His mouth her many tears drank in.

“Where would[’]st thou wander, love,” she said,
“Now I have drawn thee from the dead?”

[f. 41]

“I go my ways,” he said, “and thine
Have nought to do with grief and pine.”

“All ways are one way now,” she said,
“Since I have drawn thee from the dead.”

Said he, “But I must seek again
Where first I met thee in thy pain:

"I am not clad so fair,” said he,
But yet the old hurts thou may’st see.

And thou, but for thy gown of gold,
A piteous tale of thee were told.”

“There is no pain on earth,” she said,
“Since I have drawn thee from the dead[.]”

“And parting waiteth for us there,”
Said he, “As it was yester-year.”

“Yet first a space of love,” she said,
“Since I have drawn thee from the dead.”

He laughed; said he, “Hast thou a home
Where I and these my friends may come?”

Laughing, “The world[’]s my home,” she said,
Now I have drawn thee from the dead.

"Yet somewhere is a space thereof
Where I may dwell beside my love.

"There clear the river grows for him
Till o’er its stones his keel shall swim.

[f. 42]

"There faint the thrushes in their song,
And deem he tarrieth overlong.

There summer-tide is waiting now
Until he bids the roses blow.

"Come, tell my flowery fields,” she said,
" How I have drawn thee from the dead.”

Whither away to win good cheer?
“With me,” he said, “for my love is here.

The wealth of my house it waneth not;
No gift it giveth is forgot.

"No fear my house may enter in[,]
For nought is there that death may win.

"Now life is little, and death is nought,
Since all is found that erst I sought[.]”

               William Morris

C-26. “Iceland First Seen” ( Lo from our loitering ship a new land at last to be seen; / Toothed rocks on the side of the firth on the east guard a weary wide lea, )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 125-26. HM 6427, ff. 46-47, Morris autograph on blue paper, with corrections marked for printer, f. 49, partial draft. The corrections on ff. 46-47 are: :

[f. 46] Where yet was mid the grey grassy dales changed to
But that there mid the grey grassy dales

Lives the story of Iceland of old, changed to
Lives the tale of the Northland of old

Is this as some cave by the sea, changed to
O Land as some cave by the sea

And here is the sword of a King that many things the turning of fight: changed to
The sword it may be of a King whose name was the turning of fight:

[f. 46v] Mid waning of realms & their riches and death of things changed to

Amid waning of realms and of riches and death of things . . .

[f. 47] Ah[,] when King Baldur comes back not changed to
Ah! when thy Balder comes back

What am I save the spouse of a God, changed to
I abide here the spouse of a God,

Turn back a while to thy travail that the Gods stood aloof to behold? changed to
Turn back a while to thy travail whence the Gods stood aloof to behold?

HM 6427 f. 49, partial earlier draft

No wheat and no wine grows above it, no orchard for blossom & shade.
The few ships that sail by its blackness but deem it the mouth of a grave
Yet here when the world shall awaken this too shall be mighty to save.

Or rather O land if a wonder it seemeth that men ever sought
Thy wastes that for a field and a garden fulfilled of all wonder I doubt--
And feasted amidst the winter with fight of the year had been fought
Whose plunder all gathered together was little to babble about
Cry aloud from thy wastes O thou land
Not for this nor for that was I wrought;
Mid waning of realms and their riches and many things worshipped and sure
I am nought but the spouse of a God and I made & I make and endure –

O Queen of the grief without knowledge of the courage that shall not avail
Of the longing that may not attain of the love that shall never forget
More joy than the gladness of laughter thy heart keeps amidst of its wail
More hope than of pleasure fulfilled amidst of thy blindness is set
More glorious than gain of all those unfaltering hands that shall fail
What is the mark on thy brow but the brand that thy Brynhild hath born
Love [Lone?] once & loved & undone & loving through the ages outworn--

Ah when thy Balder comes back & bears from the heart of the Sun
Peace and the healing of pain & the wisdom that waiteth no more
And the lilies are laid on thy brow mid the crown of the deeds thou hast done,
And the roses spring up by thy feet that the rocks of the wilderness wore
May we not dead & defeated rejoice in the past thou has won--
Turn in our graves to behold thee yet bless all the sorrow of old
That wrought through the toil and the tangle this glory for Gods to behold.

C-27. “Love’s Gleaning-Tide” ( Draw not away thy hands, my love: )

Published Athenaeum, April 1874, 492. Included Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 120. HM 6427, f. 43, copy from Athenaeum sent to printer, no changes. Also autograph Ms. copy in the WMG, J145 [pdf], signed W. M. and dated August 28th, 1872. According to May Morris (CW, IX, xxxv), this was written as part of a dramatic poem. Morris seems to have started several dramatic pieces during this period, but this resembles other lyric poems of the period.

WMG J145

Draw not away thy hands, my love:
With wind alone the sere leaves move
And though the boughs be scant above
The Autumn shall not shame us.
Say: Let the world wax cold and drear,
What is the worst of all the year
But life – and what shall hurt us, dear,
-- Or death, and who shall blame us?
And, when the Summer comes again
Say: sure we have not sowed in vain;
The root was joy, the stem was pain,
The ear a nameless blending.
The root is dead and gone, my love;
The stem’s a rod our truth to prove
The ear is stored for nought to move
Till heaven and earth have ending.
               W. M.

HM 6427, f. 43

Draw not away thy hands, my love,
With wind alone the sere leaves move
And though the boughs be scant above
               The Autumn shall not shame us.

Say; Let the world wax cold and drear,
What is the worst of all the year
But life – and what shall hurt us, dear,
               Or death, and who shall blame us?

And, when the summer comes again
How shall we say, we sowed in vain!
The root was joy, the stem was pain,
               The ear a nameless blending.

The root is dead and gone, my love,
The stem’s a rod our truth to prove;
The ear is stored for nought to move
Till heaven and earth have ending.
               William Morris

C-28. “The Raven and the King’s Daughter” ( King’s daughter sitting in a tower so high, / Fair summer is on many a shield. )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 127-31. HM 6427, ff. 48, 50-54; two partial drafts and a completed one prepared for the printer, ff. 51-54, and signed W. M. August 1872. Morris autograph on blue ruled paper, f. 48:

HM 6427, [f. 48]

King[']s daughter sitting in castle high
Why weepest thou as the clouds go by
The sun is fair on many a shield
Sweet sings the Swan twixt strand & field
Why weepest thou in the window seat
Till the tears run through thy fingers sweet
I weep because I sit alone
Betwixt these walls of lime & stone.
The gold upon the green I sew
Nor tidings of my love I know.
Fair folk are in my father’s hall
But for me he built this guarded wall[.]
King’s daughter, sitting above the sea,
I shall tell thee a tale shall gladden thee.
Yestreen I saw a ship go forth
When the wind blew merry from the north.
And by the tiller Steingrim sat,
And O, but my heart was glad thereat[!]
Twixt ashen plank and dark blue sea
His sword sang sweet of deeds to be.
O barren sea, thou bitter bird[,]
And a barren tale my ears have heard.
Thy father’s men were sitting there
In byrny bright and helmet fair[.]
O worser grew thy story far[,]
For these drew upon me bolt and bar[.]
Fly south[,] o fowl[,] to the field of death
For nothing sweet thy grey neb saith[.]
O[,] there was Olaf the lily-rose[,]
As fair as any oak that grows.
O sweet bird, what did he then
Among the spears of my father[’]s men[?]
[']Twixt ashen plank and dark blue sea[,]
He sang[:] My true love waiteth me--
As well as this dull floor knows my feet[,]
I am not weary yet, my sweet.
He sang across the web of war[,]
Her eyes gaze on me from afar[.]
[f. 48v]As once our fingers met[,] my love,
So shall our lips be glad thereo[f].
It may be midst the iron rain
I shall not gaze on thee in vain.
He sang[,] [A]s once her hand I had[,]
Her lips at last shall make me glad
As once our finers met[,] my love
So shall our lips be glad thereof[.]

He sang[:] Come wrack and steel & flame[,]
For what shall breach her wall but fame[?]
Be swift to rise and set[,] O Sun[,]
Lest life [’]twixt hope and death be done.
King’s daughter sitting in castle so high,
A gift for my tale ere forth I fly[,]
Fly forth[,] O fowl[,] across the sea
To win another gift of me.
Fly south to bring me tidings true[,]
Of the eve grown red with the battle[-]dew:
Fair sing the swans ’twixt firth and field.

King’s daughter sitting in castle so high,
Tidings to hearken ere thou die[,]
In the Frankish land the spear points met[,]
And wide about the fields were wet.
And high ere the cold moon quenched the sun[,]
Blew Steingrim[']s horn for battle won.
Fair fall thee fowl[!] Tell tidings true [ms. foul]
Of deeds that men therein did do.
Steingrim before his banner went[,]
And helms were broke and byrnies rent[.]
A doughty man & good at needs[:]
Tell men of any other’s deeds[?]
When Steingrim through the battle bore
Still Olaf went a foot before[.]
O fair with deeds the world doth grow--
Where is my true-love gotten now[?]
Upon the deck beside the mast
He lieth now, and sleepeth fast.
Heard[’]st thou before his sleep began
That he spake word of any man[?]

[at this point draft one stops; f. 49 is a first draft for "Iceland First Seen"; see no. 26. Another draft of "The Raven and the King's Daughter" begins, ff. 50 and 50v, which continues:]

[f. 50] Methought of thee he sang a song[,]
But nothing now he saith for long.
[The King's Daughter] And wottest thou where he will wend
With the world before him from end to end[?]
[The Raven.]
Before the battle joined that day
Steingrim a word to him did say:
[“]If we bring the banner back in peace[,]
In the King[’]s house much shall my fame increase[;]
Till therein no guarded door shall be
But it shall open straight to me.
Then to the bower we twain shall go
Where thy love the golden seam doth sew[.]
I shall bring thee in and lay thine hand
About the neck of that lily[-]wand.
And let the King be lief or loth
One bed that night shall hold you both.[”]
Now north meseems runs Steingrim’s prow[,]
And the rain & the wind from the south doth blow[.]
[The King’s Daughter.]
Lo[,] fowl of death[,] my golden ring,[ ms. foul]
But the bridal song I must learn to sing[.]
And fain were I for a space alone[,]
For O the wind[,] and the wind doth moan[.]
For O the rain[,] and the rain drifts red[!]
And I msut array the bridal bed.

Before the day from the night was born,
Fair summer is on many a shield.
She heard the blast of Steingrim[’]s horn[,]
Fair sing the swans ’twixt firth and field.
Before the day was waxen fair
Were Steingrim[’]s feet upon the stair[.]
[“]O bolt and bar they fall away[,]
But heavy are Steingrim’s feet to-day.[”]
“O heavy are feet of one who bears
The longing of days and the grief of years[!]
Lie down[,] lie down[,] thou lily-wand
That on thy neck I may lay his hand[.]
Whether the King be lief or loth
[f. 50v] To-day one bed shall hold you both.
O thou art still as he is still[,]
Though sore ye long to speak your fill.
And good it were that I depart[,]
Now heart is laid so close to heart.
Sure ye shall talk so left alone
Fair summer is on many a shield.
Of days to be beneath the stone.[”]

[f. 51]

The Raven and the King's Daughter.
[marked for printer with "red" marked for speakers and refrains]

The Raven.

King’s daughter sitting in tower so high,
      Fair summer is on many a shield[.]
Why weepest thou as the clouds go by?
      Fair sing the swans twixt firth and field.

Why weepest thou in the window-seat
Till the tears run through thy fingers sweet?

The King’s Daughter.

I weep because I sit alone
Betwixt these walls of lime and stone.

Fair folk are in my father’s hall,
But for me he built this guarded wall.

And here the gold on the green I sew
Nor tidings of my true-love know.

The Raven.

King’s daughter, sitting above the sea,
I shall tell thee a tale shall gladden thee.

Yes'treen I saw a ship go forth
When the wind blew merry from the north.

And by the tiller Steingrim sat,
And O, but my heart was glad thereat!

For ’twixt ashen plank and dark blue sea
His sword sang sweet of deeds to be.

The King’s Daughter.

O barren sea, thou bitter bird,
[f. 51v] And a barren tale my ears have heard.

The Raven.

Thy father’s men were hard thereby
In byrny bright and helmet high.

The King’s Daughter.

O worser waxeth thy story far,
For these drew upon me bolt and bar[.]

Fly south, O fowl, to the field of death
For nothing sweet thy grey neb saith.

The Raven.

O, there was Olaf the lily-rose,
As fair as any oak that grows.

The King’s Daughter.

O sweet bird, what did he then
Among the spears of my father’s men?

The Raven.

[']Twixt ashen plank and dark blue sea,
He sang, My true love waiteth me.

The King’s Daughter.

As well as this dull floor knows my feet[,]
I am not weary yet, my sweet.

The Raven.

He sang: As once her hand I had[,]
Her lips at last shall make me glad.

The King’s Daughter.

As once our fingers met, O love,
So shall our lips be fain thereof.

[f. 52] The Raven.

He sang[:] Come wrack and iron and flame,
For what shall breach the wall but fame[?]

The King’s Daughter.

Be swift to rise and set, O Sun,
Lest life [’]twixt hope and death be done.

The Raven.

King’s daughter sitting in tower so high,
A gift for my tale ere forth I fly[,]

The gold from thy finger fair and fine[,]
Thou hadst it from no love of thine.

The King’s Daughter.

By my father[’]s ring another there is,
I had it with my mother’s kiss[.]

Fly forth, O fowl, across the sea
To win another gift of me.

Fly south to bring me tidings true,
      Fair summer is on many a shield.
Of the eve grown red with the battle-dew[,]
      Fair sing the swans [’]twixt firth and field.

The Raven.

King’s daughter sitting in tower so high,
      Fair summer is on many a shield[.]
Tidings to hearken ere thou die[,]
      Fair sing the swans [’]twixt firth and field.
[f. 52] In the Frankish Land the spear points met[,]
And wide about the field was wet.

And high ere the cold moon quenched the sun,
Blew Steingrim’s horn for battle won.

The King’s Daughter.

Fair fall thee fowl! [T]ell tidings true
Of deeds that men that day did do.

The Raven.

Steingrim before his banner went,
And helms were broke and byrnies rent.

The King’s Daughter.

A doughty man and good at need;
Tell men of any other’s deed?

The Raven.

Where Steingrim through the battle bore
Still Olaf went a foot before.

The King’s Daughter.

O fair with deeds the world doth grow!
Where is my true-love gotten now?

The Raven.

Upon the deck beside the mast
He lieth now, and sleepeth fast.

The King’s Daughter.

Heard’st thou before his sleep began
That he spake word of any man?

The Raven.

Methought of thee he sang a song,
[f. 53] But nothing now he saith for long.

The King’s Daughter.

And wottest thou where he will wend
With the world before him from end to end?

The Raven.

Before the battle joined that day
Steingrim a word to him did say.

“If we bring the banner back in peace,
In the King’s house much shall my fame increase;

Till there no guarded door shall be
But it shall open straight to me.

Then to the bower we twain shall go
Where thy love the golden seam doth sew.

I shall bring thee in and lay thine hand
About the neck of that lily-wand.

And let the King be lief or loth
One bed that night shall hold you both.”

[p. 131] Now north belike runs Steingrim’s prow[,]
And the rain and the wind from the south do blow.

The King’s Daughter.

Lo, fowl of death, my mother’s ring[,]
But the bridal song I must learn to sing:

And fain were I for a space alone,
For O the wind, and the wind doth moan.

And I must array the bridal bed[,]
      Fair summer is on many a shield.

For O the rain, and the rain drifts red!
      Fair sing the swans ’twixt firth and field.

Before the day from the night was born,
      Fair summer is on many a shield.

She heard the blast of Steingrim’s horn;
      Fair sing the swans ’twixt firth and field.

Before the day was waxen fair
Were Steingrim’s feet upon the stair.

“O bolt and bar they fall away,
But heavy are Steingrim’s feet today.”

“O heavy the feet of one who bears
The longing of days and the grief of years!

Lie down[,] lie down[,] thou lily-wand
That on thy neck I may lay his hand.

Whether the King be lief or loth
Today one bed shall hold you both.

O thou art still as he is still,
So sore as ye longed to talk your fill.

And good it were that I depart,
Now heart is laid so close to heart.

For sure ye shall talk so left alone
      Fair summer is on many a shield.

[f. 54] Of days to be beneath the Stone.”
      Fair sing the swans [’]twixt firth and field.

W. M. August 1872

Poems by the Way, CW IX, 127-31.

THE RAVEN AND THE KING'S DAUGHTER.

King’s daughter sitting in tower so high,
Fair summer is on many a shield.
Why weepest thou as the clouds go by?
Fair sing the swans ’twixt firth and field.
Why weepest thou in the window-seat
Till the tears run through thy fingers sweet?

The King’s Daughter.

I weep because I sit alone
Betwixt these walls of lime and stone.
Fair folk are in my father’s hall,
But for me he built this guarded wall.
And here the gold on the green I sew
Nor tidings of my true-love know.

The Raven.

King’s daughter, sitting above the sea,
I shall tell thee a tale shall gladden thee.
Yestreen I saw a ship go forth
When the wind blew merry from the north.
And by the tiller Steingrim sat,
And O, but my heart was glad thereat!
For ’twixt ashen plank and dark blue sea
His sword sang sweet of deeds to be.

The King’s Daughter.

O barren sea, thou bitter bird,
And a barren tale my ears have heard.

[p. 128] The Raven.

Thy father’s men were hard thereby
In byrny bright and helmet high.

The King’s Daughter.

O worser waxeth thy story far,
For these drew upon me bolt and bar.
Fly south, O fowl, to the field of death
For nothing sweet thy grey neb saith.

The Raven.

O, there was Olaf the lily-rose,
As fair as any oak that grows.

The King’s Daughter.

O sweet bird, what did he then
Among the spears of my father’s men?

The Raven.

’Twixt ashen plank and dark blue sea,
He sang: My true love waiteth me.

The King’s Daughter.

As well as this dull floor knows my feet,
I am not weary yet, my sweet.

The Raven.

He sang: As once her hand I had,
Her lips at last shall make me glad.

The King’s Daughter.

As once our fingers met, O love,
So shall our lips be fain thereof.

The Raven.

He sang: Come wrack and iron and flame,
For what shall breach the wall but fame?

The King’s Daughter.

Be swift to rise and set, O Sun,
Lest life ’twixt hope and death be done.

[p. 129] The Raven.

King’s daughter sitting in tower so high,
A gift for my tale ere forth I fly,
The gold from thy finger fair and fine,
Thou hadst it from no love of thine.

The King’s Daughter.

By my father’s ring another there is,
I had it with my mother’s kiss.
Fly forth, O fowl, across the sea
To win another gift of me.
Fly south to bring me tidings true,
Fair summer is on many a shield.
Of the eve grown red with the battle-dew,
Fair sing the swans ’twixt firth and field.

The Raven.

King’s daughter sitting in tower so high,
Fair summer is on many a shield.
Tidings to hearken ere thou die,
Fair sing the swans ’twixt firth and field.
In the Frankish land the spear points met,
And wide about the field was wet.
And high ere the cold moon quenched the sun,
Blew Steingrim’s horn for battle won.

The King’s Daughter.

Fair fall thee fowl! Tell tidings true
Of deeds that men that day did do.

The Raven.

Steingrim before his banner went,
And helms were broke and byrnies rent.

The King’s Daughter.

A doughty man and good at need;
Tell men of any other’s deed?

[p. 130] The Raven.

Where Steingrim through the battle bore
Still Olaf went a foot before.

The King’s Daughter.

O fair with deeds the world doth grow!
Where is my true-love gotten now?

The Raven.

Upon the deck beside the mast
He lieth now, and sleepeth fast.

The King’s Daughter.

Heard’st thou before his sleep began
That he spake word of any man?

The Raven.

Methought of thee he sang a song,
But nothing now he saith for long.

The King’s Daughter.

And wottest thou where he will wend
With the world before him from end to end?

The Raven.

Before the battle joined that day
Steingrim a word to him did say:
“If we bring the banner back in peace,
In the King’s house much shall my fame increase;
Till there no guarded door shall be
But it shall open straight to me.
Then to the bower we twain shall go
Where thy love the golden seam doth sew.
I shall bring thee in and lay thine hand
About the neck of that lily-wand.
And let the King be lief or loth
One bed that night shall hold you both.”
[p. 131] Now north belike runs Steingrim’s prow,
And the rain and the wind from the south do blow.

The King’s Daughter.

Lo, fowl of death, my mother’s ring,
But the bridal song I must learn to sing.
And fain were I for a space alone,
For O the wind, and the wind doth moan.
And I must array the bridal bed,
Fair summer is on many a shield.
For O the rain, and the rain drifts red!
Fair sing the swans ’twixt firth and field.

Before the day from the night was born,
Fair summer is on many a shield.
She heard the blast of Steingrim’s horn,
Fair sing the swans ’twixt firth and field.
Before the day was waxen fair
Were Steingrim’s feet upon the stair.
“O bolt and bar they fall away,
But heavy are Steingrim’s feet to-day.”
“O heavy the feet of one who bears
The longing of days and the grief of years!
Lie down, lie down, thou lily-wand
That on thy neck I may lay his hand.
Whether the King be lief or loth
To-day one bed shall hold you both.
O thou art still as he is still,
So sore as ye longed to talk your fill.
And good it were that I depart,
Now heart is laid so close to heart.
For sure ye shall talk so left alone
Fair summer is on many a shield.
Of days to be below the stone.”
Fair sing the swans ’twixt firth and field.

C-29. “The God of the Poor” ( There was a lord that hight Maltete, / Among great lords he was right great, )

Published Fortnightly Review, August 1st, 1868, p. 145. Included in Poems by the Way, CW, IX, 156-63. HM 6427, ff. 82-92, copy in H. Sparling’s hand, who lists August 1878, p. 145 as the date and place of Fortnightly publication. According to May Morris (CW, IX, xxxv-xxxvi) written about the same time as the first draft of “The Wanderers,” published when Morris was asked for a contribution to the Fortnightly.

HM 6427, f. 82

THE GOD OF THE POOR.

There was a lord that hight Maltête,
Among great lords he was right great,
On poor folk trod he like the dirt,
None but God might do him hurt.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

With a grace of prayers sung loud and late
Many a widow’s house he ate,
Many a poor knight at his hands
Lost his house & narrow lands.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

He burnt the harvests many a time,
He made fair houses heaps of lime;
Whatso man loved wife or maid
Of Evil-head was sore afraid.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

He slew good men & spared the bad;
Too long a day the foul dog had,
As all dogs will have their day;
But God is e'en strong as man, I say.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

For a valiant knight, men called Boncoeur,
Had hope he should not long endure,
And gathered to him much good folk,
Hardy hearts to break the yoke.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

[f. 83]

But Boncoeur deemed it would be vain
To strive his guarded house to gain;
Therefore, within a little while,
He set himself to work by guile.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

He knew that Maltête loved right well
Red gold and heavy. If from hell
The Devil had cried, “Take this gold cup,”
Down had he gone to fetch it up.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

Twenty poor men’s lives were nought
To him, beside a ring well wrought.
The pommel of his hunting-knife
Was worth ten times a poor man’s life.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

A squire new-come from over-sea
Boncoeur called to him privily,
And when he knew his lord’s intent,
Clad like a churl therefrom he went.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

But when he came where dwelt Maltête,
With few words did he pass the gate,
For Maltête built him walls anew,
And, wageless, folk from field he drew.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

[f. 84]

Now passed the squire through this & that,
Till he came to where Sir Maltête sat,
And over red wine wagged his beard,
Then spoke the squire as one afeard.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Lord, give me grace, for privily
I have a little word for thee.”
“Speak out,” said Maltête, “have no fear,
For how can thy life to thee be dear?”
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Such an one I know,” he said,
“Who hideth store of money red.”
Maltête grinned at him cruelly.
“Thou florin-maker, come anigh.[”]
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“E’en such as thou once preached of gold,
And showed me lies in books full old,
Nought gat I but evil brass,
Therefore came he to the worser pass.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Hast thou will to see his skin?
I keep my heaviest marks therein,
For since nought else of wealth had he,
I deemed full well he owed it me.”
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

[f. 85]

“Nought know I of philosophy,”
The other said, “nor do I lie.
Before the moon begins to shine,
May all this heap of gold be thine.”
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Ten leagues from this a man there is,
Who seemeth to know but little bliss,
And yet full many a pound of gold
A dry well nigh his house doth hold.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“John-a-Wood is he called, fair lord,
Nor know I whence he hath this hoard.”
Then Maltête said, “As God made me,
A wizard over-bold is he!”
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“It were a good deed, as I am a knight,
To burn him in a fire bright;
This John-a-Wood shall surely die,
And his gold in my strong chest shall lie.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“This very night, I make mine avow,
The truth of this mine eyes shall know.”
Then spoke an old knight in the hall,
“Who knoweth what things may befall?[”]
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

[f. 86]

“I rede thee go with a great rout,
For thy foes ride thick about.”
“Thou & the devil may keep my foes,
Thou redest me this gold to lose.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.[]

“I shall go with but some four or five,
So shall I take my thief alive.
For if a great rout he shall see,
Will he not hide his wealth from me[?”]
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

The old knight muttered under his breath,
“Then mayhap ye shall but ride to death.”
But Maltête turned him quickly round,
“Bind me this gray-beard under ground!
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Because ye are old, ye think to jape.
Take heed, ye shall not long escape.
When I come back safe, old carle, perdie,
Thine head shall brush the linden-tree.”
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

Therewith he rode with his five men,
And Boncoeur’s spy, for good leagues ten, [ms. spie]
Until they left the beaten way,
And dusk it grew at end of day.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

[f. 87]

There, in a clearing of the wood,
Was John’s house, neither fair nor good.
In a ragged plot his house anigh,
Thin coleworts grew but wretchedly.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

John-a-Wood in his doorway sat,
Turning over this & that,
And chiefly how he best might thrive,
For he had will enough to live.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

Green coleworts from a wooden bowl
He ate; but careful was his soul,
For if he saw another day,
Thenceforth was he in Boncoeur’s pay.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

So when he saw how Maltête came,
He said, “Beginneth now the game!”
And in the doorway did he stand
Trembling, with hand joined fast to hand.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

When Maltête did this carle behold
Somewhat he doubted of his gold,
But cried out, “Where is now thy store
Thou hast through books of wicked lore?”
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

[f. 88]

Then said the poor man, right humbly,
“Fair lord, this was not made by me,
I found it in mine own dry well,
And had a mind thy grace to tell.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Therefrom, my lord, a cup I took
This day, that thou thereon mightst look,
And know me to be leal & true,”
And from his coat the cup he drew.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

Then Maltête took it in his hand,
Nor knew he ought that it used to stand
On Boncoeur’s cupboard many a day.
“Go on,” he said, “& show the way.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Give me thy gold, and thou shalt live,
Yea, in my house thou well mayst thrive.”
John turned about & [’]gan to go
Unto the wood with footsteps slow.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

But as they passed by John’s woodstack[,]
Growled Maltête, “Nothing now doth lack
Wherewith to light a merry fire,
And give my wizard all his hire.”
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

[f. 89]

The western sky was red as blood,
Darker grew the oaken-wood;
“Thief & carle, where are ye gone?
Why are we in the wood alone?
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“What is the sound of this mighty horn?
Ah, God! that ever I was born!
The basnets flash from tree to tree;
Show me, thou Christ, the way to flee!”
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

Boncoeur it was with fifty men,
Maltête was but one to ten,
And his own folk prayed for grace,
With empty hands in that lone place.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Grace shall ye have,” Boncoeur said,
“All of you but Evil-head.”
Lowly could that great lord be.
Who could pray so well as he?
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

Then could Maltête howl and cry,
Little will he had to die.
Soft was his speech, now it was late,
But who had will to save Maltête?
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

[f. 90]

They brought him to the house again,
And toward the road he looked in vain.
Lonely & bare was the great highway,
Under the gathering moonlight grey.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

They took off his gilt basnet,
That he should die there was no let;
They took off his coat of steel,
A damned man he well might feel.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Will ye all be rich as kings,
Lacking naught of all good things?”
“Nothing do we lack this eve;
When thou art dead, how can we grieve?”
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Let me drink water ere I die,
None henceforth comes my lips anigh.”
They brought it him in that bowl of wood.
He said, “This is but poor men’s blood!”
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

They brought it him in the cup of gold.
He said, “The women I have sold
Have wept it full of salt for me;
I shall die gaping thirstily.”
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

[f. 91]

On the threshold of that poor homestead
They smote off his Evil-head;
They set it high on a great spear,
And rode away with merry cheer.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

At the dawn, in lordly state,
They rode to Maltête’s castle-gate.
“Whoso willeth laud to win,
Make haste to let your masters in!”
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

Forthwith opened they the gate,
No man was sorry for Maltête.
Boncoeur conquered all his lands,
A good knight was he of his hands.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

Good men he loved, & hated bad;
Joyful days & sweet he had;
Good deeds did he plenteously;
Beneath him folk lived frank & free.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

He lived long, with merry days;
None said aught of him but praise.
God on him have full mercy;
A good knight merciful was he.
               Deus est Deus pauperum.

[Final two stanzas not in this draft were added in the published version.]

Poems by the Way, CW IX, pp. 156-63:

THE GOD OF THE POOR.

There was a lord that hight Maltete,
Among great lords he was right great,
On poor folk trod he like the dirt,
None but God might do him hurt.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

With a grace of prayers sung loud and late
Many a widow’s house he ate;
Many a poor knight at his hands
Lost his house and narrow lands.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

He burnt the harvests many a time,
He made fair houses heaps of lime;
Whatso man loved wife or maid
Of Evil-head was sore afraid.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

He slew good men and spared the bad;
Too long a day the foul dog had,
E’en as all dogs will have their day;
But God is as strong as man, I say.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

For a valiant knight, men called Boncoeur,
Had hope he should not long endure,
And gathered to him much good folk,
Hardy hearts to break the yoke.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

But Boncoeur deemed it would be vain
To strive his guarded house to gain;
Therefore, within a little while,
He set himself to work by guile.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

[p. 157] He knew that Maltete loved right well
Red gold and heavy. If from hell
The Devil had cried, “Take this gold cup,”
Down had he gone to fetch it up.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

Twenty poor men’s lives were nought
To him, beside a ring well wrought.
The pommel of his hunting-knife
Was worth ten times a poor man’s life.
                              Deus est Deus Pauperum.

A squire new-come from over-sea
Boncoeur called to him privily,
And when he knew his lord’s intent,
Clad like a churl therefrom he went.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

But when he came where dwelt Maltete,
With few words did he pass the gate,
For Maltete built him walls anew,
And, wageless, folk from field he drew.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

Now passed the squire through this and that,
Till he came to where Sir Maltete sat,
And over red wine wagged his beard:
Then spoke the squire as one afeard.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Lord, give me grace, for privily
I have a little word for thee.”
“Speak out,” said Maltete, “have no fear,
For how can thy life to thee be dear?”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

[p. 158] “Such an one I know,” he said,
“Who hideth store of money red.”
Maltete grinned at him cruelly:
“Thou florin-maker, come anigh.”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“E’en such as thou once preached of gold,
And showed me lies in books full old,
Nought gat I but evil brass,
Therefore came he to the worser pass.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Hast thou will to see his skin?
I keep my heaviest marks therein,
For since nought else of wealth had he,
I deemed full well he owed it me.”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Nought know I of philosophy,”
The other said, “nor do I lie.
Before the moon begins to shine,
May all this heap of gold be thine.”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Ten leagues from this a man there is,
Who seemeth to know but little bliss,
And yet full many a pound of gold
A dry well nigh his house doth hold.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“John-a-Wood is he called, fair lord,
Nor know I whence he hath this hoard.”
Then Maltete said, “As God made me,
A wizard over-bold is he!”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“It were a good deed, as I am a knight,
To burn him in a fire bright;
This John-a-Wood shall surely die,
And his gold in my strong chest shall lie.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

[p. 159] “This very night, I make mine avow,
The truth of this mine eyes shall know.”
Then spoke an old knight in the hall,
“Who knoweth what things may befall?”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“I rede thee go with a great rout,
For thy foes they ride thick about.”
“Thou and the devil may keep my foes,
Thou redest me this gold to lose.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.”

“I shall go with but some four or five,
So shall I take my thief alive.
For if a great rout he shall see,
Will he not hide his wealth from me?”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

The old knight muttered under his breath,
“Then mayhap ye shall but ride to death.”
But Maltete turned him quickly round,
“Bind me this gray-beard under ground!
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Because ye are old, ye think to jape.
Take heed, ye shall not long escape.
When I come back safe, old carle, perdie,
Thine head shall brush the linden-tree.”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

Therewith he rode with his five men,
And Boncoeur’s spy, for good leagues ten,
Until they left the beaten way,
And dusk it grew at end of day.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

There, in a clearing of the wood,
Was John’s house, neither fair nor good.
In a ragged plot his house anigh,
Thin coleworts grew but wretchedly.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

[p. 160] John-a-Wood in his doorway sat,
Turning over this and that,
And chiefly how he best might thrive,
For he had will enough to live.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

Green coleworts from a wooden bowl
He ate; but careful was his soul,
For if he saw another day,
Thenceforth was he in Boncoeur’s pay.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

So when he saw how Maltete came,
He said, “Beginneth now the game!”
And in the doorway did he stand
Trembling, with hand joined fast to hand.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

When Maltete did this carle behold
Somewhat he doubted of his gold,
But cried out, “Where is now thy store
Thou hast through books of wicked lore?”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

Then said the poor man, right humbly,
“Fair lord, this was not made by me,
I found it in mine own dry well,
And had a mind thy grace to tell.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Therefrom, my lord, a cup I took
This day, that thou thereon mightst look,
And know me to be leal and true,”
And from his coat the cup he drew.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

Then Maltete took it in his hand,
Nor knew he ought that it used to stand
On Boncoeur’s cupboard many a day.
“Go on,” he said, “and show the way.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

[p. 161] “Give me thy gold, and thou shalt live,
Yea, in my house thou well mayst thrive.”
John turned about and ’gan to go
Unto the wood with footsteps slow.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

But as they passed by John’s woodstack,
Growled Maltete, “Nothing now doth lack
Wherewith to light a merry fire,
And give my wizard all his hire.”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

The western sky was red as blood,
Darker grew the oaken-wood;
“Thief and carle, where are ye gone?
Why are we in the wood alone?
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“What is the sound of this mighty horn?
Ah, God! that ever I was born!
The basnets flash from tree to tree;
Show me, thou Christ, the way to flee!”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

Boncoeur it was with fifty men;
Maltete was but one to ten,
And his own folk prayed for grace,
With empty hands in that lone place.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Grace shall ye have,” Boncoeur said,
“All of you but Evil-head.”
Lowly could that great lord be,
Who could pray so well as he?
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

[ p. 162] Then could Maltete howl and cry,
Little will he had to die.
Soft was his speech, now it was late,
But who had will to save Maltete?
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

They brought him to the house again,
And toward the road he looked in vain.
Lonely and bare was the great highway,
Under the gathering moonlight grey.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

They took off his gilt basnet,
That he should die there was no let;
They took off his coat of steel,
A damned man he well might feel.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Will ye all be rich as kings,
Lacking naught of all good things?”
“Nothing do we lack this eve;
When thou art dead, how can we grieve?”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

“Let me drink water ere I die,
None henceforth comes my lips anigh.”
They brought it him in that bowl of wood.
He said, “This is but poor men’s blood!”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

They brought it him in the cup of gold.
He said, “The women I have sold
Have wept it full of salt for me;
I shall die gaping thirstily.”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

On the threshold of that poor homestead
They smote off his evil head;
They set it high on a great spear,
And rode away with merry cheer.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

[p. 163] At the dawn, in lordly state,
They rode to Maltete’s castle-gate.
“Whoso willeth laud to win,
Make haste to let your masters in!”
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

Forthwith opened they the gate,
No man was sorry for Maltete.
Boncoeur conquered all his lands,
A good knight was he of his hands.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

Good men he loved, and hated bad;
Joyful days and sweet he had;
Good deeds did he plenteously;
Beneath him folk lived frank and free.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

He lived long, with merry days;
None said aught of him but praise.
God on him have full mercy;
A good knight merciful was he.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

The great lord, called Maltete, is dead;
Grass grows above his feet and head,
And a holly-bush grows up between
His rib-bones gotten white and clean.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

A carle’s sheep-dog certainly
Is a mightier thing than he.
Till London-bridge shall cross the Nen,
Take we heed of such-like men.
                              Deus est Deus pauperum.

C-30. “The Two Sides of the River” ( The Youths: O winter, O white winter wert thou gone / No more within the wilds were I alone )

Placed as the first poem in A Book of Verse, 1870, 1-6, and published in the Fortnightly Review, October, 1868, p. 379-82. Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 135-39. HM 6478, ff. 58-63, copied by Georgiana Burne-Jones and marked by Morris for the printer.

According to May Morris (CW, IX, xxxvi), this was a rejected portion of “The Man Who Never Laughed Again.”

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 1]
The Two Sides of the River

The Youths.
O winter, O white winter, wert thou gone
No more within the wilds were I alone
Leaping with bent bow over stock and stone!

No more alone my love the lamp should burn,

Watching the weary spindle twist and turn,
Or o’er the web hold back he r tears and years:
O winter, O white winter, wert thou gone!

The Maidens.
Sweet thoughts fly swiflier than the drifting snow,
And with the twisting thread sweet longings grow,
And o’er the web sweet pictures come and go
For no white winter are we long alone.

[p. 2]
The Youths.
O stream so changed, what hast thou done to me,
That I thy glittering ford no more can see
Wreathing with white her fair feet lovingly?

So in the rain she stands, and looking down
With frightened eyes upon thy whirlpools brown
Drops to her feet again her girded gown.
O hurrying turbid stream, what hast thou done?

The Maidens.
The clouds lift, telling of a happier day
When through the thin stream I shall take my way,
Girt round with gold, and garlanded with may
What rushing stream can keep us long alone?

The Youths.
O burning Sun, O master of unrest
Why must we, toiling, cast away the best,
Now when the bird sleeps by her empty nest?

See with my garland lying at her feet,
In lonely labour stands mine own my sweet
Above the quern half-filled with half-ground wheat.
O red taskmaster that thy flames were done!

[p. 3]
The Maidens.
O love, to-night across the halfshorn plain
Shall I not got to meet the yellow wain,
A look of love at end of toil to gain?
What flaming sun can keep us long alone?

The Youths.
Tomorrow said I is grape-gathering o’er
Tomorrow, and our loves are twinned no more—
Tomorrow came, to bring us woe and war.

What have I done, that I should stand with these
Hearkening the dread shouts borne upon the breeze
While she, far-off, sits weeping neath her trees?
Alas, O kings, what is it ye have done?

The Maidens.
Come love, delay not, come, and slay my dread!
Already is the banquet-table spread;
In the cool chamber flower-strewn is my bed:
Come love, what king shall keep us long alone?

The Youths.
O city city, open thou thy gate!
See, with life snatched from out the hand of fate,
How on thy glittering triumph I must wait!

Are not her hands stretched out to me? her eyes,
Grow they not weary as each new hope dies,
And lone before her still the long road lies
O golden city, fain would I be gone!

The Maidens.
Ah, thou art happy, amid shouts and songs
And all that unto conquering men belongs
Night hath no fear for me, and day no wrongs
What brazen city-gates can keep us lone?

The Youths.
O long long road, how bare thou art, and grey!
Hill after hill thou climbest, and the day
Is ended now, O moonlit endless way.

And she is standing where the rushes grow,
And still with white hand shades her anxious brow

Though neath the world the sun is fallen now
O dreary road, when will thy leagues be done?

The Maidens.
O tremblest thou grey road, or do my feet
Tremble with joy thy flinty face to meet?
Because my love’s eyes soon mine eyes shall greet
No heart thou hast to keep us long alone

[p. 5]
The Youths.
O wilt thou ne’er depart, thou heavy night?
When will thy slaying bring on the morning bright,
That leads my weary feet to my delight

Why lingerest thou, filling with wandering fears
My lone love’s tired heart; her eyes with tears
For thoughts like sorrow for the vanished years?
Weaver of ill thoughts, when wilt thou begone?

The Maidens.
Love, to the east are thin eyes turned as mine
In patient watching for the night’s decline?
And hast thou noted this grey widening line?
Can any darkness keep us long alone?

The Youths.
O day, O day, is it a little thing
That thou so long unto thy life must cling
Because I gave thee such a welcoming?

I called thee king of all felicity
I praised thee, that thou broughtest joy so nigh
Thine hours are turned to years, thou wilt not die
O day so longed for, would that thou wert gone

[p. 6]

The Maidens.
The light fails, love; the long day soon shall be
Nought but a pensive happy memory
Blessed for the tales it told to thee and me
How hard it was, O love, to be alone.

the end of the Two Sides of the River

HM6478, ff. 58-63

---The Two Sides of the River.

               The Youths.
O Winter, O white winter, wert thou gone
No more within the wilds were I alone
Leaping with bent bow over stock and stone!

No more alone my love the lamp should burn,
Watching the weary spindle twist and turn,
Or o’er the web hold back her tears and yearn,
O winter, O white winter, wert thou gone!

               The Maidens.
Sweet thoughts fly swiftlier than the drifting snow,
And with the twisting thread sweet longings grow,
And o’er the web sweet pictures come and go,
For no white winter are we long alone.

               The Youths.
O stream so changed, what hast thou done to me,
That I thy glittering ford no more can see
Wreathing with white her fair feet lovingly?

See, in the rain she stands, and, looking down
With frightened eyes upon thy whirlpools brown,
Drops to her feet again her girded gown.
O hurrying turbid stream, what hast thou done?

[f. 59] The Maidens.
The clouds lift, telling of a happier day
When through the thin stream I shall take my way,
Girt round with gold, and garlanded with may[,]
What rushing stream can keep us long alone?

               The Youths.
O burning Sun, O master of unrest[,]
Why must we, toiling, cast away the best,
Now, when the bird sleeps by her empty nest?

See, with my garland lying at her feet,
In lonely labour stands mine own, my sweet[,]
Above the quern half-filled with half-ground wheat.
O red taskmaster[,] that thy flames were done!

               The Maidens.
O love, tonight across the half-shorn plain
Shall I not go to meet the yellow wain,
A look of love at end of toil to gain?
What flaming sun can keep us long alone?

             The Youths.

Tomorrow, said I, is grape gathering o’er[;]
Tomorrow, and our loves are twinned no more--
Tomorrow came, to bring us woe and war.

What have I done, that I should stand with these
Hearkening the dread shouts borne upon the breeze,
While she, far off, sits weeping ’neath her trees?
Alas, O kings, what is it ye have done?

[f. 60] The Maidens.
Come, love, delay not, come, and slay my dread!
Already is the banquet table spread;
In the cool chamber flower-strewn is my bed:
Come[,] love, what king shall keep us long alone?

             The Youths.
O city[,] city, open thou thy gate!
See, with life snatched from out the hand of fate,
How on thy glittering triumph I must wait!

Are not her hands stretched out to me? Her eyes,
Grow they not weary as each new hope dies,
And lone before her still the long road lies?
O golden city, fain would I be gone!

             The Maidens.
And thou art happy, amid shouts and songs[,]
And all that unto conquering men belongs.
Night hath no fear for me and day no wrongs[.]
What brazen city gates can keep us, lone?

             The Youths.
O long, long road, how bare thou art, and grey!
Hill after hill thou climbest, and the day
Is ended now, O moonlit endless way[!]

And she is standing where the rushes grow,
And still with white hand shades her anxious brow,
Though [’]neath the world the sun is fallen now[,]
O dreary road, when will thy leagues be done?

[f. 61]     The Maidens.
O tremblest thou, grey road, or do my feet
Tremble with joy, thy flinty face to meet?
Because my love’s eyes soon mine eyes shall greet[,]
No heart thou hast to keep us long alone.

             The Youths.
O wilt thou ne’er depart, thou heavy night?
When will thy slaying bring on the morning bright,
That leads my weary feet to my delight?

Why lingerest thou, filling with wandering fears [? in ms.]
My lone love’s tired heart; her eyes with tears
For thoughts like sorrow for the vanished years?
Weaver of ill thoughts, when wilt thou be gone?

             The Maidens.
Love, to the east are thine eyes turned as mine,
In patient watching for the night’s decline?
And hast thou noted this grey widening line?
Can any darkness keep us long alone?

             The Youths.
O day, O day, is it a little thing
That thou so long unto thy life must cling,
Because I gave thee such a welcoming?

I called thee king of all felicity,
I praised thee that thou broughtest joy so nigh[;]
Thine hours are turned to years, thou wilt not die,
O day so longed for, would that thou wert gone!

[f. 62]              The Maidens.
The light fails, love; the long day soon shall be
Nought but a pensive happy memory
Blessed for the tales it told to thee and me.
How hard it was, O love, to be alone.

C-31. “On the Edge of the Wilderness” ( Puellae. Whence comest thou, and whither goest thou? / Abide! Abide! Longer the shadows grow; )

Published Fortnightly Review, April, 1869, 391-94. Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 146-48. HM 6427, ff. 73-74, in C. F. Murray’s hand. Could also be a revised early poem; see checklist of “Surviving Early Morris Poems,” The Early Poems of William Morris, no. 35.

HM 6427, ff. 73-74

On the edge of the Wilderness.

Puellae

Whence comest thou, and whither goest thou?
Abide, abide! longer the shadows grow;
What hopest thou the dark to thee will show?

Abide, abide! for we are happy here.

Amans

Why should I name the land across the sea
Wherein I first took hold on misery?
Why should I name the land that flees from me?

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.

Puellae

What wilt thou do within the desert place
Whereto thou turnest now thy careful face?
Stay but a while to tell us of thy case.

Abide, abide! for we are happy here.

Amans

What, nigh the journey’s end shall I abide,
When in the waste mine own love wanders wide,
When from all men for me she still doth hide?

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.

Puellae

Nay, nay; but rather she forgetteth thee,
To sit upon the shore of some warm sea,
Or in green gardens where sweet fountains be.

Abide, abide! for we are happy here.

Amans

Will ye then keep me from the wilderness,
Where I at least, alone with my distress,
The quiet land of changing dreams may bless?

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.

[f. 73v]

Puellae

Forget the false forgetter, and be wise,
And ’mid these clinging hands and loving eyes,
Dream, not in vain, thou knowest paradise.

Abide, abide! for we are happy here.

Amans

Ah! with your sweet eyes shorten not the day,
Nor let your gentle hands my journey stay!
Perchance love is not wholly cast away.

Let me depart, since ye are happy here[.]

Puellae

Pluck love away as thou wouldst pluck a thorn
From out thy flesh; for why shouldst thou be born
To bear a life so wasted and forlorn?

Abide, abide! for we are happy here.

Amans

Yea, why then was I born, since hope is pain,
And life a lingering death, and faith but vain,
And love the loss of all I seemed to gain?

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.

Puellae

Dost thou believe that this shall ever be[,]
That in our land no face thou e’er shalt see,
No voice thou e’er shalt hear to gladden thee?

Abide, abide! for we are happy here.

Amans

No longer do I know of good or bad,
I have forgotten that I once was glad;
I do but chase a dream that I have had.

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.

[f. 74]

Puellae

Stay! take one image for thy dreamful night;
Come look at her, who in the world’s despite
Weeps for delaying love and lost delight.

Abide, abide! for we are happy here.

Amans

Mock me not till tomorrow. Mock the dead--
They will not heed it, or turn round the head,
To note who faithless are, and who are wed.

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.

Puellae

We mock thee not. Hast thou not heard of those
Whose faithful love the loved heart holds so close,
That death must wait till one word lets it loose.

Abide, abide! for we are happy here.

Amans

I hear you not: the wind from off the waste
Sighs like a song that bids me make good haste
The wave of sweet forgetfulness to taste.

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.

Puellae

Come back! like such a singer is the wind,
As to a sad tune sings fair words and kind[,]
That he with happy tears all eyes may blind!

Abide, abide! for we are happy here.

[f. 74v]

Amans

Did I not hear her sweet voice cry from far,
That o’er the lonely waste fair fields there are,
Fair days that know not any change or care?

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.

Puellae

Oh, no, not far thou heardest her, but nigh--
Nigh, ’twixt the waste’s edge and the darkling sky.
Turn back again, too soon it is to die.

Abide! a little while be happy here.

Amans

How with the lapse of lone years could I strive,
And can I die now that thou biddest live?
What joy this space ’twixt birth and death can give.

Can we depart, who are so happy here?

C-32. “Love Fulfilled” ( Hast thou longed through weary days / For the sight of one loved face? )

Included as the sixth poem in A Book of Verse, 1870, 11-12, and published in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 139. HM 6427, ff. 64-65, Morris autographs, draft and fair copy titled “At Last”; ff. 62-63 and 66, copies in Georgiana Burne-Jones’s hand, marked for the printer. In f. 62, she removes the careful indentation.

HM 6427, f. 62 [ck. indents]

               Love Fulfilled

Hast thou longed through weary days
For the sight of one loved face,
Hast thou cried aloud for rest,
Mid the pain of sundering hours,
Cried aloud for sleep and death
Since the sweet unhoped for best
Was a shadow and a breath--
O, long now, for no fear lowers
O’er these faint feet-kissing flowers[,]
O, rest now; and yet in sleep
All thy longing shalt thou keep.

Thou shalt rest and have no fear
Of a dull awaking near,
Of a life for ever blind,
Uncontent and waste and wide.
Thou shalt wake & think it sweet
That thy love is near and kind
[f.63]  Sweeter still for lips to meet;
Sweetest, that thy heart doth hide
Longing all unsatisfied
With all longing’s answering
Howsoever close ye cling[.]

Thou rememberest how of old
Ere thy very pain grew cold
How thou might'st not measure bliss
E'en when eyes and hands drew nigh.
Thou rememberest all regret
For the scarce remembered kiss,
The lost dream of how they met,
Mouths once parched with misery.
Then seemed love born but to die,
Now unrest, pain, bliss are one.
Love, unhidden and alone.

HM 6427, f. 64

               At Last

Hast thou longed through leaden days
For the sight of any face?
       Hast thou cried aloud for rest
              Mid the pain of sundering hours
                    Cried aloud for sleep and death
       Since the sweet scarce hoped-for best
              Was a shadow and a breath?
                    Oh[,] long now! for no fear lowers
                    O’er these faint feet-kissing flowers;
O rest now! and yet in sleep
All thy love and longing keep!

Thou shalt rest and have no fear
Of a dull awaking near,
        Of a life for ever blind[,]
              Uncontent and waste and wide!
                 Thou shalt wake & think it sweet
        That thy love is near and kind,
              Sweeter still for lips to meet,
                 Sweetest that thy heart doth hide
                 Longing all unsatisfied
With all longing’s answering
Howsoever close ye cling.

Thou rememberest, how of old
E'en thy very pain grew cold
       And thou mightst not measure bliss
                  Een when eyes and hands drew nigh.
                  Thou rememberest all regret
       For the scarce remembered kiss[,]
                  The lost dream of how they met,
                  Mouths once parched with misery.
                  Then love seemed but born to die[.]
Now, unrest, pain, bliss, are one
Love unhidden and alone.
                                 W. M.

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 11]

Love Fulfilled

Hast thou longed through weary days
For the sight of one loved face,
Hast thou cried aloud for rest,
Mid the pain of sundering hours,
Cried aloud for sleep and death
Since the sweet unhoped for best
Was a shadow and a breath—
O, long now, for no fear lowers
O’er these fain feet-kissing flowers
O, rest now, and yet in sleep
All thy longing shalt thou keep.

Thou shalt rest, and have no fear
Of a dull awaking near,
Of a life for ever blind,
Uncontent and waste and wide.
Thou shalt wake, and think it sweet
That thy love is near and kind
Sweeter still for lips to meet;
Sweetest, that thine heart doth hide
Longing all unsatisfied
With all longing’s answering
Howsoever close ye cling

[p. 12]

Thou rememberest how of old
Een thy very pain grew cold
How thou might’st not measure bliss
Ee’n when eyes and hands draw nigh
Thou rememberest all regret
For the scarce remembered kiss,
The lost dream of how they met,
Mouths once parched with misery
Then seemed Love born but to die,
Now unrest, pain, bliss are one,
Love, unbidden and alone.

C-33. “Pain and Time Strive Not” ( What part of the dread eternity / Are those strange minutes that I gain, )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 187. HM 6427, f. 126a, Morris autograph. According to May Morris (CW, IX, xxxvi), written about 1870.

HM 6427, f. 126a

Pain and Time Strive Not.

What part of the dread eternity
         Are those strange minutes that I gain,
         Mazed with the doubt of love and pain,
When I thy delicate face may see,
                   A little while before farewell?

What share of the world’s yearning-tide
         That flash, when new day bare and white,
          Blots out my half-dream’s faint delight[,]
And there is nothing by my side,
                      And well remembered is farewell?

What drop in the grey flood of tears
         That time, when the long day toiled through,
          Worn out, shows nought for me to do,
And nothing worth my labour bears
                     The longing of that last farewell?

What pity from the heavens above,
            What heed from out eternity,
            What word from the swift world for me?
Speak, heed, and pity, O tender love,
                     Who knew’st the days before farewell!

CW, IX, 187

PAIN AND TIME STRIVE NOT.

What part of the dread eternity
Are those strange minutes that I gain,
Mazed with the doubt of love and pain,
When I thy delicate face may see,
A little while before farewell?

What share of the world’s yearning-tide
That flash, when new day bare and white
Blots out my half-dream’s faint delight,
And there is nothing by my side,
And well remembered is farewell?

What drop in the grey flood of tears
That time, when the long day toiled through,
Worn out, shows nought for me to do,
And nothing worth my labour bears
The longing of that last farewell?

What pity from the heavens above,
What heed from out eternity,
What word from the swift world for me?
Speak, heed, and pity, O tender love,
Who knew’st the days before farewell!

C-34. “Love’s Reward” ( It was a knight of the southern land / Rode forth upon the way )

Published Poems by the Way, CW, IX, 164-68. HM 6427, ff. 93-107. Three drafts in Morris’ hand, a rough draft ff. 93-95; a fair copy on ff. 96-101, signed “Kelmscott April 21st 1871”; and another draft on ff. 102-107. According to May Morris (CW, IX, xxxviii), this was written 1871 or 1872.

HM 6427, f. 102

Love's Reward.

It was a knight of the southern land
      Rode forth upon the way
When the birds sang sweet on either hand
      About the middle of the May.

But when he came to the lily-close[,]
      Thereby so fair a maiden stood,
That neither the lily nor the rose
      Seemed any longer fair nor good.

“All hail, thou rose and lily-bough!
      What dost thou weeping here[,]
For the days of May are sweet enow[,]
       And the nights of May are dear?”

“Well may I weep and make my moan,
      Who am bond and captive here;
Well may I weep who lie alone,
      Though May be waxen dear[.]”

“And is there none shall ransom thee,
      Mayst thou no borrow find?”
“Nay, what man may my borrow be[,]
      When all my wealth is left behind."

“Perchance some ring is left with thee,
      Some belt that did thy body bind?”
“Nay[,] no man may my borrow be,
      My rings and belt are left behind.”

“The shoes that the May-blooms kissed on thee
      Might yet be things to some men’s mind.”
[f. 103] “Nay[,] no man may my borrow be[,]
      My golden shoes are left behind.”

“The milk-white sark that covered thee
      A dear-bought token some should find.”
“Nay[,] no man may my borrow be[,]
      My silken sark is left behind.”

“The kiss of thy mouth and the love of thee
      Better than world’s wealth should I find.”
“Nay[,] thou mayst not my borrow be[,]
      For all my love is left behind."

“A year agone come Midsummer-night
      I woke by the Northern sea;
I lay and dreamed of my delight
      Till love no more would let me be.

“Seaward I went by night and cloud
       To hear the white swans sing;
But though they sang both clear and loud[,]
      I hearkened a sweeter thing.

“O sweet and sweet as none may tell
      Was the speech so close twixt lip and lip:
But fast, unseen[,] the black oars fell
      That drave to shore the rover’s ship.

“My love lay bloody on the strand
      Ere stars were waxen wan:
Naught lacketh graves the Northern land
      If today it lack a lovelier man.

“I sat and wept beside the mast
      [f. 104] When the stars were gone away.
Naught lacketh the Northland joy gone past
      If it lack the night and day.”

“Is there no place in any land
      Where thou wouldst rather be than here?”
“Yea, a lone grave on a cold sea-strand
      My heart for a little holdeth dear.”

“Of all the deeds that women do
      Is there none shall bring thee some delight?”
“To lie down and die where lay we two
      Upon Midsummer night.”

“I will bring thee there where thou wouldst be[,]
       A borrow shalt thou find.”
“Wherewith shall I reward it thee
      For wealth and good-hap left behind?”

“A kiss from lips that love not me,
      A goodnight somewhat kind;
A narrow house to share with thee
      When we leave the world behind.”

They have taken ship and sailed away
      Across the Southland main;
They have sailed by hills were green and gay,
      A land of goods and gain.

[f. 105] They have sailed by sea-cliffs stark and white
      And hillsides fair enow;
They have sailed by lands of little night
      Where great the groves did grow.

They have sailed by islands in the sea
      That the clouds lay thick about;
And into a main where few ships be
      Amidst of dread, and doubt.

With broken mast and battered side
      They drave amidst the tempest[’]s heart;
But why should death to these betide
      Whom love did hold so well apart?

The flood it drave them toward the strand,
      The ebb it drew them fro;
The swallowing seas that tore the land
      Cast them ashore and let them go.

“Is this the land[?] is this the land
      Where life and I must part a-twain?”
“Yea, this is e’en the sea-washed strand
      That made me yoke-fellow of pain.

“The strand is this[,] the sea is this,
      The grey bent and the mountains grey;
But no mound here his grave-mound is[;]
      Where have they borne my love away?”

“What man is this with shield and spear
      Comes riding down the bent to us?
A goodly man forsooth he were
      But for his visage piteous.”

[f. 106] “Ghost of my love so kind of yore[,]
      Art thou not somewhat gladder grown
To feel my feet upon this shore?
      O love, thou shalt not long be lone.”

“Ghost of my love, each day I come
      To see where God first wrought us wrong:
Now kind thou com’st to call me home,
      Be sure I shall not tarry long.”

“Come here, my love; come here for rest,
      So sore as my body longs for thee!
My heart shall beat against thy breast
      As arms of thine shall comfort me.”

“Love, let thy lips depart no more
      From those same eyes they once did kiss,
The very bosom wounded sore
      When sorrow clave the heart of bliss!”

O was it day, or was it night[,]
      As there they told their love again?
The high-tide of the sun’s delight[,]
      Or whirl of wind and drift of rain?

“Speak[,] sweet my love[,] of how it fell[,]
      And how thou cam’st across the sea,
And what kind heart hath served thee well,
      And who thy borrow there might be?”

Naught but the wind and sea made moan
      As hastily she turned her round;
From light clouds wept the morn alone[,]
      Not the dead corpse upon the ground.

[f. 107] “O look[,] my love, for here is he
      Who once of all the world was kind,
And led my sad heart o’er the sea!
      And now must he be left behind.”

She kissed his lips that yet did smile,
      She kissed his eyes that were not sad:
“O thou who sorrow didst beguile,
      And now wouldst have me wholly glad!

“A little gift is this,” she said,
       “Thou once hadst deemed great gift enow;
Yet surely shalt thou rest thine head
      Where I one day shall lie alow.

“There shalt thou wake to think of me,
      And by thy face my face shall find--, [earlier; not crossed out]
And I shall then thy borrow be
      When all the world is left behind.”
                  Kelmscott April 21st 1871


CW, IX, [pp. 164-68]

LOVE’S REWARD.

It was a knight of the southern land
Rode forth upon the way
When the birds sang sweet on either hand
About the middle of the May.

But when he came to the lily-close,
Thereby so fair a maiden stood,
That neither the lily nor the rose
Seemed any longer fair nor good.

“All hail, thou rose and lily-bough!
What dost thou weeping here,
For the days of May are sweet enow,
And the nights of May are dear?”

“Well may I weep and make my moan,
Who am bond and captive here;
Well may I weep who lie alone,
Though May be waxen dear.”

“And is there none shall ransom thee;
Mayst thou no borrow find?”
“Nay, what man may my borrow be,
When all my wealth is left behind?

“Perchance some ring is left with thee,
Some belt that did thy body bind?”
“Nay, no man may my borrow be,
My rings and belt are left behind.”

“The shoes that the May-blooms kissed on thee
Might yet be things to some men’s mind.”
“Nay, no man may my borrow be,
My golden shoes are left behind.”

[p. 165] “The milk-white sark that covered thee
A dear-bought token some should find.”
“Nay, no man may my borrow be,
My silken sark is left behind.”

“The kiss of thy mouth and the love of thee
Better than world’s wealth should I find.”
“Nay, thou mayst not my borrow be,
For all my love is left behind.

“A year agone come Midsummer-night
I woke by the Northern sea;
I lay and dreamed of my delight
Till love no more would let me be.

“Seaward I went by night and cloud
To hear the white swans sing;
But though they sang both clear and loud,
I hearkened a sweeter thing.

“O sweet and sweet as none may tell
Was the speech so close ’twixt lip and lip:
But fast, unseen, the black oars fell
That drave to shore the rover’s ship.

“My love lay bloody on the strand
Ere stars were waxen wan:
Naught lacketh graves the Northern land
If to-day it lack a lovelier man.

“I sat and wept beside the mast
When the stars were gone away.
Naught lacketh the Northland joy gone past
If it lack the night and day.”

[p. 166] “Is there no place in any land
Where thou wouldst rather be than here?”
“Yea, a lone grave on a cold sea-strand
My heart for a little holdeth dear.”

“Of all the deeds that women do
Is there none shall bring thee some delight?”
“To lie down and die where lay we two
Upon Midsummer night.”

“I will bring thee there where thou wouldst be,
A borrow shalt thou find.”
“Wherewith shall I reward it thee
For wealth and good-hap left behind?”

“A kiss from lips that love not me,
A good-night somewhat kind;
A narrow house to share with thee
When we leave the world behind.”

They have taken ship and sailed away
Across the Southland main;
They have sailed by hills were green and gay,
A land of goods and gain.

They have sailed by sea-cliffs stark and white
And hillsides fair enow;
They have sailed by lands of little night
Where great the groves did grow.

They have sailed by islands in the sea
That the clouds lay thick about;
And into a main where few ships be
Amidst of dread, and doubt.

With broken mast and battered side
They drave amidst the tempest’s heart;
But why should death to these betide
Whom love did hold so well apart?

[p. 167] The flood it drave them toward the strand,
The ebb it drew them fro;
The swallowing seas that tore the land
Cast them ashore and let them go.

“Is this the land? is this the land,
Where life and I must part a-twain?”
“Yea, this is e’en the sea-washed strand
That made me yoke-fellow of pain.

“The strand is this, the sea is this,
The grey bent and the mountains grey;
But no mound here his grave-mound is;
Where have they borne my love away?”

“What man is this with shield and spear
Comes riding down the bent to us?
A goodly man forsooth he were
But for his visage piteous.”

“Ghost of my love, so kind of yore,
Art thou not somewhat gladder grown
To feel my feet upon this shore?
O love, thou shalt not long be lone.”

“Ghost of my love, each day I come
To see where God first wrought us wrong:
Now kind thou com’st to call me home,
Be sure I shall not tarry long.”

“Come here, my love; come here for rest,
So sore as my body longs for thee!
My heart shall beat against thy breast
As arms of thine shall comfort me.”

“Love, let thy lips depart no more
From those same eyes they once did kiss,
The very bosom wounded sore
When sorrow clave the heart of bliss!”

[p. 168] O was it day, or was it night,
As there they told their love again?
The high-tide of the sun’s delight,
Or whirl of wind and drift of rain?

“Speak sweet, my love, of how it fell,
And how thou cam’st across the sea,
And what kind heart hath served thee well,
And who thy borrow there might be?”

Naught but the wind and sea made moan
As hastily she turned her round;
From light clouds wept the morn alone,
Not the dead corpse upon the ground.

“O look, my love, for here is he
Who once of all the world was kind,
And led my sad heart o’er the sea!
And now must he be left behind.”

She kissed his lips that yet did smile,
She kissed his eyes that were not sad:
“O thou who sorrow didst beguile,
And now wouldst have me wholly glad!

“A little gift is this,” she said,
“Thou once hadst deemed great gift enow;
Yet surely shalt thou rest thine head
Where I one day shall lie alow.

“There shalt thou wake to think of me,
And by thy face my face shall find;
And I shall then thy borrow be
When all the world is left behind.”

C-35. “Verses for Pictures: The Seasons: Day. Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter. Night )” ( Day. I am Day; I bring again / Life and glory, Love and pain: )

Published Academy, February 1, 1871 (with variant stanza for winter, and change in autumn passage as well). Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, in “Verses for Pictures,” 189. Society of Antiquaries, Soc. of A. MS. 984/6 contains a draft for all four seasons, in calligraphic script with initials not yet inserted.

Spring am I too swift of heart
Much to speak ere I depart
Ask the summer tide to prove
The abundance of my love.

Summer looked for long am I,
Such shall change or e're I die,
Prithee take it not amiss
Though I weary them with bliss.

Laden Autumn here I stand,
Worn of heart and weak of hand:
Say the word that sets me free,
Nought but rest seem good to me.

Ah shall Winter mend your case?
Set your teeth the wind to face,
Beat the snow, tread down the frost:
All is gained now all is lost.

HM 6427, ff. 127-28, Morris's autograph on white ruled paper; and 36920, A. MS., 1 verse for winter, “I am Winter that doth keep.”

May Morris reproduces the Academy version:

Ah! Shall winter mend your case?
Set your teeth the wind to face;
Beat the snow, tred down the frost!
All is gained when all is lost.

A single stanza also appears in HM 36920.

HM 36920
Morris autograph in ink on white paper
I am Winter that doth keep
Longing safe amidst of sleep:
Who shall say if I were dead
What should be remembered?

[possibly written out for someone who asked for a copy of his handwriting]

HM 6427, ff. 127-28

[f. 127]
       Verses for Pictures [red marked in pencil by each section]

            Day
I am Day; I bring again
Life and glory, Love and pain:
Awake, arise! – from death to death.
Through me the World’s tale quickeneth[.]

            Spring
Spring am I too soft of heart
Much to speak ere I depart:
Ask the Summer-tide to prove
The abundance of my love.

            Summer
Summer looked for long am I,
Much shall change or e’er I die.
Prithee take it not amiss
Though I weary thee with bliss.

            Autumn
Laden Autumn here I stand
Worn of heart, and weak of hand:
Nought but rest seems good to me,
Speak the word that sets me free.

            Winter
I am Winter, that do keep
Longing safe amidst of sleep:
Who shall say if I were dead
What should be remembered?

            Night
I am Night: I bring again
Hope of pleasure, rest from pain:
Thoughts unsaid ’twixt Life & Death
My fruitful silence quickeneth.

F. 128, a fair copy but without the title “Verses for Pictures,” seems an earlier copy than f. 127 because of the heavy corrections on “Night”; in the f. 128 Night, “My fruitful silence quickeneth” was corrected to “Sometimes my silence quickeneth,” and in f. 127 “Sometimes my silence quickeneth” is written out and corrected to “My fruitful silence quickeneth.”

  [f.128]

               Day
I am Day: I bring again
Life and Glory, Love and Pain.
Awake, arise! – from death to death
Still Through me the World’s tale quickeneth.

            Spring
Spring am I too soft of heart
Much to speak ere I depart:
Ask the summer-tide to prove
The abundance of my love!

            Summer
Summer looked for long am I[,]
Much shall change or e[’]er I die:
Prithee take it not amiss
Though I weary thee with bliss[-]-

            Autumn
Laden Autumn here I stand
Worn of heart, and weak of hand;
Nought but rest seems good to me[--]
Speak the word that sets me free!

            Winter
I am Winter, that doth keep
Longing safe amidst of sleep:
Who shall say if I were dead
What should be remembered?

            Night
I am Night, I bring again
Hope of pleasure[,] rest from pain[.]
Thoughts unsaid, ’twixt Life and Death
Sometimes my silence quickeneth[.]

[ In "Day," Still the World’s tale quickeneth. changed to Through me the World’s tale quickeneth. Night is also heavily corrected; Some times my silence quickeneth becomes
My fruitful silence quickeneth.]

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 40]

SPRING am I, too soft of heart
Much to speak ere I depart
Ask the summer-tide to prove
The abundance of my love.

SUMMER looked for long am I
Much shall change or ere I die
Pritee take it not amiss
Though I weary thee with bliss!

Laden AUTUMN here I stand
Weak of heart and worn of hand;
Speak the word that sets me fre,
Nought but rest seems good to me

Ah, shall WINTER mend your case?
Set your teeth the wind to face,
Beat the snow down, tread the frost,
All is gained when all is lost.

C-36. “Echoes of Love’s House” ( Love gives every gift whereby we long to live / Love takes every gift, and nothing back doth give )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 103. HM 6427, f. 55v, unfinished draft; f. 23, Morris autograph fair copy dated March 10, 1873.

HM 6427, f. 23

Echoes of Love's House.

Love gives every gift whereby we long to live;
“Love takes every gift and nothing back doth give.”

Love unlocks the lips that else were ever dumb:
“Love locks up the lips whence all things good might come.”

Love makes clear the eyes that else would never see:
“Love makes blind the eyes to all but me and thee[.]”

Love turns life to joy till nought is left to gain:
“Love turns life to woe till hope is nought and vain[.]”

Love, who changest all[,] change me nevermore!
“Love, who changest all, change my sorrow sore!”

Love burns up the world to changeless heaven and blest,
“Love burns up the world to a void of all unrest[.]”

And there we twain are left, and no more work we need:
“And I am left alone--and who my work shall heed?”

Ah! I praise thee, Love, for utter joyance won!
“And is my praise nought worth for all my life undone?”

                      WM March 10th 1873

HM 6427, f. 55

Love gives every gift whereby we long to live[;]
Love take[s] every gift, and nothing back doth give[.]
Love unlocks the lips that else were ever dumb[:]
Love locks up the lips whence all things good might come[.]
Love makes clear the eyes that else would never see[:]
Love makes blind the eyes to all but me & thee[.]
Love turns life to joy till nought is left to gain[:]
Love turns life to woe that hope is nought & vain.
Love, who changest all[,] change me nevermore!
Love[,] who changest all[,] change my sorrow sore[!]
Love burns up the world to changeless heaven and blest[,]
Love burns up the world to [a] void of all unrest[.]
And there we twain are left [and] no more work we need[:]
And I am left alone, and who my work shall heed[?]
Ah! I praise thee much for utter joyance won[!]
I praise thee more for all my life undone. [omission, check]

WM March 10th 1873

CW, IX, 103.

ECHOES OF LOVE’S HOUSE.

Love gives every gift whereby we long to live
“Love takes every gift, and nothing back doth give.”

Love unlocks the lips that else were ever dumb:
“Love locks up the lips whence all things good might come.”

Love makes clear the eyes that else would never see:
“Love makes blind the eyes to all but me and thee.”

Love turns life to joy till nought is left to gain:
“Love turns life to woe till hope is nought and vain.”

Love, who changest all, change me nevermore!
“Love, who changest all, change my sorrow sore!”

Love burns up the world to changeless heaven and blest,
“Love burns up the world to a void of all unrest.”

And there we twain are left, and no more work we need:
“And I am left alone, and who my work shall heed?”

Ah! I praise thee, Love, for utter joyance won!
“And is my praise nought worth for all my life undone?”

C-37. “Of the Wooing of Hallbiorn the Strong” ( A story from the Land-Settling Book of Iceland, Chapter XXX. At Deildar-Tongue in the autumn-tide, / So many times comes summer again, )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 95-102. HM 6427, ff. 8-19, fair copy; ff. 20-22, partial draft. According to May Morris, the Northern poems of Poems By the Way were all written in the early 70’s. See also List of Morris' Translations, no. 1.

HM6427, f. 8

The Wooing of Hallbiorn the Strong.
A Story from the Land-Settling Book of Iceland, Chapter XXX.

At Deildar-Tongue in the autumn-tide[,]
         So many times over comes summer again,
Stood Odd of Tongue his door beside[.]
         What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Dim and dusk the day was grown[,]
As he heard his folded wethers moan[.]

Then through the garth a man drew near[,]
With painted shield and gold-wrought spear[.]

Good was his horse and grand his gear,
And his girths were wet with Whitewater.

“Hail[,] Master Odd, live blithe and long!
How fare the folk at Deildar-Tongue?”

“All hail[,] thou Hallbiorn the Strong!
How fare the folk by the Brothers’-Tongue?”

“Meat have we there, and drink and fire[,]
Nor lack all things that we desire.

But by the other Whitewater
Of Hallgerd many a tale we hear.”

“Tales enow may my daughter make
If too many words be said for her sake.”

“What saith thine heart to a word of mine,
That I deem thy daughter fair and fine?

[f. 9] Fair and fine for a bride is she,
And I fain would have her home with me.”

“Full many a word that at noon goes forth
Comes home at even little worth.

Now winter treadeth on autumn[-]tide,
So here till the spring shalt thou abide.

Then if thy mind be changed no whit,
And ye still will wed, see ye to it!

And on the first of summer days,
A wedded man, ye may go your ways.

Yet look, howso the thing will fall[,]
My hand shall meddle nought at all.

Lo[,] now the night and rain draweth up[,]
And within doors glimmer stoop & cup.

And hark[,] a little sound I know[,]
The laugh of Snaebiorn’s fiddle-bow.

My sister’s son, and a craftsman good[,]
When the red rain drives through the iron wood.”

Hallbiorn laughed, and followed in[,]
And a merry feast there did begin.

Hallgerd’s hands undid his weed,
Hallgerd’s hands poured out the mead.

Her fingers at his breast he felt[,]
[f. 10] As her hair fell down about his belt.

Her fingers with the cup he took[,]
And o’er its rim at her did look.

Cold cup[,] warm hand, and fingers slim[,]
Before his eyes were waxen dim.

And if the feast were foul or fair[,]
He knew not, save that she was there[.]

He knew not if men laughed or wept[,]
While still [’]twixt wall and dais she stept.

Whether she went or stood that eve[,]
Not once his eyes her face did leave.

But Snaebiorn laughed and Snaebiorn sang,
And sweet his smitten fiddle rang.

And Hallgerd stood beside him there,
              So many times over comes summer again,
Nor ever once he turned to her,
              What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Master Odd on the morrow spake,
              So many times over comes summer again[.]
Hearken[,] O guest[,] if ye be awake!”
              What healing in summer if winter be vain?

“Sure ye champions of the South
Speak many things from a silent mouth.

[f. 11] And thine[,] meseems[,] last night did pray
That ye might well be wed today.

The year’s ingathering feast it is[,]
A goodly day to give thee bliss.

Come hither, daughter, fine and fair,
Here is a wooer from Whitewater.

East away hath he gotten fame,
And his father’s name is e’en my name.

Will ye lay hand within his hand[,]
That blossoming fair our house may stand?”

She laid her hand within his hand[;]
White she was as the lily-wand.

Low sang Snaebiorn[’]s brand in its sheath[,]
And his lips were waxen grey as death.

“Snaebiorn, sing us a song of worth,
If your song must be silent from now henceforth.”

Clear and loud his voice outrang[,]
And a song of worth at the wedding he sang.

“Sharp sword,” he sang, “and death is sure[.]”
              So many times over comes summer again[,]
“But love doth over all endure.”
              What healing in summer if winter be vain?

[f. 12] Now winter cometh and weareth away,
              So many times over comes summer again.
And glad is Hallbiorn many a day.
              What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Full soft he lay his love beside[;]
But dark are the days of wintertide.

Dark are the days, and the nights are long,
And sweet and fair was Snaebiorn’s song.

Many a time he talked with her[,]
Till they deemed the summer-tide was there.

And they forgat the wind-swept ways
And angry fords of the flitting-days.

While the north wind swept the hillside there
They forgat the other Whitewater[.]

While nights at Deildar-Tongue were long,
They clean forgat the Brothers-Tongue[.]

But whatso falleth [’]twixt Hell and Home,
              So many times over comes summer again,
Full surely again shall summer come.
              What healing in summer if winter be vain?

To Odd spake Hallbiorn on a day
              So many times over comes summer again,
“Gone is the snow from every way.[”]
              What healing in summer if winter be vain?

[f. 13] "Now green is grown Whitewater-side[,]
And I to Whitewater will ride.”

Quoth Odd, “Well fare thou winter-guest,
May thine own Whitewater be best.

Well is a man’s purse better at home
Than open where all folk go and come.”

“Come ye carles of the South Country,
Now shall we go our kin to see!

For the lambs are bleating in the South[,]
And the salmon swims towards Olfus mouth.

Girth and graithe and gather your gear!
And ho for the other Whitewater!”

Bright was the morn as bright might be[,]
And Snaebiorn rode to the North Country.

And Odd to Reykholt is gone forth
To see if his mares be ought of worth.

But Hallbiorn into the bower is gone
And there sat Hallgerd all alone.

She was not dight to go nor ride
She had no joy of the summer-tide[.]

Silent she sat and combed her hair[,]
That fell all round about her there.

The slant beam lay upon her head[,]
[f. 14] And gilt her golden locks to red.

He gazed at her with hungry eyes
And fluttering did his heart arise.

“Full hot,” he said, “is the sun to-day[,]
And the snow is gone from the mountain-way.

The king-cup grows above the grass,
And through the wood do the thrushes pass.”

Of all his words she hearkened none[,]
But combed her hair amidst the sun.

“The laden beasts stand in the garth
And their heads are turned to Helliskarth.”

The sun was falling on her knee,
And she combed her gold hair silently.

“To-morrow great will be the cheer
At the Brothers[-]Tongue by Whitewater[.]”

From her folded lap the sunbeam slid[;]
She combed her hair[,] and the word she hid.

“Come, love; is the way so long and drear
From Whitewater to Whitewater?”

The sunbeam lay upon the floor[;]
She combed her hair and spake no more[.]

He drew her by the lily hand:
“I love thee better than all the land.”

[f. 15] He drew her by the shoulders sweet:
“My threshold is but for thy feet.”

He drew her by the yellow hair:
“O why wert thou so deadly fair?

“O am I wedded to death?” he cried[,]
“Is the Dead-strand come to Whitewater side?”

And the sun was fading from the room[,]
But her eyes were bright in the change and the gloom.

“Sharp sword,” she sang, “and death is sure,
But over all doth love endure.”

She stood up shining in her place
And laughed beneath his deadly face.

Instead of the sunbeam gleamed a brand[,]
The hilts were hard in Hallbiorn’s hand:

The bitter point was in Hallgerd[’]s breast
That Snaebiorn’s lips of love had pressed.

Morn and noon, and nones passed o[’]er[,]
And the sun is far from the bower door.

To-morrow morn shall the sun come back[,]
              So many times over comes summer again[,]
But Hallgerd’s feet the floor shall lack.
              What healing in summer if winter be vain?

[f. 16] Now Hallbiorn’s house-carles ride full fast,
              So many times over comes summer again[,]
Till many a mile of way is past[.]
              What healing in summer if winter be vain?

But when they came over Oxridges,
’Twas, “Where shall we give our horses ease?”

When Shieldbroad-side was well in sight[,]
’Twas, “Where shall we lay our heads to-night[?]”

Hallbiorn turned and raised his head;
“Under the stones of the Waste,” he said.

Quoth one, “The clatter of hoofs anigh.”
Quoth the other, “Spears against the sky!”

“Hither ride men from the Wells apace;
Spur we fast to a kindlier place.”

Down from his horse leapt Hallbiorn straight;
“Why should the supper of Odin wait?

Weary and chased I will not come
To the table of my fathers’ home.”

With that came Snaebiorn, who but he,
And twelve in all was his company.

Snaebiorn[’]s folk were on their feet[;]
He spake no word as they did meet.

They fought upon the northern hill:
Five are the howes men see there still.

[f. 17] Three men of Snaebiorn[’]s fell to earth
And Hallbiorn’s twain that were of worth.

And never a word did Snaebiorn say[,]
Till Hallbiorn’s foot he smote away.

Then Hallbiorn cried: “Come, fellow of mine[,]
To the southern bent where the sun doth shine.”

Tottering into the sun he went[,]
And slew two more upon the bent.

And on the bent where dead he lay
Three howes do men behold today.

And never a word spake Snaebiorn yet[,]
Till in his saddle he was set.

Nor was there any heard his voice[,]
        So many times over comes summer again[,]
Till he came to his ship in Grimsar-oyce[.]
        What healing in summer if winter be vain[?]

On so fair a day they hoisted sail,
              So many times over comes summer again[,]

And for Norway well did the wind avail.
              What healing in summer if winter be vain?

But Snaebiorn looked aloft and said:
“I see in the sail a stripe of red:

Murder meseems is the name of it
And ugly things about it flit.

[f. 18] A stripe of blue in the sail I see;
Cold death of men it seems to me.

And next I see a stripe of black[,]
For a life fulfilled of bitter lack.”

Quoth one, “So fair a wind doth blow
That we shall see Norway soon enow.”

“Be blithe[,] O shipmate,” Snaebiorn said,
“Tell Hacon the Earl that I be dead.”

About the midst of the Iceland main
Round veered the wind to the east again.

And west they drave, and long they ran
Till they saw a land was white and wan.

“Yea,” Snaebiorn said, “my home it is,
Ye bear a man shall have no bliss.

Far off beside the Greekish sea
The maidens pluck the grapes in glee.

Green groweth the wheat in the English [land]
And the honey[-]bee flieth on every hand.

In Norway by the cheaping town
The laden beasts go up and down.

In Iceland many a mead they mow
And Hallgerd[’]s grave grows green enow.

But these are Gunnbiorn’s skerries wan
[f. 19] Meet harbour for a hapless man.

In all lands else is love alive[,]
But here is nought with grief to strive.

Fail not for a while[,] O eastern wind[,]
For nought but grief is left behind.

And here before [me] a rest I know,
          So many times over comes summer again[,]
A grave beneath the Greenland snow.”
         What healing in summer if winter be vain[?]

HM 6427, ff. 20-22 [correct]

OF THE WOOING OF HALLBIORN THE STRONG.
A STORY FROM THE LAND-SETTLING BOOK OF ICELAND, CHAPTER XXX.

[f. 20] At Deildar-Tongue in the autumn-tide,
So many times over comes summer again,
Stood Odd of Tongue his door beside.
What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Dim and dusk the day was grown,
As he heard his folded wethers moan[.]

Then through the garth a man drew near,
With painted shield and gold-wrought spear.

Good was his horse and grand his gear,
And his girths were wet with Whitewater.

“Hail[,] Master Odd, live blithe and long!
How fare the folk at Deildar-Tongue?”

“All hail, thou Hallbiorn the Strong!
How fare the folk by the Brothers’-Tongue?”

“Meat have we there, and drink and fire,
Nor lack all things that we desire.

But by the other Whitewater
Of Hallgerd many a tale we hear.”

“Tales enow may my daughter make
If too many words be said for her sake.”

“What saith thine heart to a word of mine,
That I deem thy daughter fair and fine?

Fair and fine for a bride is she,
And I fain would have her home with me.”

“Full many a word that at noon goes forth
Comes home at even little worth.

Now winter treadeth on autumn[-]tide,
So here till the spring shalt thou abide.

Then if thy mind be changed no whit,
And ye still will wed, see ye to it!

And on the first of summer days,
A wedded man, ye may go your ways.

Yet look, howso the thing will fall[,]
My hand shall meddle nought at all.

Lo[,] now the night and rain draweth up[,]
And within doors glimmer stoop & cup.

And hark[,] a little sound I know[,]
The laugh of Snaebiorn’s fiddle-bow.

My sister’s son, and a craftsman good[,]
When the red rain drives through the iron wood.”

Hallbiorn laughed, and followed in[,]
And a merry feast there did begin.

Hallgerd’s hands undid his weed,
Hallgerd’s hands poured out the mead.

Her fingers at his breast he felt[,]
As her hair fell down about his belt.

Her fingers with the cup he took[,]
And o’er its rim at her did look.

Cold cup[,] warm hand, and fingers slim[,]
Before his eyes were waxen dim.

And if the feast were foul or fair[,]
He knew not, save that she was there[.]

He knew not if men laughed or wept[,]
While still [’]twixt wall and dais she stept.

Whether she went or stood that eve[,]
Not once his eyes her face did leave.

But Snaebiorn laughed and Snaebiorn sang,
And sweet his smitten fiddle rang.

And Hallgerd stood beside him there,
      So many times over comes summer again,
Nor ever once he turned to her[,]
      What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Master Odd on the morrow spake,
      So many times over comes summer again[.]
Hearken[,] O guest[,] if ye be awake!”
      What healing in summer if winter be vain?

“Sure ye champions of the South
Speak many things from a silent mouth.

And thine[,] meseems[,] last night did pray
That ye might well be wed today.

The year’s ingathering feast it is[,]
A goodly day to give thee bliss.

Come hither, daughter, fine and fair,
Here is a wooer from Whitewater.

East away hath he gotten fame,
And his father’s name is e’en my name.

Will ye lay hand within his hand[,]
That blossoming fair our house may stand?”

She laid her hand within his hand[;]
White she was as the lily-wand.

Low sang Snaebiorn[’]s brand in its sheath[,]
And his lips were waxen grey as death.

“Snaebiorn, sing us a song of worth,
If your song must be silent from now henceforth.”

Clear and loud his voice outrang[,]
And a song of worth at the wedding he sang.

“Sharp sword,” he sang, “and death is sure[.]”
      So many times over comes summer again[,]
“But love doth over all endure.”
      What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Now winter cometh and weareth away,
      So many times over comes summer again.
And glad is Hallbiorn many a day.
      What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Full soft he lay his love beside[;]
But dark are the days of wintertide.

Dark are the days, and the nights are long,
And sweet and fair was Snaebiorn’s song.

Many a time he talked with her[,]
Till they deemed the summer-tide was there.

And they forgat the wind-swept ways
And angry fords of the flitting-days.

While the north wind swept the hillside there
They forgat the other Whitewater[.]

While nights at Deildar-Tongue were long,
They clean forgat the Brothers-Tongue[.]

But whatso falleth ’twixt Hell and Home,
      So many times over comes summer again,
Full surely again shall summer come.
      What healing in summer if winter be vain?

To Odd spake Hallbiorn on a day
      So many times over comes summer again,
[“]Gone is the snow from every way.[”]
      What healing in summer if winter be vain?

"Now green is grown Whitewater-side[,]
And I to Whitewater will ride.”

Quoth Odd, “Well fare thou winter-guest,
May thine own Whitewater be best.

Well is a man’s purse better at home
Than open where all folk go and come.”

“Come ye carles of the South Country,
Now shall we go our kin to see!

For the lambs are bleating in the South[,]
And the salmon swims towards Olfus-mouth.

Girth and graithe and gather your gear!
And ho for the other Whitewater!”

Bright was the morn as bright might be[,]
And Snaebiorn rode to the North Country.

And Odd to Reykholt is gone forth
To see if his mares be ought of worth.

But Hallbiorn into the bower is gone
And there sat Hallgerd all alone.

She was not dight to go nor ride
She had no joy of the summer-tide[.]

Silent she sat and combed her hair[,]
That fell all round about her there.

The slant beam lay upon her head[,]
And gilt her golden locks to red.

He gazed at her with hungry eyes
And fluttering did his heart arise.

“Full hot,” he said, “is the sun to-day[,]
And the snow is gone from the mountain-way.

The king-cup grows above the grass,
And through the wood do the thrushes pass.”

Of all his words she hearkened none[,]
But combed her hair amidst the sun.

“The laden beasts stand in the garth
And their heads are turned to Helliskarth.”

The sun was falling on her knee,
And she combed her gold hair silently.

“To-morrow great will be the cheer
At the Brothers[-]Tongue by Whitewater[.]”

From her folded lap the sunbeam slid[;]
She combed her hair[,] and the word she hid.

“Come, love; is the way so long and drear
From Whitewater to Whitewater?”

The sunbeam lay upon the floor[;]
She combed her hair, and spake no more[.]

He drew her by the lily hand:
“I love thee better than all the land.”

CW, IX, 95-102

OF THE WOOING OF HALLBIORN THE STRONG.
A STORY FROM THE LAND-SETTLING BOOK OF ICELAND, CHAPTER XXX.

At Deildar-Tongue in the autumn-tide,
So many times over comes summer again,
Stood Odd of Tongue his door beside.
What healing in summer if winter be vain?
Dim and dusk the day was grown,
As he heard his folded wethers moan.
Then through the garth a man drew near,
With painted shield and gold-wrought spear.
Good was his horse and grand his gear,
And his girths were wet with Whitewater.
“Hail, Master Odd, live blithe and long!
How fare the folk at Deildar-Tongue?”
“All hail, thou Hallbiorn the Strong!
How fare the folk by the Brothers’-Tongue?”
“Meat have we there, and drink and fire,
Nor lack all things that we desire.
But by the other Whitewater
Of Hallgerd many a tale we hear.”
“Tales enow may my daughter make
If too many words be said for her sake.”
“What saith thine heart to a word of mine,
That I deem thy daughter fair and fine?
Fair and fine for a bride is she,
And I fain would have her home with me.”
“Full many a word that at noon goes forth
Comes home at even little worth.
Now winter treadeth on autumn-tide,
So here till the spring shalt thou abide.
Then if thy mind be changed no whit,
And ye still will wed, see ye to it!
And on the first of summer days,
[p. 96] A wedded man, ye may go your ways.
Yet look, howso the thing will fall,
My hand shall meddle nought at all.
Lo, now the night and rain draweth up,
And within doors glimmer stoop and cup.
And hark, a little sound I know,
The laugh of Snaebiorn’s fiddle-bow,
My sister’s son, and a craftsman good,
When the red rain drives through the iron wood.”
Hallbiorn laughed, and followed in,
And a merry feast there did begin.
Hallgerd’s hands undid his weed,
Hallgerd’s hands poured out the mead.
Her fingers at his breast he felt,
As her hair fell down about his belt.
Her fingers with the cup he took,
And o’er its rim at her did look.
Cold cup, warm hand, and fingers slim,
Before his eyes were waxen dim.
And if the feast were foul or fair,
He knew not, save that she was there.
He knew not if men laughed or wept,
While still ’twixt wall and dais she stept.
Whether she went or stood that eve,
Not once his eyes her face did leave.
But Snaebiorn laughed and Snaebiorn sang,
And sweet his smitten fiddle rang.
And Hallgerd stood beside him there,
So many times over comes summer again,
Nor ever once he turned to her,
What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Master Odd on the morrow spake,
So many times over comes summer again.
Hearken, O guest, if ye be awake,”
What healing in summer if winter be vain?
“Sure ye champions of the south
[p. 97] Speak many things from a silent mouth.
And thine, meseems, last night did pray
That ye might well be wed to-day.
The year’s ingathering feast it is,
A goodly day to give thee bliss.
Come hither, daughter, fine and fair,
Here is a Wooer from Whitewater.
East away hath he gotten fame,
And his father’s name is e’en my names.
Will ye lay hand within his hand,
That blossoming fair our house may stand?”
She laid her hand within his hand;
White she was as the lily wand.
Low sang Snaebiorn’s brand in its sheath,
And his lips were waxen grey as death.
“Snaebiorn, sing us a song of worth,
If your song must be silent from now henceforth.”
Clear and loud his voice outrang,
And a song of worth at the wedding he sang.
“Sharp sword,” he sang, “and death is sure.”
So many times over comes summer again,
“But love doth over all endure.”
What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Now winter cometh and weareth away,
So many times over comes summer again,
And glad is Hallbiorn many a day.
What healing in summer if winter be vain?
Full soft he lay his love beside;
But dark are the days of wintertide.
Dark are the days, and the nights are long,
And sweet and fair was Snaebiorn’s song.
Many a time he talked with her,
Till they deemed the summer-tide was there.
And they forgat the wind-swept ways
And angry fords of the flitting-days.
While the north wind swept the hillside there
[p. 98] They forgat the other Whitewater.
While nights at Deildar-Tongue were long,
They clean forgat the Brothers’-Tongue.
But whatso falleth ’twixt Hell and Home,
So many times over comes summer again,
Full surely again shall summer come.
What healing in summer if winter be vain?

To Odd spake Hallbiorn on a day
So many times over comes summer again,
“Gone is the snow from everyway.”
What healing in summer if winter be vain?
Now green is grown Whitewater-side,
And I to Whitewater will ride.”
Quoth Odd, “Well fare thou winter-guest,
May thine own Whitewater be best.
Well is a man’s purse better at home
Than open where folk go and come.”
“Come ye carles of the south country,
Now shall we go our kin to see!
For the lambs are bleating in the south,
And the salmon swims towards Olfus mouth.
Girth and graithe and gather your gear!
And ho for the other Whitewater!”
Bright was the moon as bright might be,
And Snaebiorn rode to the north country.
And Odd to Reykholt is gone forth,
To see if his mares be ought of worth.
But Hallbiorn into the bower is gone
And there sat Hallgerd all alone.
She was not dight to go nor ride
She had no joy of the summer-tide.
Silent she sat and combed her hair,
That fell all round about her there.
The slant beam lay upon her head,
And gilt her golden locks to red.
He gazed at her with hungry eyes
[p. 99] And fluttering did his heart arise.
“Full hot,” he said, “is the sun to-day,
And the snow is gone from the mountain-way.
The king-cup grows above the grass,
And through the wood do the thrushes pass.”
Of all his words she hearkened none,
But combed her hair amidst the sun.
“The laden beasts stand in the garth
And their heads are turned to Helliskarth.”
The sun was falling on her knee,
And she combed her gold hair silently.
“To-morrow great will be the cheer
At the Brothers’-Tongue by Whitewater.”
From her folded lap the sunbeam slid;
She combed her hair, and the word she hid.
“Come, love; is the way so long and drear
From Whitewater to Whitewater?”
The sunbeam lay upon the floor;
She combed her hair and spake no more.
He drew her by the lily hand:
“I love thee better than all the land.”
He drew her by the shoulders sweet:
“My threshold is but for thy feet.”
He drew her by the yellow hair:
“O why wert thou so deadly fair?
“O am I wedded to death?” he cried
“Is the Dead-strand come to Whitewater side?”
And the sun was fading from the room,
But her eyes were bright in the change and the gloom.
“Sharp sword,” she sang, “and death is sure,
But over all doth love endure.”
She stood up shining in her place
And laughed beneath his deadly face.
Instead of the sunbeam gleamed a brand,
The hilts were hard in Hallbiorn’s hand:
The bitter point was in Hallgerd’s breast
That Snaebiorn’s lips of love had pressed.
[p. 100] Morn and noon, and nones passed o’er,
And the sun is far from the bower door.
To-morrow morn shall the sun come back,
So many times over comes summer again,
But Hallgerd’s feet the floor shall lack.
What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Now Hallbiorn’s house-carles ride full fast,
So many times over comes summer again,
Till many a mile of way is past.
What healing in summer if winter be vain?
But when they came over Oxridges,
’Twas, “Where shall we give our horses ease?”
When Shieldbroad-side was well in sight,
’Twas, “Where shall we lay our heads to-night?”
Hallbiorn turned and raised his head;
“Under the stones of the waste,” he said.
Quoth one, “The clatter of hoofs anigh.”
Quoth the other, “Spears against the sky!”
“Hither ride men from the Wells apace;
Spur we fast to a kindlier place.”
Down from his horse leapt Hallbiorn straight:
“Why should the supper of Odin wait?
Weary and chased I will not come
To the table of my fathers’ home.”
With that came Snaebiorn, who but he,
And twelve in all was his company.
Snaebiorn’s folk were on their feet;
He spake no word as they did meet.
They fought upon the northern hill:
Five are the howes men see there still.
Three men of Snaebiorn’s fell to earth
And Hallbiorn’s twain that were of worth.
And never a word did Snaebiorn say,
Till Hallbiorn’s foot he smote away.
Then Hallbiorn cried: “Come, fellow of mine,
To the southern bent where the sun doth shine.”
[p. 101] Tottering into the sun he went,
And slew two more upon the bent.
And on the bent where dead he lay
Three howes do men behold to-day.
And never a word spake Snaebiorn yet,
Till in his saddle he was set.
Nor was there any heard his voice,
So many times over comes summer again,
Till he came to his ship in Grimsar-oyce.
What healing in summer if winter be vain?

On so fair a day they hoisted sail,
So many times over comes summer again,
And for Norway well did the wind avail.
What healing in summer if winter be vain?
But Snaebiorn looked aloft and said:
“I see in the sail a stripe of red:
Murder, meseems, is the name of it
And ugly things about it flit.
A stripe of blue in the sail I see:
Cold death of men it seems to me.
And next I see a stripe of black,
For a life fulfilled of bitter lack.”
Quoth one, “So fair a wind doth blow
That we shall see Norway soon enow.”
“Be blithe, O shipmate,” Snaebiorn said,
“Tell Hacon the Earl that I be dead.”
About the midst of the Iceland main
Round veered the wind to the east again.
And west they drave, and long they ran
Till they saw a land was white and wan.
“Yea,” Snaebiorn said, “my home it is,
Ye bear a man shall have no bliss.
Far off beside the Greekish sea
The maidens pluck the grapes in glee.
Green groweth the wheat in the English land
And the honey-bee flieth on every hand.
[p. 102] In Norway by the cheaping town
The laden beasts go up and down.
In Iceland many a mead they mow
And Hallgerd’s grave grows green enow.
But these are Gunnbiorn’s skerries wan
Meet harbour for a hapless man.
In all lands else is love alive,
But here is nought with grief to strive.
Fail not for a while, O eastern wind,
For nought but grief is left behind.
And before me here a rest I know,”
So many times over comes summer again,
“A grave beneath the Greenland snow,”
What healing in summer if winter be vain?

C-38. “The King of Denmark’s Sons” ( In Denmark gone is many a year; / So fair upriseth the rim of the sun, )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 140-45. HM 6427, ff. 66-72; Morris autograph. According to May Morris, the Northern poems in Poems By the Way were all written in the early 1870’s.

HM 6427, f. 66

The King of Denmark's Sons

In Denmark gone is many a year,
              So fair upriseth the rim of the sun,         (red)
Two sons of Gorm the King there were,
              So Grey is the sea when day is done.      (red)

Both these were gotten in lawful bed
Of Thyrre Denmark's Surety-head.

Fair was Knut of face and limb
As the breast of the Queen that suckled him.

But Harald was hot of hand and heart
As lips of lovers ere they part.

Knut sat at home in all men's love,
But over the seas must Harald rove.

And for every deed by Harald won,
Gorm laid more love on Knut alone.

On a high-tide spake the King in hall;
"Old I grow as the leaves that fall:

"Knut shall reign when I am dead,
So shall the land have peace and aid:

"But many a ship shall Harald have,
For I deem the sea well wrought for his grave."

Then none spake save the King again,
"If Knut die all my days be vain:

[f. 67] "And whoso the tale of his death shall tell,
Hath spoken a word to gain him hell.

"Lo here a doom I will not break,["]
               So fair upriseth the rim of the sun.       red
"For life or death or any man's sake.["]
               So grey is the sea when day is done.      red

O merry days in the summer-tide!
               So fair upriseth the rim of the sun.         red
When the ships sail fair and the young men ride.
               So grey is the sea when day is done.     (red)

Now Harald has got him east away,
And each morrow of fight was a gainful day[.]

But Knut is to his fosterer gone
To deal in deeds of peace alone.

So wear the days, and well it is
Such lovely lords should dwell in bliss.

O merry in the winter-tide
When men to Yule-feast wend them wide.

And here lieth Knut in the Lima-firth
When the lift is low o'er the Danish earth.

"Tell me now, Shipmaster mine,
What are yon torches there that shine?"

"Lord, no torches may these be
But golden prows across the sea:
[f.68]

"For over there the sun shines now
And the gold worms gape from every prow."

The sun and the wind came down o'er the sea--
"Tell them over how many they be!"

"Ten I tell with shield-hung sides,
Nought but a fool his death abides."

"Ten thou tellest, and we be three,
Good need that we do manfully.

"Good fellows[,] grip the shield and spear[,]
For Harald my brother draweth near.

"Well breakfast we when night is done,
And Valhall's cock crows up the sun."

Up spoke Harald in wrathful case:
"I would have word with this waxen face!

"What wilt thou pay, thou hucksterer,
That I let thee live another year?

"For oath that thou wilt never reign
Will I let thee live a year or twain."

"Kisses and love shalt thou have of me
If yet my liegeman thou wilt be.

"But stroke of sword, and dint of axe,
Or ere thou makest my face as wax."

As thick the arrows fell around
As fall sere leaves on autumn ground.
[f. 69]

In many a cheek the red did wane
No maid might ever kiss again.

"Lay me aboard," Lord Harald said,
"The winter day will soon be dead!

"Lay me aboard the bastard's ship,
And see to it lest your grapnels slip!"

Then some they knelt and some they drowned[,]
And some lay dead lord Knut around.

"Look here at the wax-white corpse of him,
As fair as the Queen in face and limb!

"Make now for the shore, for the moon is bright,
And I would be home ere the end of night.

"Two sons last night had Thyrre the Queen,"
          So fair upriseth the rim of the sun.           red
And both she may lack ere the woods wax green."
          So grey is the sea when day is done.

A little before the morning tide,
          So fair upriseth the rim of the sun,
Queen Thyrre looked out of her window-side,
          So grey is the sea when day is done.

"O men-at-arms, what men be ye?"
"Harald thy son come over the sea."

"Why is thy face so pale[,] my son?"
"It may be red or day is done."
[f. 70]

"O evil words of an evil hour!
Come, sweet son, to thy mother[']s bower!"

None from the Queen's bower went that day
Till dark night over the meadows lay.

None thenceforth heard wail or cry
Till the King's feast was waxen high.

Then into the hall Lord Harald came
When the great wax lights were all aflame.

"What tidings, son, dost thou bear to me?
Speak out before I drink with thee."

"Tidings small for a seafarer--
--Two falcons in the sea-cliff's were[:]

"And one was white and one was grey
And they fell to battle on a day:

"They fought in the sun, they fought in the wind, No boot the white fowl's wounds to bind.

"They fought in the wind, they fought in the sun,
And the white fowl died when the play was done."

"Small tidings these to bear o'er the sea!
Good hap that nothing worser they be!

"Small tidings for a travelled man!
Drink with me[,] son[,] whiles yet ye can!"
[f. 71]

"Drink with me ere thy day and mine.
          So fair upriseth the rim of the sun,           red
"Be nought but a tale told over the wine!"
          So grey is the sea when day is done.         red

Now fareth the King with his men to sleep,
          So fair upriseth the rim of the sun[, ]
And dim the maids from the Queen's bower creep;
          So grey is the sea when day is done.

And in the hall is little light,
And there standeth the Queen with cheeks full white.

And soft the feet of women fall
From end to end of the King's great hall.

These bear the gold-wrought cloths away,
And in other wise the hall array;

Till all is black that hath been gold
So heavy a tale there must be told.

The morrow men looked on King Gorm and said[,]
"Hath he dreamed a dream or beheld the dead?

"Why is he sad who should be gay?
Why are the old man's lips so grey?"

Slow paced the King adown the hall,
Nor looked aside to either wall:

Till in high-seat there he sat him down,
And deadly old men deemed him grown.

[f. 72] "O Queen, what thrall's hands durst do this,
To strip my hall of mirth and bliss?"

[omitted in ms: "No thrall's hands in the hangings were,
No thrall's hands made the tenters bare.]

"King's daughters' hands have done the deed,
The hands of Denmark's Surety-head."

"Nought betters the deed thy word unsaid--
Tell me that Knut my son is dead!"

She said[:] "The doom on thee[,] O King!
For thine own lips have said the thing."

Men looked to see the King arise,
The death of men within his eyes.

Men looked to see his bitter sword
That once cleared ships from board to board.

But in the hall no sword gleamed wide,
His hand fell down along his side.

But no red came into his cheek,
He fell aback as one made weak.

His wan cheek brushed the high-seat's side,
And in the noon of day he died.

So lieth King Gorm beneath the grass,
But from mouth to mouth this tale did pass.

And Harald reigned and went his way[,]
                            So fair upriseth the rim of the sun[.]               red
And still is the story told today,
                            So grey is the sea when day is done.               red

CW, IX, 140-45

In Denmark gone is many a year,
So fair upriseth the rim of the sun,
Two sons of Gorm the King there were,
So grey is the sea when day is done.

Both these were gotten in lawful bed
Of Thyrre Denmark's Surety-head.

Fair was Knut of face and limb
As the breast of the Queen that suckled him.

But Harald was hot of hand and heart
As lips of lovers ere they part.

Knut sat at home in all men's love,
But over the seas must Harald rove.

And for every deed by Harald won,
Gorm laid more love on Knut alone.

On a high-tide spake the King in hall,
"Old I grow as the leaves that fall.

"Knut shall reign when I am dead,
So shall the land have peace and aid.

"But many a ship shall Harald have,
For I deem the sea well wrought for his grave."

Then none spake save the King again,
"If Knut die all my days be vain.

"And whoso the tale of his death shall tell,
Hath spoken a word to gain him hell.

"Lo here a doom I will not break,"
So fair upriseth the rim of the sun.
"For life or death or any man's sake,"
So grey is the sea when the day is done.

[141] O merry days in the summer-tide!
So fair upriseth the rim of the sun.

When the ships sail fair and the young men ride.
So grey is the sea when day is done.

Now Harald has got him east away,
And each morrow of fight was a gainful day.

But Knut is to his fosterer gone
To deal in deeds of peace alone.

So wear the days, and well it is
Such lovely lords should dwell in bliss.

O merry in the winter-tide
When men to Yule-feast wend them wide.

And here lieth Knut in the Lima-firth
When the lift is low o'er the Danish earth.

"Tell me now, Shipmaster mine,
What are yon torches there that shine?"

"Lord, no torches may these be
But golden prows across the sea.

"For over there the sun shines now
And the gold worms gape from every prow."

The sun and the wind came down o'er the sea,
"Tell them over how many they be!"

"Ten I tell with shield-hung sides.
Nought but a fool his death abides."

"Ten thou tellest, and we be three,
Good need that we do manfully.

"Good fellows, grip the shield and spear,
For Harald my brother draweth near.

"Well breakfast we when night is done,
And Valhall's cock crows up the sun."

[142] Up spoke Harald in wrathful case:
"I would have word with this waxen face!

"What wilt thou pay, thou hucksterer,
That I let thee live another year?

"For oath that thou wilt never reign
Will I let thee live a year or twain."

"Kisses and love shalt thou have of me
If yet my liegeman thou wilt be.

"But stroke of sword, and dint of axe,
Or ere thou makest my face as wax."

As thick the arrows fell around
As fall sere leaves on autumn ground.

In many a cheek the red did wane
No maid might ever kiss again.

"Lay me aboard," Lord Harald said,
"The winter day will soon be dead!

"Lay me aboard the bastard's ship,
And see to it lest your grapnels slip!"

Then some they knelt and some they drowned,
And some lay dead Lord Knut around.

"Look here at the wax-white corpse of him,
As fair as the Queen in face and limb!

"Make now for the shore, for the moon is bright,
And I would be home ere the end of night.

"Two sons last night had Thyrre the Queen,
So fair upriseth the rim of the sun.
And both she may lack ere the woods wax green,"
So grey is the sea when day is done.

[143] A little before the morning tide,
So fair upriseth the rim of the sun,
Queen Thyrre looked out of her window-side,
So grey is the sea when day is done.

"O men-at-arms, what men be ye?"
"Harald thy son come over the sea."

"Why is thy face so pale, my son?"
"It may be red or day is done."

"O evil words of an evil hour!
Come, sweet son, to thy mother's bower!"

None from the Queen's bower went that day
Till dark night over the meadows lay.

None thenceforth heard wail or cry
Till the King's feast was waxen high.

Then into the hall Lord Harald came
When the great wax lights were all aflame.

"What tidings, son, dost thou bear to me?
Speak out before I drink with thee."

"Tidings small for a seafarer.
Two falcons in the sea-cliff's were;

"And one was white and one was grey
And they fell to battle on a day;

"They fought in the sun, they fought in the wind,
No boot the white fowl's wounds to bind.

"They fought in the wind, they fought in the sun,
And the white fowl died when the play was done."

"Small tidings these to bear o'er the sea!
Good hap that nothing worser they be!

"Small tidings for a travelled man!
Drink with me, son, whiles yet ye can!

[144] "Drink with me ere thy day and mine,
So fair upriseth the rim of the sun,
Be nought but a tale told over the wine."
So grey is the sea when day is done.

Now fareth the King with his men to sleep,
So fair upriseth the rim of the sun,
And dim the maids from the Queen's bower creep,
So grey is the sea when day is done.

And in the hall is little light,
And there standeth the Queen with cheeks full white.

And soft the feet of women fall
From end to end of the King's great hall.

These bear the gold-wrought cloths away,
And in other wise the hall array;

Till all is black that hath been gold
So heavy a tale there must be told.

The morrow men looked on King Gorm and said
"Hath he dreamed a dream or beheld the dead?

"Why is he sad who should be gay?
Why are the old man's lips so grey?"

Slow paced the King adown the hall,
Nor looked aside to either wall,

Till in high-seat there he sat him down,
And deadly old men deemed him grown.

"O Queen, what thrall's hands durst do this,
To strip my hall of mirth and bliss?"

"No thrall's hands in the hangings were,
No thrall's hands made the tenters bare.

[145] "King's daughters' hands have done the deed, The hands of Denmark's Surety-head."

"Nought betters the deed thy word unsaid.
Tell me that Knut my son is dead!"

She said: "The doom on thee, O King!
For thine own lips have said the thing."

Men looked to see the King arise,
The death of men within his eyes.

Men looked to see his bitter sword
That once cleared ships from board to board.

But in the hall no sword gleamed wide,
His hand fell down along his side.

No red there came into his cheek,
He fell aback as one made weak.

His wan cheek brushed the high-seat's side,
And in the noon of day he died.

So lieth King Gorm beneath the grass,
But from mouth to mouth this tale did pass.

And Harald reigned and went his way[,]
     So fair upriseth the rim of the sun.
And still is the story told to-day,
     So grey is the sea when day is done.


C-39. “To the Muse of the North” ( O muse that swayest the sad Northern Song, / Thy right hand full of smiting and of wrong )

Included in A Book of Verse, 1870, 43; published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 116. HM 6427, f. 27; Morris autograph.

According to May Morris, the Northern poems in Poems By the Way were all written in the early 1870’s. This was originally an introduction to the Grettir Saga.

HM 6427, f. 27

O muse that swayest the sad northern song
Thy right hand full of smiting & of wrong[,]
Thy left hand holding pity[,] & thy breast
Heaving with hope of that so certain rest[,]
Thou with the grey eyes kind & unafraid[,]
The soft lips trembling not that they have said
The doom of the world and those that dwell therein
The lips that smile not though thy children win
The fated Love that earns the fated death—
Borne down the odorous freshness of thy breath
Let some word reach my ears & pierce my heart
That if it may be[,] I may have a part
In those sweet sorrows of thy children dead
That smote the heart and bowed adown the head
Whitened the hair, made Life an eager dream[,]
And death the murmuring of a peaceful stream[,]
But left no blemish on those [souls] of thine
Whose great hearts through the dark of ages shine.
O mother & love and sister all in one[,]
Come thou[,] for now am I enough alone
That thou thine arms about my heart shouldst throw--
And wrap me in the griefs of long ago.

Book of Verse, 1870

To The Muse of the North

[p. 43]
O thou who swayest the sad northern song
Thy right hand full of smiting and of wrong,
Thy left hand holding pity, and thy breast
Heaving with hope of that so certain rest,
Thou with the grey eyes kind and unafraid,
The soft lips trembling not that they have said
The doom of the World and those that dwell therin
The lips that smile not though thy children win
The fated Love, that earns the fated Death—
Borne down the balmy freshness of thy breath
Let some word reach my ears and touch my heart
That, if it may be, I may have a part
In that sweet sorrow of thy children dead
That smote the soul, and bowed adown the head
Whitened the hair, made Life an eager dream,
And death the murmuring of a peaceful stream,
But left no blemish on those souls of thine
Whose fairness through the dim World yet doth shine.

Mother and Love and Sister all in one,
Come thou, for am I not enough alone
That thou thine arms about my heart shouldst throw,
And wrap me in the griefs of Long Ago?

C-40. “Spring’s Bedfellow” ( Spring went about the woods to-day, / The soft-foot winter-thief, And found where idle sorrow lay )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 132. HM 6427, ff. 55-56, two autograph copies. The second is dated March 8, 1873.

HM 6427, f. 55

[Spring's bedfellow]

Spring went about the woods one day,
        The soft-foot winter-thief,
And found where idle sorrow lay
        'Twixt flower and faded leaf.

She looked on him, and deemed him fair
        For all she had been told;
She knelt adown beside him there,
        And sang of days of old.

His open eyes beheld her nought,
        Yet [']gan his lips to move,
But life and deeds were in her thought,
        And he would sing of love.

Still sang they till their eyes did meet[,]
        And faded fear and shame;
More bold he grew, and she more sweet[,]
        Until they sang the same.

Until, say they who know the thing[,]
        Their very lips must kiss,
And Sorrow laid abed with Spring[,]
        Beget an earthly bliss.

HM 6427, f. 56

Spring's Bedfellow

Spring went about the woods to-day,
The soft-foot winter-thief,
And found where idle sorrow lay
'Twixt flower and faded leaf.
She looked on him, and found him fair
For all she had been told;
She knelt adown beside him there,
And sang of days of old.

His open eyes beheld her nought,
Yet 'gan his lips to move;
But life and deeds were in her thought,
And he would sing of love.

So sang they till their eyes did meet,
And faded fear and shame;
More bold he grew, and she more sweet,
Until they sang the same.

Until, say they who know the thing,
Their very lips did kiss,
And Sorrow laid abed with Spring
Begat an earthly bliss.

Poems by the Way, p. 132

SPRING'S BEDFELLOW.

Spring went about the woods to-day,
The soft-foot winter-thief,
And found where idle sorrow lay
'Twixt flower and faded leaf.
She looked on him, and found him fair
For all she had been told;
She knelt adown beside him there,
And sang of days of old.

His open eyes beheld her nought,
Yet 'gan his lips to move;
But life and deeds were in her thought,
And he would sing of love.

So sang they till their eyes did meet,
And faded fear and shame;
More bold he grew, and she more sweet,
Until they sang the same.

Until, say they who know the thing,
Their very lips did kiss,
And Sorrow laid abed with Spring
Begat an earthly bliss.

C-41. “Gunnar’s Howe Above the House at Lithend” ( Ye who have come o’er the sea / to behold this grey minster of lands, / Whose floor is the tomb of the past, / and whose walls by the toil of dead hands )

Published Collected Works, vol. 9, Poems By the Way, 179. HM 6427, ff. 118-19; Morris autograph with corrections. According to May Morris, the Northern poems in Poems By the Way were all written in the early 1870’s.

HM 6427, f. 118

Gunnar's Howe above the House at Lithend

Ye who have come o[’]er the sea
to behold this grey minster of lands,
Whose floor is the tomb of time past[,]
and whose walls by the toil of dead hands
Show pictures amidst of the ruin
of deeds that have overpast death[,]
Stay by this tomb in a tomb
to ask of who lieth beneath.
Ah! the world changeth too soon[,]
that ye stand there with unbated breath,
As I name him that Gunnar of old,
who erst in the haymaking tide
Felt all the land fragrant and fresh,
as amidst of the edges he died.
Too swiftly fame fadeth away,
if ye tremble not lest once again
The grey mound should open and show him
glad-eyed without grudging or pain[.]
Little labour methinks to behold him
but the tale-teller laboured in vain.
Little labour for ears that may hearken
to hear his death conquering song,
Till the heart swells to think of the gladness
undying that overcame wrong[.]
O young is the world yet meseemeth
and the hope of it flourishing green[,]
When the words of a man unremembered
so bridge all the days that have been,
As we look round about on the land
that these nine hundred years he hath seen.
Dusk is abroad on the grass
Of this valley amidst of the hill:
[f. 119] Dusk that shall never be dark
till the dawn hard on midnight shall fill
The trench under Eyiafell’s snow[,]
and the grey plain the sea meeteth grey.
White[,] high aloft hangs the moon
that no dark night shall brighten ere day[,]
For here day and night toileth the summer
lest deedless his time pass away.

Poems by the Way, CW IX, 179.

GUNNAR’S HOWE ABOVE THE HOUSE AT LITHEND.

Ye who have come o’er the sea to behold this grey minster of lands,
Whose floor is the tomb of time past, and whose walls by the toil of dead hands
Show pictures amidst of the ruin of deeds that have overpast death,
Stay by this tomb in a tomb to ask of who lieth beneath.
Ah! the world changeth too soon, that ye stand there with unbated breath,
As I name him that Gunnar of old, who erst in the haymaking tide
Felt all the land fragrant and fresh, as amidst of the edges he died.
Too swiftly fame fadeth away, if ye tremble not lest once again
The grey mound should open and show him glad-eyed without grudging or pain.
Little labour methinks to behold him but the tale-teller laboured in vain.

Little labour for ears that may hearken to hear his death-conquering song,
Till the heart swells to think of the gladness undying that overcame wrong.
O young is the world yet meseemeth and the hope of it flourishing green,
When the words of a man unremembered so bridge all the days that have been,
As we look round about on the land that these nine hundred years he hath seen.

Dusk is abroad on the grass of this valley amidst of the hill:
Dusk that shall never be dark till the dawn hard on midnight shall fill
The trench under Eyiafell’s snow, and the grey plain the sea meeteth grey.
White, high aloft hangs the moon that no dark night shall brighten ere day,
For here day and night toileth the summer lest deedless his time pass away.

* C-42. “Envoi” to Eyrbyggja Saga ( Tale teller, who twixt fire and snow )

Unpublished. One passage quoted in Jack Lindsay, 156.

And though this seems so far from me
Though sunk in dreams I still must be
Self-made about myself--yet now
Who knows what out of all may grow;
Who knows but I myself at last
May face the truth, with all fear cast
Clean forth of me: real Love and I
Set side by side before I die.

B. M. Add. Ms. 45,347, f. 16, copied in Georgiana Burne-Jones’ hand, with attached letter to May, f. 15 and 15v, “the remaining lines that Jack quotes, to illustrate what he says (vol. 1, p. 263.) are extracted from the Epilogue. I send you a copy of it.”

Epilogue to the Eyrbyggja Saga

Tale teller, who twixt fire and snow
Hast heart to turn about & show
With faint half smile things great & small
That in thy fearful land did fall,
Of those full surely wert thou bred
Who erst rejoiced to see the dead
To their own funeral feast return.
In them and these sure life did burn
No faint and flickering flame, but caught
Swift on all good & evil brought
By tale for feeding of the flame
That lighteth still thy long spent days
Thou & thy brethren sure did gain
That thing for which I long in vain,
Prefigured by your Sigurd’s part
In eating of the dragon’s heart,
The spell whereby the mist of fear
Was melted, and your ears might hear
Earth’s voices as they are indeed.

“The Dwellers of Eyre” was published in vol. 2 of The Saga Library, trans. William Morris and Eiríkir Magnússon, Bernard Quaritch, London, 1892. See Eyrbyggia Saga.

Version printed in J. W. Mackail, The Life of William Morris, 2 vols., Longman, 1899, vol. 1, 263-64:

Lo here an ancient chronicle
Recording matters that befell
A folk, whose life and death and pain
Might touch the great world's loss and gain
Full little: yet such might had they
They could not wholly pass away:
From mouth to mouth they sent a tale,
That yet for something may avail;
For midst them all a man they wrought,
Who all these words together brought,
Made shadows breathe, quickened the dead,
And knew what silent mouths once said,
Till with the life his life might give
These lived agian, and yet shall live.

Where art thou, O thou nameless one?
And dost thou laugh to look upon
My eagerness thy tale to read
Midst such changed hope and fear and need?
Or somewhere near me dost thou stand,
And through the dark reach out thine hand?
Yea, are we friends? Draw nigher then,
Thou tale-teller of vanished men,
For we are of one company
To link the dull years struggling by,
[264] Their lonely hopes and griefs gown cold,
Into a chain of tear-washed gold
That yet shall cling about the Earth
In dawning of her second birth.

Tale-teller, who 'twixt fire and snow
Hast heart to turn about & show
With faint half-smile things greatand small
That in thy fearful land did fall,
Thou and thy brethren sure did gain
That thing for which I long in vain,
The spell, whereby the mist of fear
Was melted, and your ears might hear
Earth’s voices as they are indeed.
Well, ye have helped me at my need.

C-43. “Summer Night” ( “O love O love though thy eyelids are shut close, / Yet remember the sweet-breathed nestling rare!” )

A Book of Verse, 1870, 22; VA, R. C. AA 17, 1870, 22. Not in Poems by the Way.

Book of Verse, p. 22

                  Summer Night.

O love, O love though thy lids are shut close,
Yet hearken the sweet breathed rustling rose!

Why liest thou sleeping, yet red with shame
While the harp-strings tremble to hear thy name?

Hearken the harp in a trembling hand!
Hearken soft speech of a far off land!

O my love, if thou hearest my foot-steps anear
Thy very breathing methinks I may hear

O my sweet, is it true that we are alone,
The grey leaves a-quiver twixt us and the moon

O me, the love, the love in thine eyes,
Now the night is a-dying as all life dies!

Are thou come, swift end of beginning of bliss?
O my sweet! O thine eyes, O thy hands O thy kiss!

C-44. “Guileful Love” ( “Love set me in a flowery garden fair / Love showed me many marvels moving there” )

A Book of Verse, p. ; VA, R. C. AA 17. This would date it as written by 1870, since A Book of Verse was completed and given to Georgiana Burne-Jones that year.

Book of Verse, p. 21

                  Guileful Love.

Love set me in a flowery garden fair
Love showed me many marvels moving there
Love said Take these if nought thy soul doth dare
To feel my fiery hand upon thine heart,
Take these, and live, and lose the better part.

Love showed me Death, and said, Make no delay;
Love showed me Change, and said, Joy ebbs away;
Love showed me Eld amid regrets grown grey—
I laughed for joy, and round his heart I clung,
Sickened and swooned by bitter-sweetness stung.

But I awoke at last, and born again
Laid eager hands upon unrest and pain,
And wrapped myself about with longing vain:
Ah, better still and better all things grew,
As more the root and heart of Love I knew.

O love Love Love, what is it thou hast done?
All pains, all fears I knew, save only one;
Where is the fair earth now, where is the sun?
Thou didst not say my Love might never move
Her eyes, her hands, her lips to bless my love.

C-45. “The End of May” / ["The Birth of June"] ( How the wind howls this morn / About the end of May, )

In "A Book of Verse," 47-48, titled "Birth of June," with an additional final stanza absent from Poems by the Way version. Published as "The End of May" in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 196. HM 6427, ff. 138-39, Morris autographs; f. 139 titled, “The birth of June." F. 138 is a fair copy of f. 139. Written on paper used about 1870 (May Morris, CW, IX, xxxvi).

HM 6427, [f. 138]

The End of May.

How the wind howls this morn
       About the end of May[,]
              And drives June on apace
To mock the world forlorn
       And the world’s joy passed away
              And my unlonged-for face!

The world’s joy passed away[;]
       For no more may I deem
              That any folk are glad
To see the dawn of day
       Sunder the tangled dream
Wherein no grief they had.

Ah, through the tangled dream
         Where others have no grief
               Ever it fares with me
That fears and treasons stream
         And dumb sleep slays belief
               Whatso therein may be.

Sleep slayeth all belief
         Until the hopeless light
               Wakes at the birth of June
More lying tales to weave,
       More love in woe’s despite,
              More hope to perish soon.

HM6427, [f. 139]

              The Birth of June

How the wind howls this morn[--]
About the end of May
And drives June on apace
To mock the world forlorn.
And the year[']s joy passed away[,]
And my unlonged for face.

The year[']s joy passed away;
For no more may I deem
That any heart is glad
To see the break of day
Sunder the tangled dream,
Wherein no grief it had[.]

Ah, through the tangled dream
Where others have no grief
Ever it fares with me
That fears and treasons stream,
And sleep slays all belief,
of what I hoped might be.

Sleep slayeth all belief;
Until the hopeless light
Wakes at the birth of June
More lying tales to weave,
More love in woe’s despite
More hope to perish soon.

[in pencil] More love in woe[']s despite[--]
Then tongue[,] hold thou thy peace[!]
Be silent thankless heart[,]
Nor wish the world were bright
Nor wish for autumn[’]s ease
Thou hast the better part[.]

A Book of Verse, p. 47

How the wind howls this morn
About the end of May
And drives June on apace
To mock the world forlorn
And the world’s joy passed away,
And my unlonged-for face!

The world’s joy passed away;
For no more may I deem
That any folk are glad
To see the dawn of day
Sunder the tangled dream
Wherein no grief they had.

Ah, through the tangled dream
Where others have no grief
Ever it fares with me
That fears and treasons stream;
And dumb sleep slays belief
Whatso therein may be.

Sleep slayeth all belief
Until the hopeless light
Wakes at the birth of June
[p. 48] More lying tales to weave,
More love in woe’s despite[,]
More hope to perish soon.

More love in woe['s] despite--
Then O tongue, hold thy peace!
Be silent thankless heart,
Nor wish the World were bright
Nor wish for Autumn's ease!
Thou hast the better part.

CW, IX, 196.

THE END OF MAY.

How the wind howls this morn
About the end of May,
And drives June on apace
To mock the world forlorn
And the world’s joy passed away
And my unlonged-for face!
The world’s joy passed away;
For no more may I deem
That any folk are glad
To see the dawn of day
Sunder the tangled dream
Wherein no grief they had.
Ah, through the tangled dream
Where others have no grief
Ever it fares with me
That fears and treasons stream
And dumb sleep slays belief
Whatso therein may be.
Sleep slayeth all belief
Until the hopeless light
Wakes at the birth of June
More lying tales to weave,
More love in woe’s despite,
More hope to perish soon.

C-46. “Come hearken dreams and marvels of the days when earth was young”

Published AWS, I, 463-64. Draft in in B. L. Add. Ms. 45, 298A, f. 121 and 121v., white ruled paper with corrections. The AWS version seems based on a later corrected copy. Probably an early draft for Sigurd; see also "List of Poems Presumed Written After 1875," no. 40, Sigurd the Volsung.

[f. 121]

Come hearken to the marvels of the days when earth was young
And sons of men unburdened with the woes that have no name.
The days of youth when every deed men did might so be sung
That oft out of all defeat and failure oft sprung up the tree of fame
And round the hights of victory oft a cloud of sorrow clung
And stoutly stone by [stone] they built the house none shall overthrow
Nor named it good nor named it ill but joyed to see it grow

Ah what have I to sing of these in days so changed and worn
To sing [the] bloom that yet was fair amidst the rain of blood
And shown through drift of twilight hail greet the April morn.
And fell so fresh from off the fruit that none but deemed it good
O changed the hope as changed the days but have it not in scorn
For if indeed in hope of joy the clinging roots were set
The seed shall fall and rise again and I shall see it yet.

So let me look aback awhile to see the light before
Come glimmering from the mountain tops across the shade they cast
It promised dawn it promised day with midnight scarcely oer
And girt in glimmer of the dusk our fathers towards it past
And though men use the dark for light and long for day no more
Yet if the sun that shed that gleam in very heaven be set
The day shall come ere earth be dead and I shall see it yet.

Now therefore love constraineth me to set all shame aside
And strive to sing for love of life love of the flowery earth
Love of the awful heavens and lone sea [weltering?] wide
And love of Love the bitter lord and all his woe and mirth

[f. 121v]
And love of God that was and is and ever shall abide
While that shall live that is but he and ne[’]er shall be undone
The One that is a thousandfold the thousand fold in one.
The happy words unfaltering amid the dusk of death
To see the deeds that Sigurd doth
And if I pray for pardon of the mighty men of old
It is because belike it is that I shall faint and fail
And not because the longing of my heart is overbold
Nay scarce because my very eyes may not at whiles avail
To see that story of the north nor yet my ears to hold
The happy words unfaltering amid the dusk of death
To see the deeds that Sigurd doth to hear the words he saith:

[at this point breaks from pen to light pencil:]
There is a plain in Iceland edged southward by the sea
That elsewhere another sea [itself goes?] grey to meet
The outguards of the mountains and breaketh northwardly
Gainst the [Green?] ridge of Fleet lithe and east against the feet
Of Eyiafell the mighty summit where come ye now with me
While west away the mirage hides [the mighty river hides?] the hill they call the tomb
Of him who first a thousand years agone durst trek this dreary home

[continues in pen:]
Come for the wash of Mark [fleet?] waves is icy cold between
The Lithe and us; yet if indeed of Gunnar ye have heard
Look oer your shoulder yet to see the brighter path of green
Upon [“the hanging of the hill” crossed out] where erst he fell unfeared
Though nought avail to strain your eyes for B[ergthorsknoll] unseen
But if the dead walk thereabout against the Westman Isles
Belike beside the beardless Njal at rest Skarfhedinn smiles

* C-47. Icelandic fragment, “A land of deep snows and scarcely hidden fire”

B. M. Add. Ms. 45,319b, vi reverse. Similar in theme to “Iceland First Seen.”

[f. vi reverse]

A land of deep snows and scarcely hidden fire
Of running rivers and selfruined [?] hills
barren Coffer of dead mens dead and fruitless wills
A record of its bliss and half born fond despairs
Thou world’s remembrance of deeds that [ne’er?] tire
Wall of the fields of fame that no mean [?] tale 
What is there of the Iceland that so stills
My querulous longing and yet draws love nigher

C-48. 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”

C-49. Lyric from “Bellerophon in Lycia”

CW, VI, xiv-xvi. Included in a longer excised beginning for “Bellerophon.” B. L. Add. Ms. 45,301, f. 23v and f. 24.

45,301, [f. 23]
The day grew to its hottest, the warm air
Was little stirred and rose and lily fair
Let drop its fainting leaves upon the ground[.]
[Around?] them full was the air with sound
Of murmuring bees, high elms far away
Come the doves['] moan about the last spring day:
And Venus sparrows twittered in the eves
Above his head – so in the languid leaves
And overblown blossoms he awhile did pace
Striving to think, but still that eager face—
Wild with its love[,] grief and hope and fear
He still beheld, and still that voice did hear
A smooth green bank sheath sweeping lime boughs [ms. l(ay)]
And underneath their shadow there was laid—
Unwitting of him a fair Lycian maid
Over a silver harp from string to string
Her fingers wandered till she gan to sing.

A sweet garden by the sea
Did my true love give to me[,]
The all-father’s Paradise
Was not wrought in fairer wise[;]
     Ah how lone[, ] how lone it is[.]

There the birds sing songs for me
And the murmuring of the sea
Do I hear daylong[,] nightlong,
Nothing there can do me wrong[;]
     Ah how lone[,] how lone it is[.]

In that garden by the sea
He let build a house for me
Therein is there wealth of gold
Old tales on wall & floor are told[;]
     Ah how lone[,] how lone it is[.]

[f. 24]

Many a slave he gat for me
To that garden by the sea.
The Lycian and the Argive land[,] [ms. adds the at end of line]
Sent girls to serve my craving hand[--]
     Ah how lone[,] how lone it is[.]

Twixt the oak[-]trees and the sea
Ancient tales they tell to me[;]
Songs they sing of happy dreams[,]
But the o’er word ever seems[,]
     Ah how lone[,] how lone it is[.]

Sometimes do folk say to me
When the murmur of the sea
At dead ebb is far away,
[“]Forget him[,] he died yesterday[”]--
     Ah how lone[,] how lone it is[.]

Or when west winds make the sea
Mad and loud, they say to me[,]
Weeping makes thine eyes less fair[,]
Tomorrow morn he cometh here,”
     Ah how lone[,] how lone it is.

When tomorrow comes to me
I shall not hear the unquiet sea,
When today is yesterday
No more shall I weep and say,
     Ah how lone[,] how lone it is.”

Sometimes do folk say to me
When the murmur of the sea
At dead ebb is far away,
["]Forget him[,] he died yesterday["]--
       Ah how lone[,] how lone it is[.]

Or when west winds make the sea
Mad and loud[,] they say to me[,]
Weeping makes thine eyes less fair[,]
Tomorrow morn he cometh here[,"]
       Ah how lone[,] how lone it is[."]

When tomorrow comes to me
I shall not hear the unquiet sea[,]
When today is yesterday
No more shall I weep and say
        Ah how lone[,] how lone it is[."]

He stopped to listen and she saw him not
But lay aback in the green shady spot
And murmured something smiling as she lay
Happy with young life and the summer day
But when the song was done he sighed & turned
Back to the house and howesoever he yearned
For what he had not[;] happier then life seemed
Unto his heart than he had ever dreamed
Life could be --

Unto her feet she gat and slowly went
Another way, as one made well night sad
     Amidst of joyous life . . . .

CW, VI, xiv-xvi

[p. xiv]
There twixt the languid leaves
And o’er blown blossoms he awhile did go,
Striving to think, but still that eager face
Wild with its love, and grief and hope and fear
Must he behold; and that sweet voice must hear
Sad and heart-piercing: but nigh where he did pass
Neath sweeping lime-boughs lay a bank of grass
And underneath the shadows there was laid
Unwitting of him, a fair Lycian maid
Not heeding if in that hot windless tide
The loosened clasp should let the linen glide
From off her shoulder, careless that the crown
Of roses from her head had fallen down;
But lying there faint words as of a song
She murmured, and her fingers moved among
The strings of a small harp that lightly lay
Upon her breast, till as one thrusts away
A listless mood she raised herself at last
And pensive music on the hot air cast:

[p. xv]

A sweet garden by the sea
Did my true love give to me,
The All-father’s paradise
Was not wrought in fairer wise;
     Ah how lone, how lone it is.

There the birds sing songs for me
And the murmur of the sea
Do I hear day-long, night-long,
Nothing there may do me wrong;
     Ah how lone, how lone it is.

There ’twixt blossomed trees and sea
He let build a house for me
Therein is there wealth of gold
Tales on walls and floor are told;
     Ah how lone, how lone it is

Many a slave he gate for me
On that beach along the sea,
From Mysian land and Argive land
Did the captrive women stand;
     Ah how lone, how lone it is.

Twixt lily-bed and white-crowned sea
Tales of love folk tell to me;
Songs they sing of happy dreams,
But the o’erword ever seems,
     Ah how lone, how lone it is.

Sometimes do folk say to me
When the murmur of the sea
At dead ebb is far away,
“Forget him, he died yesterday.”
     Ah how lone, how lone it is.

Or when west winds make the sea
Mad and loud, they say to me,
“Weeping makes thine eyes less fair,
Tomorrow morn shall he be here,”
     Ah how lone, how lone it is.

[p. xvi]
When tomorrow comes to me
I shall not hear the unquiet sea,
When today is yesterday
No more shall I weep and say,
     “Ah how lone, how lone it is.”

He stopped the while she sang, she saw him not
As ‘neath the moveless boughs in that green spot
She sang, and when the last words of the song were spent
Unto her feet she gat and slowly went
Another way, as one made well night sad
Amidst of joyous life . . . .

C-50. Verses for June and July, The Earthly Paradise

Published in CW, VI, xxvii. Autograph drafts are found in B. L. Ms. 45,306, f. 66v and 67v.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,306, f. 67v [image rotated]

In the June evening as the day grew cool
Within a lovely valley watered well
Lay a sweet stream that threaded many a pool
The strangers set some new delight to tell
And there they did both rose and lily smell
But yet the thrush would listen to no tale

But her mate[']s song that rang throughout the vale

And as they sat about them ladies came
Amid the story of the Goddesses
Whereat some few of them first blushed for shame
For by the thickly spreading alder tree,
And by the streams that flowed above their knees
Their bodies lo but hid (?) a while ago
Alas that such fair things should perish so

f. 66v [image rotated] [draft July narrative link]

In July, love, while yet the sun is low
Come from thy door twixt flowers fresh with morn
And to a thick leaved wood let us now go
That overlooks the yellowing fields of corn
For though the rose indeed is now forlorn
And silenced is the brown bird piteous
Yet many a joy the year yet has for us

See love the ripening clusters overhead
The cushats moan still though no birds sing
See now the bright-eyed squirrel leave his bed
To gaze on us need we weep for the spring.
If this should last, that goes like everything
Hearken love to ancient tales today
I heard of elders ere they passed away.

In her prefaces May Morris prints discarded manuscript material from “The Man Who Never Laughed Again” (CW, III), and “The Hill of Venus” (CW, VI, ). Drafts of “The Story of Dorothea” and “The Hill of Venus” appear in Florence Boos, The Design of Morris’ ‘The Earthly Paradise’ (New York: Mellen, 1990), 400-45 and 445-76.

C-51. Sonnet at beginning of Grettir ( A life scarce worth the living, a poor fame / Scarce worth the wining, in a wretched land. )

Included in "A Book of Verse," 1870, 36, titled "To Grettir Asmundson"; published in CW, VII. Autograph draft in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, f. 91.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, f. 91.

A life scarce worth the living, a poor fame
Scarce worth the winning, in a wretched land,
Where fear and pain stalk upon either hand,
As toward the end men fare without an aim
Unto the dull grey dusk from whence they came:
Let them alone, the unshadowed shear rocks stand
Over the twilight graves of that poor band
Who count so little in the great world[’]s game.'

Nay with the dead I deal not, this man lives,
And this, which carried him through good and ill[,]
Stern against fate, while his voice echoed still
From rock to rock, now he lies silent, strives
With wasting time, and through his long lapse gives
Another friend to me, life[']s void to fill.

A Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 36]

To Grettir Asmundson.

A life scarce worth the living; a poor fame
Scarce worth the winning, in a wretched land,
Where fear and pain go upon either hand,
As toward the end men fare without an aim
Unto the dull grey dusk from whence they came—
Let them alone, the unshadowed shear rocks stand
Over the twilight graves of that poor band,
Who count so little in the Great World’s Game!

Nay, with the dead I deal not; this man lives,
And that, which carried him through good and ill,
Stern against Fate, while his voice echoed still
From rock to rock, now he lies silent strives
With wasting Time, and through his long lapse gives
Another friend to me, lifes void to fill.

*C-52. Second sonnet for Grettir

B. L. Add. MS 45,318, f. 91

Grettir, didst thou live utterly for nought?
Among the many millions of the earth
Few know thy name nor where thou hadst thy birth--
And yet, that passing glow of fame unsought,
That eager life in ill luck’s meshes caught
That struggles yet to gain a little mirth
Amidst of pain--with less remembered worth
Great things to little things have great men brought

At least thy life moved men so, that een I
Thy mother’s wail in the lone eve and drear,
Thy brother’s laugh at death for thee drawn near/can hear
Hear now nor wonder at her agony,
Nor wonder that he found it good to die
Speak, Grettir, through the dark, for I can hear/am anear.

CW, VII, xix.

Grettir, didst thou live utterly for nought?
Among the many millions of the earth
Few know thy name nor where thou hadst thy birth.
And yet, that passing glow of fame unsought,
That eager life in ill luck’s meshes caught
That struggles yet to gain a little mirth
Amidst of pain--with less remembered worth
Great things to little things have great men brought.

At least thy life moved men so, that e'en I
Thy mother’s wail in the lone eve and drear,
Thy brother’s laugh at death for thee can hear--
Hear now nor wonder at her agony
Nor wonder that he found it good to die--
Speak, Grettir, through the dark: I am anear.

C-53. “Thunder in the Garden” ( When the boughs of the garden hang heavy with rain / And the blackbird reneweth his song, )

Published Poems by the Way, CW, IX, 154-55. HM 6427, ff. 80-81, Morris autograph with corrections. May Morris believed this to be a late poem, but it would seem to resemble the poems of the early 1870’s. See checklist of later poems, no. 9.

HM6427, ff. 80-81
[f. 80]

Thunder in the Garden

When the boughs of the garden hang heavy with rain
And the blackbird reneweth his song
And the thunder departing yet rolleth again[—]
I remember the ending of wrong—

When the day that was dusk while his death was aloof
Is ending wide-gleaming, and strange
For the clearness of all things beneath the world’s roof
I call back the wild chance and the change.

For once we twain sat through the hot afternoon
Whiule the rain held aloof for a while,
Till she, the soft clad for the glory of June,
Changed all with the change of her smile.

For her smile was of longing, no longer of glee
And her fingers, entwined with mine own,
With caresses unquiet sought kindness of me
For the gift that I never had known.

Then down rushed the rain, and the voice of the thunder
Smote dumb all the sound of the street,
And I to myself was grown nought but a wonder
As she leaned down my kisses to meet.

That she craved for my lips that had craved her so often,
And the hand that had trembled to touch,
That the tears filled her eyes I had hoped not to soften
In this world was a marvel too much

It was dusk mid the thunder, dusk een as the night,
When first brake out our love like the storm
[f. 81] But no night-hour was it, and back came the light
While our hands with each other were warm.

And her smile, killed with kisses, came back as at first
As she rose up and led me along,
And out the garden, where nought was athirst,
And the blackbird renewing his song.

[insertion circled:
Earths’ fragrance went with her, as in the wet grass
Her feet little hidden were set;
She bent down her head neath the roses to pass,
And her arm with the lily was wet]

In the garden we wandered while day waned apace
And the thunder was dying aloof;
Till the moon oer the minister-wall lifted his face,
And grey gleamed out the lead of the roof.

Then we turned from the blossoms & cold were they grown:
In the trees the wind westering moved;
Till over the threshold back fluttered her gown,
And in the dark house was I loved

CW IX, [154]

THUNDER IN THE GARDEN

When the boughs of the garden hang heavy with rain
And the blackbird reneweth his song,
And the thunder departing yet rolleth again,
I remember the ending of wrong.

When the day that was dusk while his death was aloof
Is ending wide-gleaming and strange
For the clearness of all things beneath the world’s roof,
I call back the wild chance and the change.

For once we twain sat through the hot afternoon
Whiule the rain held aloof for a while,
Till she, the soft-clad, for the glory of June
Changed all with the change of her smile.

For her smile was of longing, no longer of glee,
And her fingers, entwined with mine own,
With caresses unquiet sought kindness of me
For the gift that I never had known.

Then down rushed the rain, and the voice of the thunder
Smote dumb all the sound of the street,
And I to myself was grown nought but a wonder,
As she leaned down my kisses to meet.

That she craved for my lips that had craved her so often,
And the hand that had trembled to touch,
That the tears filled her yes I had hoped not to soften
In this world was a marvel too much.

It was dusk 'mid the thunder, dusk e'en as the night,
When first brake out our love like the storm,
But no night-hour was it, and back came the light
While our hands with each other were warm.

And her smile killed with kisses, came back as at first
As she rose up and led me along,
And out the garden, where nought was athirst,
And the blackbird renewing his song.

Earth's fragrance went with her, as in the wet grass
Her feet little hidden were set;
She bent down her head 'neath the roses to pass,
And her arm with the lily was wet.

In the garden we wandered while day waned apace
And the thunder was dying aloof;
Till the moon o'er the minister-wall lifted his face,
And grey gleamed out the lead of the roof.

Then we turned from the blossoms, and cold were they grown:
In the trees the wind westering moved;
Till over the threshold back fluttered her gown,
And in the dark house was I loved.

C-54. “From the Upland to the Sea” ( Shall we wake one morn of spring / Glad at heart of everything )

Autograph manuscript in HM 6427, ff. 6 and 7; pen on white ruled paper with some corrections and pencil additions taken from a draft of "Orpheus," with connective portions crossed out and 4 lines added to the opening section and the title added, "From the Upland to the Sea." Published in Poems by the Way, CW, IX, 93-94, first poem in volume.

HM 6427, ff. 6 and 7, “From the Upland to the Sea”

[f. 6]
            From the Upland to the Sea

Shall we wake one morn of spring
Glad at heart of everything
Yet pensive with the thought of eve—
Then the white house shall we leave
Wandering down among the meads
Till our very joyance needs
Rest at last; till we shall come
To that Sun-God[']s lonely home,
Lonely till the feast-time is,
When with prayer and praise of bliss
Thither comes the countryside.
There awhile shall we abide,
Sitting low down in the porch
By that image with the torch:
Thy one white hand laid upon
The black pillar that was won
From the far off Indian mine;
And my hand nigh touching thine,
But not touching: and thy gown
Fair with spring flowers cast adown
From thy bosom and thy brow—
There the southwest wind shall blow
Through thine hair to reach my cheek,
As thou sittest nor mayst speak,
Nor mayst move the hand I kiss
For the very depth of bliss;
Nay nor turn thine eyes to me.

Then desire of the great sea
Nigh enow, but all unheard

[f. 7]
In the hearts of us is stirred,
And we rise, we twain at last
And the daffodil down-cast
Feel thy feet and we are gone
From the lonely SunCrowned one.
Then the meads fade at our back,
And the spring day ’gins to lack
The fresh hope that once it had;
But we twain grow yet more glad,
And apart no more may go
When the grassy slope and low
Dieth in the shingly sand:
Then we wander hand in hand
By the edges of the sea,
And I weary more for thee
Than if far apart we were
With a space of desert drear
Twixt thy lips and mine O love!
--Ah my joy my joy thereof!

CW, IX, 93

FROM THE UPLAND TO THE SEA

Shall we wake one morn of spring,
Glad at heart of everything,
Yet pensive with the thought of eve?
Then the white house shall we leave,
Wandering down among the meads
Till our very joyance needs
Rest at last; till we shall come
To that Sun-God's lonely home,
Lonely on the hill-side grey,
Whence the sheep have gone away;
Lonely till the feast-time is,
When with prayer and praise of bliss,
Thither comes the countryside.
There awhile shall we abide,
Sitting low down in the porch
By that image with the torch:
Thy one white hand laid upon
The black pillar that was won
From the far- off Indian mine;
And my hand nigh touching thine,
But not touching; and thy gown
Fair with spring-flowers cast adown
From thy bosom and thy brow.
There the south-west wind shall blow
Through thine hair to reach my cheek,
As thou sittest, nor mayst speak,
Nor mayst move the hand I kiss
For the very depth of bliss;
Nay, nor turn thine eyes to me.
Then desire of the great sea
Nigh enow, but all unheard
In the hearts of us is stirred,
[p. 94] And we rise, we twain, at last,
And the daffodil downcast,
Feel thy feet and we are gone
From the lonely Sun-Crowned one.
Then the meads fade at our back,
And the spring day ’gins to lack
The fresh hope that once it had;
But we twain grow yet more glad,
And apart no more may go
When the grassy slope and low
Dieth in the shingly sand:
Then we wander hand in hand
By the edges of the sea,
And I weary more for thee
Than if far apart we were,
With a space of desert drear
'Twixt thy lips and mine, O love!
Ah my joy my joy thereof!

C-55. First draft of a Prologue in verse to The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs

Book of Verse, 1870, titled "Prologue to the Volsung Tale," 17-18. Draft in Humanities Research Center Library, The University of Texas at Austin, Ms. file (Morris, W.) Works B. Written 1870.

A Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 17]

Prologue to the Volsung Tale

O hearken ye who speak the English Tongue,
How in a waste land ages long ago
The very heart of the North bloomed into song
After long brooding o’er this tale of woe!
Hearken, and marvel how it might be so,
How such a sweetness so well crowned could be
Betwixt the ice-hills and the cold grey sea[.]

Nay rather marvel not that those should cling
Unto the thought of great lives past away,
Whom God has stripped so bare of every thing
Save the one longing to wear through their day
In fearless wise; the hope the Gods to stay,
Where at that last tide gathered wrong and hate
Shall meet blind yearning on the fields of fate.

Yes, in the first grey dawning of our race
This ruth-crowned tangle to sad hearts was dear.
Then rose a seeming sun, the lift  gave place
Unto a seeming heaven, far-off but clear;
But that passed too, and afternoon is here;
Nor was the morn so fruitful or so long
But we may hearken when ghosts moan of wrong.

[p. 18]
For as amid the clatter of the town
When eve comes on with unabated noise,
The soaring wind will sometimes drop adown
And far unto our chamber the sweet voice
Of bells, that mid the swallows do rejoice
Half-heard to make us sad; so we awhile
With echoed grief life’s tumult may beguile.

Naught vague, naught base our tale, that seems to say:
Be wide-eyed, kind, curse not the hand that smites
Curse not the kindness of a past good day,
Or hope of love: cast by all earth’s delights
For very Love: through weary days and nights
Abide thou, striving, howeso’er in vain,
The inmost love of one more heart to gain[.]

So draw ye round and hearken, English Folk
Unto the best tale pity ever wrought,
Of how from dark to dark bright Sigurd broke
Of Brynhild’s glorious soul by love distraught,
Of Gudrun’s weary wandering unto naught
Of utter Love defeated utterly
Of Grief too strong to give Love time to die.

C-56. Fragment: “Birdling, whither away,” unidentified.

Jack Walsdorf Collection, Portland, Oregon.

C-57. Fragment: “So hearken my doom then if thou sin,” unidentified.

B. L. Add. MS. 45,325, ff. 16-17

C-58. Love and Death ( In the white-flowered hawthorn brake / Love be merry for my sake; )

Included in A Book of Verse, 1870, 19-20. Also in The Life and Death of Jason.

A Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 19]

               Love and Death

In the white-flowered hawthorn brake
Love be merry for my sake;
Twine the blossoms in my hair
Kiss me where I am most fair
Kiss me sweet, for who knoweth
What thing cometh after death!

Nay thy garlanded gold hair
Hides thee where thou art most fair,
Hides the rose tinged hills of snow—
O my love I hold thee now!
Kiss me, sweet, for who knoweth
What thing cometh after death!

Shall we weep for a dead day,
Or set sorrow in our way?
Hidden in my golden hair
Wilt thou weep that the days wear?
Kiss me sweet, for who knoweth
What thing cometh after death!

[p. 20]
Weep O love the days that flit
               Now while I can feel thy breath
Then may I remember it
               Sad and old and near my death
Kiss me sweet for who knoweth,
What thing cometh after death!

C-59. “Rest from Seeking” ( O weary seeker over land and sea / O heart that cravest love perpetually, )

Included in A Book of Verse, 1870, 13-14.

Book of Verse, 1870

[p.13]

Rest from Seeking

O weary seeker over land and sea
O heart that cravest love perpetually,
Nor knowst his name, come now at last to me!

Come, thirst of love thy lips too long have borne
Hunger of love thy heart hath long outworn;
Speech hadst thou but to call thyself forlorn.

The seeker finds now, the parched lips are led
To sweet full streams, the hungry heart is fed
And song springs up from moans of sorrow dead.

Draw nigh, draw nigh, and tell me of thy tale
In words grown sweet since all the woe did fail[,]
Show me wherewith thou didst thy woe bewail.

Draw nigh, draw nigh beloved! think of these
Who stand about, as well-wrought images,
Earless and eyeless as the whispering trees.

I think the sky calls living none but three.
The God that looketh thence, and thee and me;
And He made us, but we made Love to be.

[p. 14]

Think not of Time then, for thou shalt not die,
How soon soever shall the World go by,
And nought be left but God and thou and I.

And yet O love, why makest thou delay?
Life comes not till thou comest, and the day
That knows no end may yet be cast away.

C-60. “Sundering Summer" ( Fair is the night and fair the day / Now April is forgot of May, )

Included in A Book of Verse, 1870, 41-42; not included in Poems by the Way.

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 41]

               Sundering Summer

Fair is the night and fair the day
Now April is forgot of May,
Now into June May falls away.
Fair day, fair night, O give me back
The tide that all fair things did lack
Except my Love except my Sweet!

Blow back O wind, thou art not kind
Though thou be soft: thou hast no mind
Her hair about my Sweet to wind.
O flowery sward, though thou be bright
I praise thee not for thy delight,
Thou has not kissed her silver feet.

Thou knowest Her not, O rustling tree,
What dost thou then to shadow me
With boughs Her eyen did never see?
O flowers, in vain ye bow adown,
Yet have not felt Her odorous gown
Brush past your leaves my lips to meet.

Flow on, great river; thou mayst deem
That far away, a summer stream
Thou sawest her limbs amid thee gleam,
[p. 42] And kissing foot, and kissing knee
Passed on to the forgetful sea—
Yet with naught true thou wilt me greet.

And thou, that me called by my name
O helpless one, hast thou no shame
That thou must even now seem the same
As while agone, as while agone,
When thou and She stood close alone,
And hands and lips and tears did meet.

Grow weak and pine lie down to die,
O body, in thy misery
Because short time and sweet goes by
O foolish heart, how weak thou art!
Break, break, because thou needs must part
From thine own Love, from thine own Sweet.

C-61. “Such words the summer air swept past his ears”

Unpublished. Untitled autograph, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 113, 1 page fragment in rough pencil draft. Also B. L. Add. M. S. 45,298B, f. 30; copyist’s version. Fragment from “The Man Who Never Laughed Again” in The Earthly Paradise, corresponding to ll. 1039-1053 in published version.

[ 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 made [it, yea, all memory]
Of the past days had utterly gone away[.]

C-62. "The Weariness of November" ( Are Thine Eyes Weary? )

Included in A Book of Verse, 1870, 10; later the November lyric of The Earthly Paradise.

A Book of Verse, 1870, [p. 10]

       The Weariness of November

                                      I
Are thine eyes weary? is thy heart too sick
To struggle any more with doubt, and thought
Whose formless veil draws darkening now and thick
Across thee e’en as smoke-tinged mist-wreaths, brought
Down a fair dale, to make it blind and nought?
Are thou so weary that no world there seems
Beyond these four walls, hung with pain and dreams?

                                      II
Look out upon the real world, where the moon,
Half-way twixt root and crown of these high trees,
Turns the dead midnight into dreamy noon,
Silent and full of wonders; for the breeze
Died at the sunset, and no images,
No hopes of day are left in sky or earth—
Is it not fair, and of most wondrous worth?

                                     III
Yea I have looked, and seen November there;
The changeless seal of change it seemed to be
Fair death of things, that living once, were fair;
Bright sign of loneliness too great for me;
Strange image of the dread eternity;
In whose void patience how can these have part,
These outstretched feverish hands, this restless heart?

The Earthly Paradise, November lyric, Kelmscott Press edition, 1896

Are thine eyes weary? is thy heart too sick
To struggle any more with doubt and thought,
Whose formless veil draws darkening now and thick
Across thee, e’en as smoke-tinged mist-wreaths brought
Down a fair dale, to make it blind and nought?
Are thou so weary that no world there seems
Beyond these four walls, hung with pain and dreams?

Look out upon the real world, where the moon,
Half-way 'twixt root and crown of these high trees,
Turns the dead midnight into dreamy noon,
Silent and full of wonders; for the breeze
Died at the sunset, and no images,
No hopes of day, are left in sky or earth:
Is it not fair, and of most wondrous worth?

Yea, I have looked, and seen November there;
The changeless seal of change it seemed to be,
Fair death of things that, living once, were fair;
Bright sign of loneliness too great for me,
Strange image of the dread eternity,
In whose void patience how can these have part,
These outstretched feverish hands, this restless heart?

C-63. October lyric of The Earthly Paradise

Included in A Book of Verse, 1870, 9.

Autograph in WMG J152 [pdf]

O love, turn from the unchanging sea, and gaze
Down these gray slopes upon the year grown old,
A-dying mid the autumn-scented haze
That hangs above the hollow in the wold,
Where the wind-bitten, ancient elms enfold
Worn church, long barn, orchard and red-roofed stead
Wrought in dead days for men a long while dead.

Come down, O love; may not our hands still meet
Since still we live today, forgetting June,
Forgetting May, deeming October sweet—
--O hearken, hearken! Through the afternoon
The grey tower sings a strange old tinkling tune;
Sweet, sweet and sad the toiling year’s last breath
Too satiate of life to strive with death!*

And we too—will it not be soft and kind,
The rest from life, from patience and from pain?
The rest from bliss we know not whence we find?
The rest from love that ne’er the end can gain?
--Hark how the time swells, that erewhile did wane,
Look up love! Ah cling close and never move!
How can I have enough of life and love?

[*Morris’s note: I think I shall have to alter this couplet there is something too like it in Tennyson—
try this
           Over the last days [“time” written above] that the year may live,
           Too satiate of life with Death to strive.]

A Book of Verse, 1870

            The Hopes of October.

O love, turn from the unchanging sea, and gaze
Down these grey slopes upon the year grown old,
Adying mid the autumn-scented haze
That hangeth o’er the hollow of the wold;
Where the wind-bitten ancient elms enfold
Grey church, long barn, orchard, and red-roofed stead
Wrought in dead days for men a long while dead

Come down, O love; may not our hands still meet
Since still we live today, forgetting June
Forgetting May, deeming October sweet—
O hearken, hearken! through the afternoon
The grey tower sings a strange old tinkling tune.
Sweet, sweet and sad, the toiling year’s last breath,
Too satiate of life to strive with death.

And we too—will it not be soft and kind,
The rest from life, from patience, and from pain,
The rest from bliss we know not when we find,
The rest from love, that ne’er the end can gain?
Hark, how the tune swells, that erewhile did wane!
How can I have enough of life and love?

C-64. "The Fears of June" ( Fair was the morn today, the blossomed scent / Floated across the fresh grass, and the bees, )

Included in "A Book of Verse," 8.

A Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 8]

                The Fears of June

Fair was the morn today, the blossoms scent
Floated across the fresh grass, and the bees,
With low vexed song, from rose to lily went,
A gentle wind was in the heavy trees,
And thine eyes shone with joyous memories;
Fair was the early morn, and fair wert thou
And I was happy—Ah, be happy now!

Peace and content without us, love within
‘That hour there was; now thunder and wild rain
Have wrapped the cowering world, and foolish sin
And nameless pride have made us wise in vain:
Ah love! although the morn shall come again,
And on new rose-buds the new sun shall smile
Can we regain what we have lost meanwhile?

Een now the west grows clear of storm and threat,
But midst the lightening did the fair sun die.
Ah he shall rise again for ages yet,
He cannot waste his life; but thou and I—
Who knows if next morn this felicity
My lips may feel, or if thou still shalt live
This seal of love renewed once more to give?

C-65. "The Shows of May" ( O love, this morn when the sweet nightingale / Had so long finished all he had to say)

Included in "The Book of Verse," 1870, 7. A partial draft is in Society of Antiquaries MS. 984/1/1, with two variants from printed version:

Soc. of A. MS 984/1/1

O love this morn, when the sweet nightingale
Had so long finished all he had to say
That thou hadst slept, and sleep had told her tale
And midst a peaceful dream had stolen away
In gragrant dawning of the first of May
Didst thou see aught, didst thous hear voices sing
Ere to the new-risen sun the bells gan ring. [variants in italics]

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 7]

                The Shows of May

O love, this morn, when the sweet nightingale
Had so long finished all he had to say
That thou hadst slept, and sleep had told her tale,
And midst a peaceful dream had stolen away
In fragment dawning of the first of May,
Didst thou see aught, didst thou hear voices sing
Ere to the risen sun the bells gan ring?

For then, methought, the Lord of Love went by,
To take possession of his flowery throne,
Ringed round with youths and maids and minstrelsy
A little while I sighed to find him gone
A little while the dawning was alone
And the light gathered; then I held my breath
And shuddered at the sight of Eld and Death

Alas, Love passed me in the twilight dun,
His music hushed the wakening ouzels song,
But on these twain bright shone the golden sun
And o’er their heads the brown birds’ tune was strong
As shivering, twixt the trees they stole along
None noted aught their noiseless passing by,
The World had quite forgotten it must die.

C-66. "The Ballad of Christine" ( Of silk my gown was shapen, / Scarlet they did on me )

[See List of Morris's Translations, 2, transcribed; could also be considered an original poem.]

Included in "The Book of Verse," 1870, 33-35.

* C-67. “Dead and gone is all desire”

Unpublished. Untitled, pencil autograph draft in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, f. 95. Copyist's version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 4v.

[B. L. Ms. 45,318, f. 95]

Dead and gone is all desire
Gone and left me cold and bare
Gone as the Kings that few remember
And their battle cry twixt arrow and air
Past and gone like last December
Gone as yesterday’s winds that were
Gone as the flame of yonder fire
O my heart how mayst thou bear it

45,298, f. 4v
Dead and gone is all desire
Gone and left me cold and bare
Gone as the kings that few remember
And their battle-cry ’twixt furrow and air
Past and gone like last December
Gone as yesterdays winds that were
Gone as the flames of yonder fire
Oh my heart! How mayst thou bear it?

C-68. Poems by the Way

Published Kelmscott Press and Reeves and Turner, 1891 and CW, IX. HM 6427, partly autograph Ms.

* C-69. "Ah shall this day e e'en as morn of yesterday?"

Draft of sonnet, private ms. printed in Ward Ritchie, William Morris and his 'Praise of Wine' (Los Angeles: Printed for distribution to the members of the Roxburghe Club and Zamorano Club). Cited in K. L. Goodwin, "Unpublished Lyrics of William Morris," Yearbook of English Studies 5(1975), 191.

C-70 "Tell me muse of the man wide wandering to & fro" [draft opening for translation of The Aeneid}

Tell me muse of the man wide wandering to & fro
Long tossed since when he laid the holy troytown low
Many towns of men he knew, and of minds of men had still
And many sea-born griefs endured against his will

See also List of Translations, no. 17.

C-71 Original Poem inserted in translation of Howard the Halt ("Only perchance too faint of heart was he;") titled, "A Gloss on the story of Haward by William Morris." Signed, Finished February 1874. Possibly the poem was added then. Fitzwilliam Ms. 270, 241- 243v.

Old Haward lived belike in yore agone
no life of dreams, but joys enow he won
And joys he lost within the fire-wrought isle.
Yet of the deeds, wherewith he did beguile
His latter days, we scarcely know meseems
From this our tale, wrought of desire and dreams,
although a glimmer of what once was day
about its twilight tangle yet must play
As first as in the world the story goes,
the world of waned hopes, and helpless woes,
Of useless worth, and love unweighed and lost
Where wrong may riot counting not the cost;
but when from out the world the young and fair
Are gone, as they that had no welcome there,
And eld is left, and life is but a name,
then wake the Gods to look upon the game:
then the lame dotard leaps up lithe of limb,
calls on the fowl of war to follow him,

[242] gathers his band of hot-heart youths untried;
and going wordless through that windy tide
With his own sword the careless tyrant slays
Nor lets one glory gild his end of days.
Nor is this all; still on the triumph fares
Of things despised, and hopes that were despairs.
by him whose name he knew not but to mock
despite of guarded garth, and wall, and lock
in his own house the wary man of strife,
the master-brawler, loseth unloved life.
two little lads the hard-heart champion slay
the craven miser casteth greed away,
And frank and friendly very death doth beard.
then through the land tale of these deeds is heard,
The Law spares not to hold them just and right,
and Haward's house with feast and gift is bright.
in fame and wealth he dies, who erst at first
One lonely hope undone but feebly nursed.

[243] A dream methinks all this by someone told
of many griefs, in all despair grown old;
A dream of lying down unloved, alone;
feeble, unbeauteous, but by mocking known,
And waking up a famous man and fair,
Well-loved, most mighty, bold all deeds to dare;
happy to bring the hardest thing to pass;
Nought left save longing of the wretch one was:
Of lying down most loth to wake again,
And waking up to wonder what was pain--
A dream of wrong in one night swept away
And Baldur's kingdom come with break of day[.]

Only perchance too faint of heart was he;
Who deemed hereof, a happy man to be
E'en in a dream;--too faint heart say we then!
Nay, rather brave to watch the songs of men
Winning today the battle lost yestreen,
Blessing the place where his vain blood hath been.

[243v] Yea, lacked he all good hap whose fond desire
Smoldering a while, broke out at last in fire
To burn long after all his woe was done,
Lighting a little space of yore agone.

 

C-72. "What change is this since morn of yesterday?"

Manuscript poem found with with "In Praise of Wine," in Ward Richie, William Morris and his "Praise of Wine," Los Angeles: Ward Richie Press, 1958.

Ah shall this day be e'en as morn of yesterday?
What change is this since
My heart was filled with hope and pity and love
Yet as I would, would not my faint lips move
So hard the bond of life upon me lay,
The blind joy's death, shame shadowy ashen grey,
The guardian of the fate of that lone grove
That nesteth down the sword we may not prove
That blurreth hell and thrusteth Heaven away.

So spake I till my heart grew hot in me
And from the empty void behind at last
Yet trembling through the veil my heart I cast
Into the arms of love and suddenly
Dim grew the world because oer me and thee
One shame there was one life till all be past.

D-1. Poems interspersed throughout The Story of Grettir the Strong
Poems are found in chapters 3-4, 9, 11-12, 14, 16-19, 21-22, 24, 27-28, 31, 40, 47-48, 52, 54, 57, 59, 61-63, 66, 74, 77, 82, 86, 92.


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