List of Morris's Poems Presumed Written after 1875

For poems not published in the Collected Works or Artist, Writer, Socialist, a transcription is provided. In some cases the date of composition is uncertain.

Table of Contents

1. “The Burghers’ Battle” ( Thick rise the spearshafts o’er the land / That erst the harvest bore; )

Published Athenaeum, June 16th, 1888, 761. Published in Sigurd the Volsung, 1876, Book II, and included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 104-105. B.L. Ashley Ms. 4903, fols. 2-3, 1869-70. HM 6427, f. 24, Athenaeum version sent to printer. Morris has marked for the printer, "Do not indent." Also draft f. 25. Some rejected autograph stanzas are at the Humanities Research Center Library, University of Texas, Ms. file (Morris, W.), Works B.

2. “State-Aided Emigration, 889” ( Lo trim on the rollers all ready for sea )

Published AWS, I, 466-67. Untitled, B. M. Add. Ms. 45,298A, ff. 123 and 126; Morris autograph. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, ff. 25-26, with 1889 rather than 889 placed after the title. In AWS May Morris states that it was written during his editorship of Commonweal.
Title in manuscript: State aided Emigration in 889

B. L. Ms. 45,298A

[f. 123]

Lo trim on the rollers all ready for sea
The wood’s Daughter lieth, the maid of the tree
And hither comes creeping the arm of the tide
All eager for clasping her wind-whistled side.
Lay hand to the gunwale shove down to the brine
For the night of the spring-tide grows little and fine
And the moon-drowning heaven grows bright into day
And clear the king’s galley that drives us away.

Now fair on the ripple she floats as the swan
So swing in the meal-bags and softly thereon
Lay down the long hoary the warrior of old
And the grandam beside him the nurse of the bold
Be speedy ye maidens, lift kirtles and tread
Firm foot o’er the threshold of this the new stead!
No need to the mountains to look aback now
For [Rut?] of the sheepfold and Rolf of the bow.

Lo but [Rut?] there be singing, too rough-voiced he is
Thou cold-cheek thou red lipped stop that with a kiss
Yea Thora Rolfs right arm about thee is stark
That came down through the spear drift amidst of the dark
Nay [Asny?] nay Asta why weep ye so sore
That no Biorn and no Brand come adown to the shore
Three feet from the Kings shield fell Biorn to earth
Scowled the King as he harkened Brand’s death-scorning [“sword-smitten,” not crossed out] mirth

Go so softly O Gudrun as wendeth the doe
In the summer-tide bracken to couch her alow
The burden thou bearest ere old is the moon
Shall hear the rope rattle and crow to the tune
Of the lads on the benches that singeth to the wind
Apiping his story from time out of mind,
There the world new shall wonder agaze o’er the sea
In the hand of the dauntless with Eyes of the free

[f. 126, out of sequence]
Ye thralls of the westland that sang us in lays
Of the Ford of the [wicker?] wall deeds of old days
Be ye free be ye friends now in this the new house
Where the sea mew’s our blackbird the herring our mouse
Where the pathless wet meadowland round us is spread
And the lift is the roof of the feast hall o’er head
Is it wide enough brother this lea-land we win
With its pasturing bisons oar driven therein?

3. “The Hall and the Wood” ( ’Twas in the water-dwindling tide / When July days were done, )

Published English Illustrated Magazine, February, 1890, 351; written for this at the request of Emery Walker. A mostly fair copy with some corrections is in the Cheltenham Library and Wilson Art Museum, Z5, ff. 1-6, with inscription, "Emery Walker given me by William Morris," and signed "William Morris." Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 109-114. HM 6427, ff. 28-35, Morris autograph on white ruled paper, apparently torn from notebook. The first two and a half pages are in very rough pencil, and the title has been added by Sidney Cockerell in pencil.

[f. 28]

The Hall & the Wood. [in Cockerell’s handwriting]

Twas in the water dwindling tide
When July days were done
Sir Ralph of Greenhowe gan to ride
In the earliest of the sun

He left the white-walled burg behind
He rode amidst the wheat,
The westland gotten wind blew kind
Across the acres sweet--

Then rose his heart and cleared his brow,
And slow he rode the way
As then it was, so is it now
Not all hath worn away

So came he to the long green lane
That leadeth to the ford
And saw the sickle by the wane [sic]
Shine bright as as any sword.

The brown carles stayed twixt draught and draught,
And murmuring, stood aloof
One spake a word when he had laughed
“God bless the Green wood roof

[f. 29]

Then oer the ford & up he fared
And Lo the happy hills
The hollow mountain dale was cleared [written above, by summer]
That oft the snow drift fills

Then forth he rode by Peters gate,
And smiled and said aloud
No more a day doth the prior wait
White stands the tower & proud--

There stood a knight by the gate way side
In armour white and wan
And as Ralph rode his ways he cried
God save the hunted man!

Then cried Sir Ralph Amen Amen
For he deemed the word was good
And never a deal he loitered then
Till he reached the Lesser wood

He rode by ash, he rode by oak
He rode the thicket round
He heard no woodman strike a stroke
Nor wandering carle he found

[f. 30]

He rode the wet he rode the dry
He rode the grassy glade
At Wood end yet the sun was high
And his heart was unafraid

There on the bent his rein he drew
And looked oer field & fold,
Oer all the merry fields he knew
Beneath the mountains old

He gazed across to the good green How [sic; "and gazed" written opposite on f. 29v]]
As he smelt the sun warm sward
His face grew pale from chin to brow
And he cried God save the sword

For there across the winding way,
Above the Orchard green,
Stood up the ancient gables grey
With neer a roof between.

His naked sword in hand he had
Through rough and smooth he rode

[f. 31]
Till he stood where once his heart was glad
Amidst his old abode

Across the hearth a tiebeam lay
Unmoved a weary while.
The flame that clomb the ashlar grey
Had burned it red as tile

The sparrows bikering on the floor
Fled as [sic] his entering in
Without the swift [crossed out, swept] past the door
His winged meat to win--

[f. 30v, from here to end, in ink]
Red apples from the tall old tree
Oer["topped the broken wall" written above] the wall’s-rent were shed
Thence oft, a little lad would he
Look down upon the lead

There hung the cheeping chaffinch now
That feared no birding child
Through the shot-window thrust a bough
Of garden rose run wild

[f. 31v]

He looked to right, he looked to left
And down to the cold grey hearth
Where lay an axe with halfburned heft
Amidst the ashen dearth.

He caught it up and cast it wide
Against the gable wall
Then to the dais did he stride
Oer beam and bench and all.

There yet amidst the high-seat stood
Where erst his sire had sat

[f. 32]
And the mighty board of oaken wood
The fire had stayed thereat.

Then through the red wrath of his eyne
He saw a sheathed sword
Lie thwart that wasted field of wine
And he reached across the board.

But by the hilts a slug-horn lay
And there beside a scroll
He caught it up and turned away
From the lea-land of the bowl

Then with the sobbing grief he strove
For he saw his name thereon
And the heart within his breast uphove
As the pen’s tale now he won.

Of Rafe my love of long ago
Draw forth thy fathers blade
And blow the horn for friend and foe
And call on the green wood aid.

[f. 33]

He turned and took the slug horn up
And set it to his mouth
And oer the acre of the cup
Blew East and West & South--

He drew the sword from out the sheath
And shook the fallow brand
And there awhile with bated breath
And hearkening ear did stand.

Him seemed the horn’s voice [not crossed out, heard] he might hear—
Or the wind the [sic] blew o[e]all
Him seemed that footsteps drew anear
Or the bough[s] shook round the hall

Him seemed he heard a voice he knew
Or a dream of while agone
Him seemed bright raiment toward him drew
Or clear the sunset shone.

She stood before him face to face,
With the sunlight round her hand [opposite, 32v. "And held out hand to hand"
As on the gold of [not crossed out, in] the Holy Place
The painted angels stand

[f. 34]

With many a kiss she closed his eyes
She kissed him cheek and chin
Een so in the painted Paradise
Are earth’s folk welcomed in--

But in the door the green coats stood
Oer the bows rose up the cry
O welcome Rafe to the good green-wood
With us to live and die

It was bill and bow by the high seat stood
And they cried above the bows
Now welcome Rafe to the free green wood
O welcome Kate the Rose--

White white in the moon is the woodland plash
White is the woodland glade
Forth wend those twain from oak to ash
With light hearts unafraid

The summer moon is set high oer the hill,
All silver white is she
And Sir Rafes good men with bow & bill
They go by two and three

[f. 35]

In the fair green wood that hath no fear
Where the Kings writ runneth not
There dwell they friends and fellows dear
While summer days are hot--

And when the leaf from the oak tree [not crossed out, "the winter on them"] falls
And the winds blow rough and strong
With the carles of the woodland thorps & hall
They dwell and fear no wrong

[f. 34v]

And there the merry Yule they make
And see the winter wane
And fain are they for true-love’s sake
And the folk thereby are fain

[f. 35v]

For the ploughing-carle and the straying herd
Flee never for Sir Rafe
No bare foot maiden wends afeard
For such is the thicket safe

But sore adread the chapmen ride
Wide round the wood they go
And the Judge and the sergeants wander wide
Lest they plead before the bow

Well learned forsooth is Sir Rafe’s good sword
And straight their arrows fly
And they find the coat of many a lord
And the crest that rideth high.

4. “The Day of Days” ( Each eve earth falleth down the dark, / As though its hope were o’er; )

Published Time, 1890, 1178. Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 115.

5. “The Message of the March Wind” ( Fair now is the springtide, now earth lies beholding )

Published Commonweal, March, 1885. Printed in Chants for Socialists, 1885, pp. 13-15 and CW, XXIV (as first section of “The Pilgrims of Hope”). Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 121-23. HM 6427, ff. 44 a.-e., printed copy prepared for printer.

[f. 44a.]


Fair now is the springtide, now earth lies beholding
With the eyes of a lover, the face of the sun;
Long lasteth the daylight, and hope is enfolding
The green-growing acres with increase begun.

Now sweet, sweet it is through the land to be straying
'Mid the birds and the blossoms and the beasts of the field;
Love mingles with love, and no evil is weighing
On thy heart or mine, where all sorrow is healed.

From township to township, o'er down and by tillage
Fair, far have we wandered and long was the day;
But now cometh eve at the end of the village,
Where over the grey wall the church riseth grey.

There is wind in the twilight; in the white road before us
The straw from the ox-yard is blowing about;
The moon's rim is rising, a star glitters o'er us,
And the vane on the spire-top is swinging in doubt.

Down there dips the highway, toward the bridge crossing over
The brook that runs on to the Thames and the sea.
Draw closer, my sweet, we are lover and lover;
This eve art thou given to gladness and me.

Shall we be glad always? Come closer and hearken:
Three fields further on, as they told me down there,
When the young moon has set, if the March sky should darken
We might see from the hill-top the great city's glare.

Hark, the wind in the elm-boughs! from London it bloweth,
And telleth of gold, and of hope and unrest;
Of power that helps not; of wisdom that knoweth,
But teacheth not aught of the worst and the best.

Of the rich men it telleth, and strange is the story
How they have, and they hanker, and grip far and wide;
And they live and they die, and the earth and its glory
Has been but a burden they scarce might abide.

Hark! the March wind again of a people is telling;
Of the life that they live there, so haggard and grim,
That if we and our love amidst them had been dwelling
My fondness had faltered, thy beauty grown dim.

This land we have loved in our love and our leisure
For them hangs in heaven, high out of their reach;
The wide hills o'er the sea-plain for them have no pleasure,
The grey homes of their fathers no story to teach.

The singers have sung and the builders have builded,
The painters have fashioned their tales of delight;
For what and for whom hath the world's book been gilded,
When all is for these but the blackness of night?

How long, and for what is their patience abiding?
How oft and how oft shall their story be told,
While the hope that none seeketh in darkness is hiding,
And in grief and in sorrow the world groweth old?

Come back to the inn, love, and the lights and the fire,
And the fiddler's old tune and the shuffling of feet;
For there in a while shall be rest and desire,
And there shall the morrow's uprising be sweet.

Yet, love, as we wend, the wind bloweth behind us,
And beareth the last tale it telleth to-night,
How here in the spring-tide the message shall find us;
For the hope that none seeketh is coming to light.

Like the seed of midwinter, unheeded, unperished,
Like the autumn-sown wheat 'neath the snow lying green,
Like the love that o'ertook us, unawares and uncherished,
Like the babe 'neath thy girdle that groweth unseen;

So the hope of the people now buddeth and groweth,
Rest fadeth before it, and blindness and fear;
It biddeth us learn all the wisdom it knoweth;
It hath found us and held us, and biddeth us hear:

For it beareth the message: "Rise up on the morrow
And go on your ways toward the doubt and the strife;
Join hope to our hope and blend sorrow with sorrow,
And seek for men's love in the short days of life."

But lo, the old inn, and the lights, and the fire,
And the fiddler's old tune and the shuffling of feet;
Soon for us shall be quiet and rest and desire,
And to-morrow's uprising to deeds shall be sweet.

6. “A Death Song” ( What cometh here from west to east awending? / And who are these, the marchers stern and slow? )

Published as “Alfred Linnell: A Death Song,” 1887, 4 pages with drawing by Walter Crane, then in Commonweal, no. 202, November 23, 1889. Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 124. HM 6427, f. 45, published version copy prepared for the printer by Morris.

7. “Earth the Healer, Earth the Keeper” ( So swift the hours are moving / Unto the time unproved: )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 182-84. HM 6427, ff. 121-24; Morris autographs, draft and fair copy, ink on white ruled paper; 2 versions, ff. 121 and 121v are a rough copy, and ff. 122-124 are a fair copy but with a few clear corrections.

May Morris believed this to be a late poem (CW, IX, xxxvi). A partial fragment exists in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, f. 1v., beginning “Peace for the joy abiding.”

[HM 6427, f. 121]
So swift the hours are moving
Unto the time unproved
Farewell my love unloving
Farewell my love beloved!

What! are we not glad-hearted?
Is there no deed to do?
Is not all fear departed,
And spring-tide blossomed new?

The sails swell out above us
The sea-ridge lifts the keel
For they have called who love us,
Who bear the gifts that heal:

A crown for him that winneth,
A bed for him that fails,
A glory that beginneth
In never-dying tales.

Yet now the pain is ended
And the glad hand grips the sword,
Look on thy life amended
And deal out due award.

Think of the thankless morning,
The gifts of noon unused;
Think of the eve of scorning,
The night of prayer refused!

And yet--the life before it,
Dost thou remember aught
What terrors shivered o’er it,
From out the [alt. many a ] hell of thought?

[f. 121v]
And this that cometh after--
How dost thou live and dare
To meet its empty laughter,
To face its friendless care?

In fear didst thou desire,
At peace dost thou regret
The wasting of the fire
The tangling of the net.

Love came & gat fair greeting,
Love went and left no shame:
Shall both the twilights meeting
The summer sunlight blame?

What! cometh love, and goeth
Like the dark night[’]s empty wind,
Because thy folly soweth
For the harvest of the blind?

Hast thou slain love with sorrow?
Have thy tears quenched the sun[?]
Nay even yet to-morrow
Shall many a deed be done.

Lo this twilight sea thou sailest
Has May show[n] but dim and black
On the day when thou prevailest
Or glitter neath thy lack

Peace then for thine old grieving
Was born of Earth the kind
And the sad tale thou art leaving
Earth shall not leave behind

[written at edge on right]
Lo to the dawn-blink yonder
The sunrise draweth nigh
And men forget to wonder
And thou wert born to die

[at this point this version stops at the end of the page, so that the following stanzas were not included in this draft or have been lost]

Peace! for that joy abiding
Whereon thou layest hold
Earth keepeth for a tiding
For the day when this is old.

Thy soul and life shall perish,
And thy name as last night’s wind;
But Earth the deed shall cherish
That thou to-day shalt find.

And all thy joy and sorrow
So great but yesterday,
So light a thing to-morrow,
Shall never pass away.

Lo! lo! the dawn-blink yonder,
The sunrise draweth night,
And men forget to wonder
That they were born to die.

Then praise the deed that wendeth
Through the daylight and the mirth!
The tale that never endeth
Whoso may dwell on earth.

8. “The Folk-mote by the River” ( It was up in the morn we rose betimes / From the hall-floor hard by the row of limes. )

Published in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 169-76. May Morris believed this to be a late poem (CW, IX, xxxvi). HM 6427, ff. 108-114, fair copy; ff. 115-116v., incomplete draft.

[f. 108]

It was up in the morn we rose betimes
From the hall-floor hard by the row of limes.

It was but John the Red and I,
And we were the brethren of Gregory;

And Gregory the Wright was one
Of the valiant men beneath the sun,

And what he bade us that we did
For ne’er he kept his counsel hid.

So out we went, and the clattering latch
Woke up the swallows under the thatch[.]

It was dark in the porch, but our scythes we felt,
And thrust the whetstone under the belt.

Through the cold garden boughs we went
Where the tumbling roses shed their scent.

Then out a-gates and away we strode
O’er the dewy straws on the dusty road,

And there was the mead by the town-reeve’s close
Where the hedge was sweet with the wilding rose.

Then into the mowing grass we went
Ere the very last of the night was spent.

Young was the moon, and he was gone,
So we whet our scythes by the stars alone:

But or ever the long blades felt the hay
Afar in the East the dawn was grey.

Or ever we struck our earliest stroke
The thrush in the hawthorn-bush awoke.

While yet the bloom of the Swathe was dim
The black-bird’s bill had answered him.

Ere half of the road to the river was shorn
The sunbeam smote the twisted thorn.

Now wide was the way ’twixt the standing grass

[f. 109]
For the townsfolk unto the mote to pass,

And so when all our work was done
We sat to breakfast in the sun,

While down in the stream the dragon-fly
’Twixt the quivering rushes flickered by;

And though our knives shone sharp and white
The swift bleak heeded not the sight.

So when the bread was done away
We looked along the new shorn hay,

And heard the voice of the gathering-horn
Come over the garden and the corn;

For the wind was in the blossoming wheat
And drave the bees in the lime-boughs sweet.

Then loud was the horn’s voice drawing near,
And it hid the talk of the prattling weir.

And now was the horn on the pathway wide
That we had shorn to the river-side.

So up we stood, and wide around
We sheared a space by the Elders’ Mound;

And at the feet thereof it was
That highest grew the June-tide grass;

And over all the mound it grew
With clover blent, and dark of hue.

But never aught of the Elders’ Hay
To rick or barn was borne away[.]

But it was bound and burned to ash
In the barren close by the reedy plash.

For ’neath that mound the valiant dead
Lay hearkening words of valiance said

When wise men stood on the Elders['] Mound,
And the swords were shining bright around.

And now we saw the banners borne
On the first of the way that we had shorn[;]

So we laid the scythe upon the sward
And girt us to the battle-sword[.]

[f. 110]

For after the banners well we knew
Were the Freemen wending two and two.

There then that high-way of the scythe
With many a hue was brave and blythe.

And first below the Silver Chief
Upon the green was the golden sheaf.

And on the next that went by it
The White Hart in the Park did sit.

Then on the red the white wings flew,
And on the White was the Cloud-fleck blue[.]

Last went the Anchor of the Wrights
Beside the Ship of the Faring-Knights.

Then thronged the folk the June-tide field
With naked sword and painted shield[,]

Till they came adown to the river-side,
And there by the mound did they abide.

Now when the swords stood thick and white
As the mace reeds stand in the streamless bight,

There rose a man on the mound alone
And over his head was the grey mail done[.]

When over the new shorn place of the field
Was nought but the steel hood & the shield[.]

The face on the mound shone ruddy and hale,
But the hoar hair showed from the hoary mail.

And there rose a hand by the ruddy face
And shook a sword o’er the peopled place.

And there came a voice from the mound & said:
“O sons, the days of my youth are dead,

And gone are the faces I have known
In the street and the booths of the goodly town.

O sons, full many a flock have I seen
Feed down this water-girdled green.

Full many a herd of long-horned neat
Have I seen ’twixt water-side and wheat.

[f. 111]

Here by this water side full oft
I heaved the flowery hay aloft.

And oft this water side anigh
Have I bowed adown the wheat stalks high

And yet meseems I live & learn
And lore of younglings yet must earn.

For tell me, children, whose are these
Fair meadows of the June’s increase?

Whose are these flocks and whose the neat,
And whose the acres of the wheat?”

Scarce did we hear his latest word,
On the wide shield so rang the sword.

So rang the sword upon the shield
That the lark was hushed above the field.

Then sank the shouts and again we heard
The old voice come from the hoary beard:

“Yea, whose are yonder gables then,
And whose the holy hearths of men?

Whose are the prattling children there,
And whose the sunburnt maids and fair?

Whose thralls are ye, hereby that stand,
Bearing the freeman[’]s Sword in hand?”

As glitters the sun in the rain-washed grass,
So it [sic] the tossing swords it was;

As the thunder rattles a long and a down
E’en so was the voice of the weaponed town.

And there is the steel of the old man’s sword,
And there was his hollow voice and his word:

Many men many minds, the old saw saith,
Though hereof ye be sure as death.

For what spake the herald yestermorn
But this, that ye were thrall-folk born.

That the lord that owneth all and some
Would send his men to fetch us home

Betwixt the haysel, and the tide

[f. 112]
When they shear the corn in the country side.

O children, Who was the lord? ye say
What prayer to him did our fathers pray[?]

Did they hold out hands his gyves to bear?
Did their knees his high hall’s pavement wear?

Is his house built up in heaven aloft?
Doth he make the sun rise oft and oft?

Doth he hold the rain in his hollow hand?
Hath he cleft this water through the land?

Or doth he stay the summer-tide,
And make the winter days abide?

O children, Who is the lord? ye say,
Have we heard his name before today?

O children, if his name I know,
He hight Earl Hugh of the Shivering Low:

For that herald bore on back and breast
The Black Burg under the Eagle’s Nest.”

As the voice of the ["of" not crossed out] winter wind that tears
At the eaves of the thatch and its emptied ears,

E’en so was the voice of laughter & scorn
By the water-side in the mead new-shorn;

And over the garden and the wheat
Went the voice of women shrilly-sweet.

But now by the hoary elder stood
A carle in raiment red as blood.

Red was his weed and his glaive was white,
And there stood Gregory the Wright.

So he spake in a voice was loud and strong:
“Young is the day though the road is long;

There is time if we tarry nought at all
For the kiss in the porch and the meat in the hall.

And safe shall our maidens sit at home
For the foe by the way we wend must come.

Through the three Lavers shall we go

[f. 113]
And raise them all against the foe.

Then shall we wend the Downland ways
And all the shepherd spearmen raise.

To Cheaping Raynes shall we come adown
And gather the bowmen of the town;

And Greenstead next we come unto
Wherein are all folk good & true.

When we come our ways to the Outer Wood
We shall be an host both great and good;

Yea when we come to the open field
There shall be a many under shield.

And maybe Earl Hugh shall lie alow
And yet to the house of Heaven go.

But we shall dwell in the land we love
And grudge no hallow Heaven above.

Come ye, who think the time o[’]er long
Till we have slain the word of wrong!

Come ye who deem the life of fear
On this last day hath drawn o’er near!

Come after me upon the road
That leadeth to the Erne[’]s abode.”

Down then he leapt from off the mound
And back drew they that were around

Till he was foremost of all those
Betwixt the river and the close.

And uprose shouts both glad & strong
As followed after all the throng[;]

And overhead the banners flapped,
As we went on our ways to all that happed.

The fields before the Shivering Low
Of many a grief of manfolk know;

There may the autumn acres tell

[f. 114]
Of how men met, and what befell.

The Black Burg under the Eagle’s nest
Shall tell the tale as it liketh best.

And sooth it is that the River-land
Lacks many an autumn-gathering hand[.]

And there are troth-plight maids unwed
Shall deem awhile that love is dead;

And babes there are to men shall grow
Nor ever the face of their fathers know.

And yet in the Land by the River-side
Doth never a thrall or an earl’s man bide;

For Hugh the Earl of might and mirth
Hath left the merry days of Earth;

And we live on in the land we love,
And grudge no hallow Heaven above.

9. “Thunder in the Garden” ( When the boughs of the garden hang heavy with rain / And the blackbird reneweth his song, )

Published in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 154-55. HM 6427, ff. 80-81. May Morris believed this to be a late poem (CW, IX, xxxvi), but it seems to resemble poems of The Earthly Paradise period. See “List of Poems of the Earthly Paradise Period,” no. C53.

10. Chants for Socialists. Socialist League Office, 1885.

These were “The Day is Coming,” “The Voice of Toil,” “The Message of the March Wind,” “No Master,” “All for the Cause,” and “The March of the Workers.” “The Pilgrims of Hope,” “No Master” and “The March of the Workers” were published in CW, XXIV, 369-408, 409, and 410-11.
“A Death Song,” “May Day, 1892,” and “May Day, 1894” were added later and appeared in the 1915 edition.

11. “The Voice of Toil” ( I heard men saying, leave hope and praying, / All days shall be as all have been; )

Published Justice, April 5, 1884 and in Chants for Socialists, 1885, 6-7. Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 177-78. HM 6427, ff. 117a. and b., copy prepared by Morris for Poems by the Way from printed version of Chants for Socialists, pp. 6 and 7, with no verbal alterations.

12. “The Day is Coming” ( Come hither lads and hearken, for a day there is to tell / Of the wonderful days a’coming when all shall be better than well. )

Printed as Chants for Socialists, No. 1, “The Day is Coming.,” 1884, a 10 page pamphlet. Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 180-81. HM 6427, ff. 120 a., b. Copy prepared by Morris for printer of Poems By the Way from Chants for Socialists, pp. 3-5, with no verbal alterations. Also a copy with some corrections and variants, “The Days to Come,” in WMG J14G.

[WMG J14G]

Come hither lads and listen, for a tale there is to tell
Of the wonderful days a coming, when all shall be better than well

And the tale shall be told of a country, a land in the midst of the sea,
And folk shall call it England in the days that are going to be.

Then more than one in a thousand in the days that are yet to come
Shall have some hope for tomorrow, some joy in the ancient home.

For then, (laugh not, but listen to this strange tale of mine!)
All folk that are in England shall be better lodged than swine.

Then a man shall work and bethink him, and rejoice in the deeds of his hand,
Nor ye come home in the even too faint and weary to stand.

Men in that time acoming shall work & have no fear
For tomorrow’s lack of earning and the hunger-wolf anear.

I tell you this for a wonder, that no man then shall be glad
Of his fellow’s fall and mishap to snatch at the work he had.

For that which the worker winneth shall then be his indeed,
Nor shall half be reaped for nothing by him that hath sowed no seed

O new found wonderful justice! but for whom shall we gather the gain?
For ourselves & for each of our fellows, that no hand may labour in vain.

Then all mine and all thine shall be ours, and no more shall any man grave
For riches that serve for nothing but to fetter a friend for a slave.

And what wealth then shall be left us when none shall heap up gold
To buy his friend in the market, and pinch and pine the sold.

Nay what save the lovely city, and the little house on the hill
And the wastes and the woodland beauty & the happy fields we till:

The homes of ancient stories the tombs of the mighty dead;
And the wise men seeking out marvels, and the poets teeming head;

And the painters hand of wonder, and the marvellous fiddle-bow
And the banded choirs of music -- all those that do and know.

For all then shall be ours and all men’s, and none shall lack a share
Of the toil and the gain of living in the days of the world grown fair.

Ah! such are the days that shall be! But what are the deeds of today,
And the hours of the years we dwell in that wear our lives away?

Why, then and for what are we waiting? There are three words to speak
We will it; and what is the foeman but the dream strong wakened & weak?

O why, and for what are we waiting? While our brothers droop & die
And on every wind of the heavens a wasted life goes by.

How long shall they reproach us, where crowd on crowd they swell,
Poor ghosts of the wicked city, the gold crushed hungry hell?

Through squalid life they laboured, in sordid grief they died,
Those sons of a mighty mother, those props of England’s pride

They are gone; there is none can undo it, nor save our souls from the curse;
But many a million cometh, and shall they be better or worse.

It is we must answer and hasten, and open wide the door
For the rich mans hurrying terror and the slow-foot hope of the poor

Yea the voiceless wrath of the wretched, and their unlearned discontent
We must give it voice and wisdom till the waiting-tide be spent.

Come then, since all things call us the living and the dead
And o’er the weltering tangle a glimmering light is shed.

Come, let us cast off fooling and put by ease and rest
For the cause alone is worthy till the good days bring the best.

Come, join in the only battle wherein no man can fail,
Where whoso fadeth and dieth, yet his deed shall still prevail.

Ah come, & cast off all fooling for this at least we know
That the dawn and the day is coming and forth the banners go.

13. “All For the Cause” ( Hear a word, a word in season, for the day is drawing nigh, / when the Cause shall call upon us, some to live, and some to die. )

Published Justice, April 19, 1884 and Chants for Socialists, 1885, 8-9, and Commonweal, March 16, 1889. Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 185-86. HM 6427, ff. 125a, b, prepared by Morris for the printer of Poems by the Way from Chants for Socialists, pp. 8 and 9, with one change to the text, stanza 13.

We who once were fools and dreamers, then shall be the brave and wise. [is changed to]

We who once were fools defeated then shall be the brave and wise.

14. “Mother and Son” ( Now sleeps the land of houses, and dead night holds the street, )

Published Commonweal, 1885, vol. 1, 44. Portion of continuation of “The Message of the March Wind.” Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 150-53 and as part IV of “The Pilgrims of Hope” in CW, XXIV, 377-80. HM 6427, f. 77-79, copy prepared by Morris for printer from Commonweal text, ff. 77-78.

Corrections on f. 78

(So said thy father one day) "parteth the wrist white as curd" [becomes]

(So said thy father) "is parting the wrist that is white as curd"


If thy soul could harbour a dream of the blossom of my life!

It would be as the sunlit meadows beheld from a tossing sea, [becomes]

If thy soul could but harbour a dream of the blossom of my life!

It would be as the sunlit meadows beheld from a tossing sea,

15. “The Pilgrims of Hope” ( Fair now is the springtide, now earth lies beholding )

Published Commonweal, April, 1885 to July, 1886. Three sections included in Poems by the Way, CW, IX, “The Message of the March Wind,” “The Half of Life Gone,” and “Mother and Son,” Included in CW, XXIV, 369-408.

16. “No Master” ( Saith man to man, We’ve heard and known / That we no master need )

Published in Chants for Socialists, 1885, 10. Included in Poems By the Way, CW, XXIV, 409.

17. “The March of the Workers” ( What is this, the sound and rumour? What is this that all men hear, )

Published in Chants for Socialists, 1885, 11-12. Included in CW, XXIV, 410-11.

18. “Down Among The Dead Men” ( Come, comrades, come, your glasses clink / Up with your hands a health to drink, )

Published in Chants for Socialists, 1915 version. Included in CW, XXIV, 412.

19. “Drawing Near the Light” ( Lo when we wade the tangled wood )

Published without title in Commonweal, April 21, 1888. Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 188. HM 6427, f. 126b, typescript copy prepared for printer. An autograph Ms. at the Humanities Research Center Library, University of Texas is dated February 5th, 1888.

20. “The Half of Life Gone” ( The days have slain the days, and the seasons have gone by )

Published Commonweal, January 18, 1886, 4. Section 8 of “The Pilgrims of Hope.” Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 197-99 and CW, XXIV, 392-94. HM 6427, f. 140 printed copy from Commonweal sent to printer for Poems By the Way with two verbal changes.

In stanza 3, And yet amidst them goes [becomes]

And yet amidst of them goes

In stanza 3, l. 12, “place” becomes “face.”

21. “Mine and Thine” ( Two words about the world we see, / And nought but Mine and Thine they be. )

Published Commonweal, March 2, 1889, no. 164, 67. Included in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 200. HM 6427, f. 141, typescript prepared by Morris for the printer, with Morris’ subtitle, “From a Flemish Poem of the 14th Century.” This poem translates two strophes of Jacob van Maerlant’s “Wapene Martijn” (ca. 1230-after 1291). I am indebted to Ingrid Bieshuevel for this information.
May Morris says this “was written down after a lecture my father gave on the ‘Fourteenth Century’ at the little meeting-hall at Kelmscott House. This was done during the discussion after the lecture--a pretty and profitable way of passing the time!” (CW, IX, xxvii).

22. “Goldilocks and Goldilocks” ( It was Goldilocks woke up in the morn / At the first shearing of the corn. )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 225-248. Composed during the printing of Poems By the Way, 1891. HM 6427, ff. 178-206, Morris autograph, fair copy; ff. 207-230, pencil draft.

[HM 6427, f. 178]

Goldilocks and Goldilocks

It was Goldilocks woke up in the morn
At the first of the shearing of the corn.

There stood his mother on the hearth
And of new-leased wheat was little dearth[.]

There stood his sisters by the quern,
For the high-noon cakes they needs must earn.

“O tell me Goldilocks my son,
Why hast thou coloured raiment on?”

“Why should I wear the hodden grey
When I am light of heart to-day?”

“O tell us, brother[,] why ye wear
In reaping-tide the scarlet gear?

“Why hangeth the sharp sword at thy side
When through the land ’tis the hook goes wide?”

“Gray-clad am I that men may know
The freeman’s son where’er I go.

“The grinded sword at side I bear
Lest I the dastard’s word should hear.”

“O tell me Goldilocks my son,
Of whither away thou wilt be gone?”

“The morn is fair and the world is wide,
And here no more will I abide.”

“O Brother, when wilt thou come again?”
“The autumn drought and the winter rain,

[f. 179]

“The frost and the snow and St. David[']s wind,
All these that were time out of mind,

“All these a many times shall be
Ere the upland town again I see.”

“O Goldilocks my son, farewell,
As thou wendest the world twixt home and hell!” [published version has heaven and hell]

“O brother Goldilocks, farewell!
Come back with a tale for men to tell!”

So ’tis well away for Goldilocks,
As he left the land of the wheaten shocks.

He’s gotten him far from the Upland Town,
And he’s gone by Dale and gone by Down.

He’s come to the wild-wood dark and drear
Where never the bird’s song doth he hear.

He has slept in the moonless wood & dim

With never a voice to comfort him[.]

He has risen up under the little light
Where the noon is as dark as the summer night[.]

Six days therein has he walked alone
Till his scrip was bare and his meat was done.

On the seventh morn in the mirk mirk wood
He saw [a] sight that he deemed was good[.]

It was as one sees a flower a-bloom
In the dusky heat of a shuttered room.

[f. 180]

He deemed the fair thing far aloof,
And would go and put it to the proof

But the very first step he made from the place
He met a maiden face to face.

Face to face, and so close was she
That their lips met soft & lovingly.

Sweet-mouthed she was, and fair he wist;
And again in the darksome wood they kissed.

Then first in the wood her voice he heard,
Sweet as the song of the summer bird.

“O thou fair man with the golden head,
What is the name of thee?” she said.

“My name is Goldilocks,” said he;
“O sweet-breathed, what is the name of thee?”

“O Goldilocks the Swain,” she said,
“My name is Goldilocks the maid.”

He spake[,] “Love me as I love thee,
And Goldilocks one flesh shall be[.]”

She said; “Fair man, I wot not how
Thou lovest, but I love thee now[.]

“But come a little hence away,
That I may see thee in the day[.]

[f. 181]

“For hereby is a woodlawn clear
And good for a while for us it were.”

Therewith she took him by the hand
And led him into the lighter land.

There on the grass they sat adown.
Clad she was in a kirtle brown.

In all the world was never maid
So fair, so evilly arrayed.

No shoes upon her feet she had
And scantly were her shoulders clad;

Through her brown kirtle’s rents full wide
Shown out the sleekness of her side

And old scrip hung about her neck.
Of her attire she did not reck.

No shame of all her rents had she;
She gazed upon him eagerly.

She leaned across the grassy space
And put her hands about his face.

She said: “O hunger-pale art thou
Yet shalt thou eat though I hunger now.”

She took him apples from her scrip
She kissed him cheek and chin and lip.

She took him cakes of woodland bread;
"Whiles am I hunger-pinched;’"she said[.]

She had a gourd and a pilgrim shell;
She took him water from the well.

[f. 182]

She stroked his breast and his scarlet gear;
She spake, “How brave thou art and dear!”

Her arms about him did she wind;
He felt her body dear and kind.

“O love[,]” she said, “now two are one,
And whither hence shall we be gone?”

“Shall we fare further than this wood,”
Quoth he, “I deem it dear and good[.]”

She shook her head, and laughed, and spake;
“Rise up! For thee, not me[,] I quake.

Had she been minded me to slay
Sure she had done it ere today.

But thou: this hour the crone shall know
That thou art come, her very foe.

No minute more on tidings wait,
Lest e[’]en this minute be too late.”

She led him from the sunlit green,
Going sweet-stately as a queen.

There in the dusky wood and dim,
As forth they went, she spake to him:

“Fair man, few people have I seen
Amidst this world of woodland green:

But I would have thee tell me now
If there be many such as thou.”

[f. 183]

“Betwixt the mountains and the sea,
O Sweet, be many such,” said he.

Athwart the glimmering air and dim
With wistful eyes she looked on him.

“But ne’er an one so shapely made
Mine eyes have looked upon,” she said.

He kissed her face, and cried in mirth:
“Where hast thou dwelt then on the earth?”

“Ever,” she said, “I dwell alone,
With a hard handed cruel crone.

And of this crone am I the thrall
To serve her still in bower and hall;

And fetch and carry in the wood
And do whate’er she deemeth good[.]

But whiles a sort of folk there come
And seek my mistress at her home[;]

But such-like are they to behold
As make my very blood run cold[.]

Oft have I thought, if there be none
On earth save these, would all were done!

Forsooth[,] I knew it was nought so,
But that fairer folk on earth did grow.

But fain and full is the heart in me
To know that folk are like to thee.”

[f. 184]

Then hand in hand they stood awhile
Till her tears rose up beneath his smile.

And he must fold her to his breast
To give her heart a while of rest.

Till sundered she and gazed about,
And bent her brows as one in doubt.

She spake: “The wood is growing thin[,]
Into the full light soon shall we win.

Now crouch we that we be not seen,
Under yon bramble-bushes green.”

Under the bramble-bush they lay
Betwixt the dusk and the open day.

“O Goldilocks my love, look forth
And let me know what thou seest of worth[.]”

He said, “I see a house of stone,
A castle excellently done.”

“Yea,” quoth she, “There doth the mistress dwell.
What next thou seest shalt thou tell.”

“What lookest thou to see come forth?”
“Maybe a white bear of the North.”

“Then shall my sharp sword lock his mouth.”
“Nay,” she said, “or a worm of the South.”

“Then shall my sword his hot blood cool.”
“Nay, or a whelming poison-pool.”

[f. 185]

“The trees its swelling flood shall stay,
And thrust its venomed lip away.”

“Nay, it may be a wild-fire flash
To burn thy lovely limbs to ash.”

“On mine own hallows shall I call,
And dead its flickering flame shall fall.”

“O Goldilocks my love, I fear
That ugly death shall seek us here.

Look forth, O Goldilocks my love,
That I thine hardy heart may prove.

What cometh down the stone-wrought stair
That leadeth up to the castle fair?”

“Adown the doorward stair of stone
There cometh a woman all alone.”

“Yea, that forsooth shall my mistress be:
O Goldilocks, what like is she?”

“O fair she is of her array,
As hitherward she wends her way.”

“Unlike her wont is that indeed:
Is she not foul beneath her weed?”

“O nay, nay! But most wondrous fair
Of all the women earth doth bear.”

“O Goldilocks, my heart, my heart!
Woe, woe! for now we drift apart.”

[f. 186]

But up he sprang from the bramble-side,
And “O thou fairest one!” he cried:

And forth he ran that Queen to meet,
And fell before her gold-clad feet.

About his neck her arms she cast,
And into the fair-built house they passed.

And under the bramble-bushes lay
Unholpen[,] Goldilocks the may.

Thenceforth a while of time there wore,
And Goldilocks came forth no more.

Throughout that house he wandered wide,
Both up and down, from side to side.

But never he saw an evil crone,
But a full fair Queen on a golden throne.

Never a barefoot maid did he see,
But a gay and gallant company.

He sat upon the golden throne,
And beside him sat the Queen alone.

Kind she was, as she loved him well,
And many a merry tale did tell.

But nought he laughed, nor spake again,
For all his life was waste and vain.

Cold was his heart[,] and all afraid
To think on Goldilocks the Maid.

[f. 187]

Withal now was the wedding dight
When he should wed that lady bright.

The night was gone, and the day was up
When they should drink the bridal cup.

And he sat at the board beside the Queen,
Amidst of a guest-folk well beseen[.]

But scarce was midmorn on the hall,
When down did the mirk of midnight fall[.]

Then up and down from the board they ran[,]
And man laid angry hand on man.

There was the cry, and the laughter shrill,
And every manner word of ill.

Whoso of men had hearkened it[,]
Had deemed he had woke up over the Pit.

Then spake the Queen o’er all the crowd,
And grim was her speech, and harsh, and loud:

“Hold now your peace, ye routing swine[,]
While I sit with mine own love over the wine!

For this dusk is the very deed of a foe,
Or under the sun no man I know.”

And hard she spake, and loud she cried
Till the noise of the bickering guests had died.

Then again she spake amidst of the mirk[,]
In a voice like an unoiled wheel awork:

[f. 188]

“Whoso would have a goodly gift,
Let him bring aback the sun to the lift.

Let him bring aback the light and the day[,]
And rich and in peace he shall go his way.”

Out spake a voice was clean & clear:
“Lo[,] I am she to dight your gear;

But there for this gift shall I gain, [pub: But I for the deed a gift shall gain,]
To sit by Goldilocks the Swain.

I shall sit at the board by the bride-groom[’]s side,
And be betwixt him and the bride.

I shall eat of his dish and drink of his cup. [sic]
Until for the bride-bed ye rise up.”

Then was the Queen’s word wailing-wild:
“E’en so must it be, thou angel’s child.

Thou shalt sit by my groom till the dawn of night,
And then shalt thou wend thy ways aright.”

Said the voice, “Yet shalt thou swear an oath
That free I go though ye be loth.”

“How shall I swear?” the false Queen spake;
“Wherewith the sure oath shall I make?”

“Thou shalt swear by the one eye left in thine head;
And the throng of the ghosts of the evil dead.”

She swore the oath, and then she spake:
“Now let the second dawn awake.”

[f. 189]

And e’en therewith the thing was done;
There was peace in the hall, and the light of the sun.

And again the Queen was calm and fair,
And courteous sat the guest-folk there.

Yet unto Goldilocks it seemed
As if amidst the night he dreamed[;]

As if he sat in a grassy place[,]
While slim hands framed his hungry face;

As if in the clearing of the wood
One gave him bread and apples good;

And nought he saw of the guest-folk gay,
And nought of all the Queen’s array.

Yet saw he betwixt board and door,
A slim maid tread the chequered floor.

Her gown of green so fair was wrought,
That clad her body seemed with nought

But blossoms of the summer-tide,
That wreathed her, limbs and breast and side.

And, stepping towards him daintily,
A basket in her hand had she.

And as she went, from head to feet,
Surely was she most dainty-sweet.

Love floated round her, and her eyes
Gazed from her fairness glad and wise[;]

[f. 190]

But babbling-loud the guests were grown;
Unnoted was she and unknown.

Now Goldilocks she sat beside,
But nothing changed was the Queenly bride;

Yea too, and Goldilocks the Swain
Was grown but dull and dazed again.

The Queen smiled o’er the guest-rich board,
Although his wine the Maiden poured.

Though from his dish the Maiden ate[,]
The Queen sat happy and sedate.

But now the Maiden fell to speak
From lips that well-nigh touched his cheek[:]

“O Goldilocks, dost thou forget?
Or mindest thou the mirk-wood yet?

Forgettest thou the hunger-pain
And all thy young life made but vain?

How there was nought to help or aid[,]
But for poor Goldilocks the Maid?”

She murmured, “Each to each we two,
Our faces from the wood-mirk grew.

Hast thou forgot the grassy place[,]
And love betwixt us face to face?

Hast thou forgot how fair I deemed
Thy face? How fair thy garment seemed?

[f. 191]

Thy kisses on my shoulders bare,
Through rents of the poor raiment there?

My arms that loved thee nought unkissed
All o[’]er from shoulder unto wrist?

Hast thou forgot how brave thou wert,
Thou with thy fathers’ weapon girt;

When underneath the bramble-bush
I quaked like river-shaken rush,

Wondering what new-wrought shape of death
Should quench my new love-quickened breath?

Or else: forget’st thou[,] Goldilocks,
Thine own land of the wheaten shocks?

Thy mother and thy sisters dear,
Thou said’st would bide thy true-love there?

Hast thou forgot? Hast thou forgot?
O love, my love, I move thee not.”

Silent the fair Queen sat and smiled
And heeded nought the Angel’s child,

For like an image fashioned fair
Still sat the Swain with empty stare.

These words seemed spoken not, but writ
As foolish tales through night-dreams flit.

Vague pictures passed before his sight,
As in the first dream of the night.

But the Maiden opened her basket fair,
And set two doves on the table there.

And soft they cooed, and sweet they billed
Like man and maid with love fulfilled.

Therewith the Maiden reached a hand
To a dish that on the board did stand;

And she crumbled a share of the spice-loaf brown,
And the Swain upon her hand looked down;

Then unto the fowl his eyes he turned;
And as in a dream his bowels yearned

For somewhat that he could not name;
And into his heart a hope there came.

And still he looked on the hands of the Maid,
As before the fowl the crumbs she laid.

And he murmured low, “O Goldilocks!
Were we but amid the wheaten shocks!”

Then the false Queen knit her brows and laid
A fair white hand by the hand of the Maid.

He turned his eyes away thereat,
And closer to the Maiden sat.

But the queen-bird now the carle-bird fed
Till all was gone of the sugared bread.

Then with wheedling voice for more he craved,
And the Maid a share from the spice-loaf shaved;

And the crumbs within her hollow hand
She held where the creeping doves did stand.

But Goldilocks, he looked and longed,
And saw how the carle the queen-bird wronged.

For when she came to the hand to eat
The hungry queen-bird thence he beat.

Then Goldilocks the Swain spake low:
“Foul fall thee, bird, thou doest now

As I to Goldilocks, my sweet,
Who gave my hungry mouth to eat.”

He felt her hand as he did speak,
He felt her face against his cheek.

He turned and stood in the evil hall,
And swept her up in arms withal.

Then was there hubbub wild and strange,
And swiftly all things there ’gan change.

The fair Queen into a troll was grown,
A one-eyed, bow-backed, haggard crone.

And though the hall was yet full fair,
And bright the sunshine streamed in there,

On evil shapes it fell forsooth:
Swine-heads; small red eyes void of ruth;

And bare-boned bodies of vile things,
And evil-feathered bat-felled wings.

And all these mopped and mowed and grinned,
And sent strange noises down the wind.

There stood those twain unchanged alone
To face the horror of the crone;

She crouched against them by the board;
And cried the Maid: “Thy sword, thy sword!

Thy sword, O Goldilocks! For see
She will not keep her oath to me.”

Out flashed the blade therewith. He saw
The foul thing sidelong toward them draw,

Holding within her hand a cup
Wherein some dreadful drink seethed up.

Then Goldilocks cried out and smote,
And the sharp blade sheared the evil throat.

The head fell noseling to the floor;
The liquor from the cup did pour,

And ran along a sparkling flame
That nigh unto their footsoles came.

Then empty straightway was the hall,
Save for those twain, and she withal.

So fled away the Maid and Man,
And down the stony stairway ran.

Fast fled they o’er the sunny grass
Yet but a little way did pass

Ere cried the Maid: “Now cometh forth
The snow-white ice-bear of the North;

Turn Goldilocks, and heave up sword!”
Then fast he stood upon the sward,

And faced the beast, that whined and cried,
And shook his head from side to side.

But round him the Swain danced and leaped,
And soon the grisly head he reaped.

And then the ancient blade he sheathed,
And ran unto his love sweet-breathed;

And caught her in his arms and ran
Fast from that house, the bane of man.

Yet therewithal he spake her soft
And kissed her over oft and oft,

Until from kissed and trembling mouth
She cried: “The Dragon of the South!”

He set her down and turned about,
And drew the eager edges out.

And therewith scaly coil on coil
Reared ’gainst his face the mouth aboil:

The gaping jaw and teeth of dread
Was dark ’twixt heaven and his head.

But with no fear, no thought, no word,
He thrust the thin-edged ancient sword.

And the hot blood ran from the hairy throat,
And set the summer grass afloat.

Then back he turned and caught her hand,
And never a minute did they stand.

But as they ran on toward the wood,
He deemed her swift feet fair and good.

She looked back o’er her shoulder fair:
“The whelming poison-pool is here;

And now availeth nought the blade:
O if my cherished trees might aid!

But now my feet fail. Leave me then!
And hold my memory dear of men.”

He caught her in his arms again;
Of her dear side was he full fain.

Her body in his arms was dear:
“Sweet art thou, though we perish here!”

Like quicksilver came on the flood:
But lo, the borders of the wood!

She slid from out his arms and stayed;
Round a great oak her arms she laid.

“If e’er I saved thee, lovely tree,
From axe and saw, now, succour me:

Look how the venom creeps anigh,
Help! lest thou see me writhe and die.”

She crouched beside the upheaved root,
The bubbling venom touched her foot;

Then with a sucking gasping sound
It ebbed back o’er the blighted ground.

Up then she rose and took his hand
And never a moment did they stand.

“Come, love,” she cried, “the ways I know,
How thick soe’er the thickets grow.

O love, I love thee! O thine heart!
How mighty and how kind thou art!”

Therewith they saw the tree-dusk lit,
Bright grey the great boles gleamed on it.

“O flee,” she said, “the sword is nought
Against the flickering fire-flaught.”

“But this availeth yet,” said he,
“That Hallows All our love may see.”

He turned about and faced the glare:
“O Mother, help us, kind and fair!

Now help me, true St. Nicholas,
If ever truly thine I was!”

Therewith the wild-fire waned and paled
And in the wood the light nigh failed;

And all about ’twas as the night.
He said: “Now won is all our fight,

And now meseems all were but good
If thou mightst bring us from the wood.”

She fawned upon him, face and breast;
She said: “It hangs ’twixt worst and best.

And yet, O love, if thou be true,
One thing alone thou hast to do.”

Sweetly he kissed her, cheek and chin:
“What work thou biddest will I win.”

“O love, my love, I needs must sleep;
Wilt thou my slumbering body keep,

And, toiling sorely, still bear on
The love thou seemest to have won?”

“O easy toil,” he said, “to bless
Mine arms with all thy loveliness.”

She smiled; “Yea, easy it may seem,
But harder is it than ye deem.

For hearken! Whatso thou mayst see,
Piteous as it may seem to thee,

Heed not nor hearken! bear me forth,
As though nought else were aught of worth,

For all earth’s wealth that may be found
Lay me not sleeping on the ground,

To help, to hinder, or to save!
Or there for me thou diggest a grave.”

He took her body on his arm,
Her slumbering head lay on his barm.

Then glad he bore her on the way,
And the wood grew lighter with the day.

All still it was, till suddenly
He heard a bitter wail near by.

Yet on he went until he heard
The cry become a shapen word:

“Help me, O help, thou passer by!
Turn from the path, let me not die!

I am a woman; bound and left
To perish; of all help bereft.”

Then died the voice out in a moan;
He looked upon his love, his own,

And minding all she spake to him
Strode onward through the wild-wood dim.

But lighter grew the woodland green
Till clear the shapes of things were seen.

And therewith wild halloos he heard,
And shrieks, and cries of one afeard.

Nigher it grew and yet more nigh
Till burst from out a brake near by

A woman bare of breast and limb,
Who turned a piteous face to him

E’en as she ran: for hard at heel
Followed a man with brandished steel,

And yelling mouth. Then the swain stood
One moment in the glimmering wood

Trembling, ashamed: Yet now grown wise
Deemed all a snare for ears and eyes.

So onward swiftlier still he strode
And cast all thought on his fair load.

And yet in but a little space
Back came the yelling shrieking chase,

And well-nigh gripped now by the man,
Straight unto him the woman ran;

And underneath the gleaming steel
E’en at his very feet did kneel.

She looked up; sobs were all her speech,
Yet sorely did her face beseech.

While o’er her head the chaser stared,
Shaking aloft the edges bared.

Doubted the swain, and a while did stand
As she took his coat-lap in her hand.

Upon his hand he felt her breath
Hot with the dread of present death.

Sleek was her arm on his scarlet coat,
The sobbing passion rose in his throat.

But e’en therewith he looked aside
And saw the face of the sleeping bride.

Then he tore his coat from the woman’s hand,
And never a moment there did stand.

But swiftly thence away he strode
Along the dusky forest road.

And there rose behind him laughter shrill,
And then was the windless wood all still,

He looked around o’er all the place,
But saw no image of the chase.

And as he looked the night-mirk now
O’er all the tangled wood ’gan flow.

Then stirred the sweetling that he bore,
And she slid adown from his arms once more.

Nought might he see her well-loved face;
But he felt her lips in the mirky place.

“’Tis night,” she said, “and the false day’s gone,
And we twain in the wild-wood all alone.

Night o’er the earth; so rest we here
Until to-morrow’s sun is clear.

For overcome is every foe
And home to-morrow shall we go.”

So ’neath the trees they lay, those twain,
And to them the darksome night was gain.

But when the morrow’s dawn was grey
They woke and kissed whereas they lay.

And when on their feet they came to stand
Swain Goldilocks stretched out his hand.

And he spake: “O love, my love indeed,
Where now is gone thy goodly weed?

For again thy naked feet I see,
And thy sweet sleek arms so kind to me.

Through thy rent kirtle once again
Thy shining shoulder showeth plain.”

She blushed as red as the sun-sweet rose:
“My garments gay were e’en of those

That the false Queen dight to slay my heart;
And sore indeed was their fleshly smart.

Yet must I bear them, well-beloved,
Until thy truth and troth was proved.

And this tattered coat is now for a sign
That thou hast won me to be thine.

Now wilt thou lead along thy maid
To meet thy kindred unafraid.”

As stoops the falcon on the dove
He cast himself about her love.

He kissed her over, cheek and chin,
He kissed the sweetness of her skin.

Then hand in hand they went their way
Till the wood grew light with the outer day.

At last behind them lies the wood,
And before are the Upland Acres good.

On the hill’s brow awhile they stay
At midmorn of the merry day.

He sheareth a deal from his kirtle meet,
To make her sandals for her feet.

He windeth a wreath of the beechen tree,
Lest men her shining shoulders see.

And a wreath of woodbine sweet, to hide
The rended raiment of her side;

And a crown of poppies red as wine,
Lest on her head the hot sun shine.

She kissed her love withal and smiled:
“Lead forth, O love, the Woodland Child!

Most meet and right meseems it now
That I am clad with the woodland bough.

For betwixt the oak-tree and the thorn
Meseemeth erewhile was I born.

And if my mother aught I knew
It was of the woodland folk she grew.

And O that thou art well at ease
To wed the daughter of the trees!”

Now Goldilocks and Goldilocks
Go down amidst the wheaten shocks,

But when anigh to the town they come,
Lo there is the wain a-wending home,

And many a man and maid beside,
Who tossed the sickles up, and cried:

“O Goldilocks, now whither away?
And what wilt thou with the woodland may?”

“O this is Goldilocks my bride,
And we come adown from the wild-wood side,

And unto the Fathers’ House we wend
To dwell therein till life shall end.”

“Up then on the wain, that ye may see
From afar how thy mother bideth thee.

That ye may see how kith and kin
Abide thee, bridal brave to win.”

So Goldilocks and Goldilocks
Sit high aloft on the wheaten shocks,

And fair maids sing before the wain,
For all of Goldilocks are fain.

But when they came to the Fathers’ door,
There stood his mother old and hoar.

Yet was her hair with grey but blent,
When forth from the Upland Town he went.

There by the door his sisters stood;
Full fair they were and fresh of blood;

Little they were when he went away;
Now each is meet for a young man’s may.

“O tell me, Goldilocks, my son,
What are the deeds that thou hast done?”

“I have wooed me a wife in the forest wild,
And home I bring the Woodland Child.”

“A little deed to do, O son,
So long a while as thou wert gone.”

“O mother, yet is the summer here
Now I bring aback my true-love dear.

And therewith an Evil Thing have I slain;
Yet I come with the first-come harvest-wain.”

“O Goldilocks, my son, my son!
How good is the deed that thou hast done?

But how long the time that is worn away!
Lo! white is my hair that was but grey.

And lo these sisters here, thine own,
How tall, how meet for men-folk grown!

Come, see thy kin in the feasting-hall,
And tell me if thou knowest them all!

O son, O son, we are blithe and fain;
But the autumn drought, and the winter rain,

The frost and the snow, and St. David’s wind,
All these that were, time out of mind,

All these a many times have been
Since thou the Upland Town hast seen.”

Then never a word spake Goldilocks
Till they came adown from the wheaten shocks.

And there beside his love he stood
And he saw her body sweet and good.

Then round her love his arms he cast:
“The years are as a tale gone past.

But many the years that yet shall be
Of the merry tale of thee and me.

Come, love, and look on the Fathers’ Hall,
And the folk of the kindred one and all!

For now the Fathers’ House is kind,
And all the ill is left behind.

And Goldilocks and Goldilocks
Shall dwell in the land of the Wheaten Shocks.”

[story a bit like Aslaug from EP]

23. “May Day [1892]” ( O earth, once again cometh spring to deliver )

Published in Justice, 1892 and in Chants for Socialists, 1915 edition. Included in CW, XXIV, 413-14. A manuscript exists in the Joseph Dunlap Collection, New York, New York (Goodwin, Handlist, 1983).

24. “May Day, 1894” ( Clad is the year in all her best, )

Published in Chants for Socialists, 1915 edition, and in CW, XXIV, 415-16.

25. “For the Bed at Kelmscott” ( The wind’s on the wold / And the night is a-cold )

Published CW, XXIV, 417. Autograph at William Morris Society House. Also “The Wind’s On the Wold,” verses for embroidery on bed-hangings for Kelmscott Manor, Lechlade. Exhibited Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, 1893.

26. “She and He” ( SHE: The blossom's white upon the thorn, /The lily's on the lea, )

Published CW, XXI, 645-46. Written January, 1896; possibly his last poem. B L. Ms. 45,298a, ff. 128-29. Also a typescript WMG J162, titled "She and He," dated 1896.

B. L. Ms. 45,298A, ff. 128-29
Sent to Georgiana Burne-Jones Jan 7 1896, with an appended note by Morris in pencil, “this may be called a ‘poem by the way’   a stanza or two got into my head on Friday last, and so I thought I would go on with it.
I send it on so that it may not interrupt tomorrow (Wednesday’s reading) as that is business & is like to take time. WM

[B. L. MS 45,298A, f. 128]
The blossom’s white upon the thorn
And the lily’s on the lea
The beaded dew is bright this morn
Come forth and oer to me.

And when thou farest from the ford
My hand thine hand shall take
For this young day about my board
Men sing the feast awake

And I am lady of the land
My hall is wide and side
And therein would I have thee stand
To see my blossomed pride

Since oft a-days forth wandered we
Oer mead and dale and down
Till on the edges of the sea
Aloof we saw the town

Since oft a days we turned and went
And left the wind-worn shore
And there below the sheep fed bent
Stood by the little door.

Twas oft from glooming of the lea
Into the house we turned
And I by thee and thou by me
For ne[’]er another yearned

Wherefore while yet the day is young
And the feast’s awoke with morn
Come oer and hear the praises sung
Of the day when I was born.

[f. 129]
This morn I will not cross the ford
And take thee by the hand
And see the feast upon thy board
And midst the prideful stand

Gem strewn thine hands are that of old
All naked fair I knew
And covered oer with rudy gold
Thy feet that brush the dew

And though thine hall be wide and side
No room is there for me
For there be men of mickle pride
Betwixt thy face and me

And earl upon thy right hand is
A baron takes thy sleeve
A belted knight thine hand doth kiss
And craveth little leave.

I will depart and take my way
Oer mead and down and dale
And come thereto where on a day
We saw the upland fail

Then will I get me to the town
And ship me oer the main
And clean forget both dale and down
And the ways we went we twain

The while thy maidens round thee throng
To lay thee soft a bed
And thou lay’st down my loss and wrong
On the pillows of thine head

[f. 129]
One foot upon the deck shall be
One hand upon the rope,
And the Hale and How on the wltering sea
And one farewell to hope.
William Morris

followed by copy in Sydney Cockerell’s hand, ff. 130-131
and a fair copy in Morris’s autograph, ff. 132-134.

The blossom’s white upon the thorn
The lily’s on the lea
The beaded dew is bright tomorn;
Come forth and oe’r to me!

And when thou farest from the ford
My hand thine hand shall take;
For this young day about my board
Men bring the feast awake.

And I am lady of the land,
My hall is wide and side,
And therein would I have thee stand
To see my blossomed pride.

Since oft adays forth wandered we
O’er mead and dale and dawn,
Till on the edges of the sea
Aloof we saw the town.

Since oft a days we turned and went
And left the wind-worn shore,
And there below the sheep-fed bent
Stood by the little door.

’Twas oft from glooming of the lea
Into the house we turned,
And I by thee, and thou by men
Watched how the oak-log burned

Wherefore while yet the day is young,
And the feast awoke with morn,
Come oer and hear my praises sung
And the day when I was born.


To morn I will not cross the ford
And take thee by thine hand,
And see the feast upon thy board
And midst the prideful stand

Gem-strewn thine hands are that of old
All naked fair I knew;
And covered are thy feet with gold,
That brush the beaded dew.

And though thine hall be wide and sie
Nor room is there for me;
For there be men of mickle pride
Betwixt thy face and me

An earl upon thy right hand is,
A baron takes thy sleeve
A belted knight thine hand doth kiss,
And asketh little leave.

I will depart and take my way
Oer mead and down and dale
And come thereto where on a day
We saw the upland fail.

Then will I get me to the town
And ship me oer the main,
And clean forget both dale and down,
And the ways we went, we twain.

The whiles thy maidens round thee throng
To lay thee soft a bed,
And thou lay’st down my loss and wrong
On the pillows of thine head,

[f. 134]
One foot upon the deck shall be
One hand upon the rope
And the hail and how on the weltering sea
And one farewell to hope.

Followed by October 6th, 1914 letter from Sydney Cockerell to May, f. 135: “Dear May, I have no very clear recollection of my copying that poem, but there can be no question that the revision was made at the time by your father. I see that my copy is dated Jan 7 1896 and that the postmark is Jan 7 1896 11:30 a. m. so I evidently made the copy soon after I arrived in the morning and the original ms. was then posted to Lady B. J. I cant be sure whether awake or awoke is the correct reading, but on the whole I must vote for awake. Yours affectionately SCC.”

*27. discarded metrical opening for The Water of the Wondrous Isles.

Autograph copy B. L. Add. Ms. 45,325, ff. 1-17.

[f. 1]
The Water of the Wondrous Isles.

HERE tells the tale, and begins in rhyme:

Market it was, and noon of day
Within a cheaping-town that lay
Anigh the edges of a wood
Whereof men looked for little good.
Waste, wayless measureless it was
Never might chapmen through it pass;
Was none so poor or overbold
As therein would the hunting [?] hold;
No outlaw ever fled thereto,
No wretch therein would hide his woe
No hermit there, his cell had raised
Wherein might God be alone praised.

For through its glades, as some men said,
Yet waked and walked the wicked dead:
Said others, that betwixt its trees
As naked-fair as images
The goddesses of yore-agone
Went wailing for their souls undone.
Others again that faery folk
Tripped slim and shy from beech to oak
For men’s undoing, might they trap
Some witless happener on ill-hap.
But most of all tales told was this
That there the foemen of men’s bliss,
Mere devils, and nought else did dwell
And every road there led to Hell.

[f. 2] [seems a single page of an earlier draft, copied onto folio 1]
Market it was and noon of day
Within a cheaping-town that lay
Anigh the edges of a wood;
Whereof men deemed but little good:
Waste wayless measureless it was
Never might chapmen through it pass;
No man so poor, or overbold
As therein would the hunting hold:
No outlaw ever fled thereto
No wretch therein would hide his woe
For through the glades as some men said
Yet waked and walked the wicked dead:
Or others that betwixt its trees
As naked-fair as images
The goddesses of Yore agone
Went wailing for their souls undone.
Others again that faery folk
Fared slim and sly from beech to oak
For mens undoing might they trap
Some witless happener on mishap.
But most of all tales told was this
That there the foemen of men’s bliss,
Mere devils, and nought else did dwell,
And every road there led to hell.

Yet in the town no less men throve,
And tried the ways of luck and love;
And gat them heirs of wedded wives,
lived their lives [left over from earlier crossed-out line]
Feasted and drank and bought and sold
And gained and lost their goods and gold
And went their ways twixt woe and mirth
As others in all towns of earth

[f. 3]
And now therein at noon of day
They chaffered in their wonted way
About the market. These among
There went a woman tall and strong
Of fifty winters black of hair
Hawk eyed and big-nosed, not so fair
As masterful of look and mein.
She led a goodly ass between
Two panniers for her marketing
Wherein were now stored many a thing,
So that amidst the folk she went
No more on getting goods intent,
But gazing round as if to note
The people of the chaffer-mote.
But the young children eyed she there
Most chiefly, were they foul or fair
Borne in [by] kinswomen or alone.
Amidst all these she noted once
(Being now whereas the throng was thin,)
Who made a shift its way to win
On hands and knees as if she sought
Unto the mother that her ought
And presently indeed she came
Unto a weary-looking dame
Who sat upon a stone all bowed
Head unto knees without the crowd
Ill clad she was and when at last
The little one her arms had cast
About the legs of her she raised
A pale face thin and sorrow-dazed.
The other stayed and looked adown
Upon the heap of grey and brown
That was the mother of the child

[f. 4]
And therein nowise sweet she smiled
But noted how the woman blessed
The babe and strained her to her breast
And moaned therewith. Thus stood a while
The chaffering woman till her smile
Melted in speech: Dame wouldst thou tell
An alien who were fain to dwell
But one short hour in this good town
Where she might rest and sit her down
And eat a morsel and be free
Of ribalds and ill company.
Little forsooth the woman said
And rose up shalt thou be apaid
Of rede of mine too poor am I
Of ale-house or of hostelry
To tell thee aught. The other spake
Is there some neighbour for thy sake
Would take me in? The woman said
What neighbour since my man is dead
And I half dead for poverty
Amongst this thriving folk have I.
Why dost thou ask of me for sooth
Said the ass-leader: Nay but ruth
Now have I of thee: In thy way
If thou be wise hath fallen today
Some deal of good at least may stand
And hear me. And she set her hand
Unto her girdle-pouch and drew
Thereout a noble bright and new
And spake: when thou hast brought me on
Unto thine house then hast thou won
This gold and three more like it when
Over thy threshold out again
I take my soles. The woman laughed
Yea, thou shalt have a merry draught
Of simple water at my house
And feasting meet for any mouse

[f. 5]
My house is neither great nor fair
And hutch and cupboard all as bare
As is my palm. Well come thy ways
And thou shalt see what hunger says.
So from the market-place they passed
And reached the woman’s house at last
Which in the very street and stood
Which nighed a corner of the wood,
And so was poor folks’ wares: for those
Who richer were deemed it o’er close
Unto the park. The woman turned
And held the latch; Now have I earned
My first piece said she: here for thee
Is rest at least: the other three,
When thou art set, then shalt thou tell
What I must do to earn them well.
But leave thy way-beast in the street,
For nought have I that he may eat.
Therewith the door she opened wide,
And straightway the three passed inside
The alien sat her down straightway
On the yew chair. And fell to say:
Nay dame, all is not evil here
Thy chamber is not right unfair
Thy child I take it for a maid,
Is fair of flesh and God to aid
Thou shalt do better in a while:
Kindly she spake and a sleek smile
Played o’er her face. The [“woman” crossed out] stood
Before her: on the oaken wood
Of her meat board fast dropped the tears
Because the kind voice melted fears
And anger. Then the alien spake

[f. 6]
See now this fourth piece shalt thou take
(Here lie the three) and go adown
And buy, me thou who knowst the town
Good bread and flesh and cates and wine
And thereon both of us shall dine
When thou com’st back, and we both are fed
Yet somewhat more shalt thou be sped
With the good gold, ere I depart
The poor wife sobbed from her heart
And might not speak; but [her] way
Turning to where her maiden lay
Crying aloud some wordless need
Then down the street was gone indeed.

The alien sat a little while
Then with a changed face grim with guile
Arose and took the child and spake
Soft words, the grief of her to slake.
And bidding her be glad for so
Unto her mother should she go
Forthwith; then done up in some clout
Into the street she bore her out
And in the pannier laid her down
Then stirred her feet to leave the town

She glided swiftly as she went
Some noted her that her intent
Was for the wood, and there and then
They blessed them; these were few of men
None stayed or spake to her; scarce t’was
The time of saying a low mass
Ere she was in amongst the trees
Hidden from any enemies

[f. 7]
So came she forth of Utterhay
And grinning foully oer her prey
Went lightly through Evil-shaw
Nor worser than her self she saw.

THREE days the witch wife walked the wood
She gave her stolen child due food
And set her on the asses back
Betwixt the panniers; and no lack
The little one of joyance had
Whoso was merry, whoso sad
For many a new thing was to see
The squirrel on the beechen tree
The beating of the culvers wing:
The scuttling rabbits hurrying
From briar to brake; the cranes-bill red
The strawberries on her noontide bed
For through mid-time their journey lay.
But when at last their 4th whole day
Was waning grey it grew between
The boles beyond and next was seen
As ’twere another world of light
And a great water hove in sight.
And when they came anigh the shore
No land there lay their eyes before
On the wide water save that twain
Of eyots lay on the wet plain [“from the main” not crossed out]
Some half mile off and [“one” not crossed out] whereof was bare
Grey rock and one well brushed and fair.
Betwixt the wood and water side
A green lay half a furlong wide
Some deal whereof was acre land
Wherein as now the wheat did stand
All blossoming; the rest was mead
And down it fair great goats did feed

[f. 8]
Three milch kine and a tethered bull
A stream unto the green lip full
Ran through it and thereby there stood
A sturdy little house of wood
Within a stone cast of the Lake
Whose nigh clay [“bank” crossed out] thereat did break
Into a wide smooth shelving strand
All floored with honey-coloured sand.

So went the witch unto the door
As one who knew the way before
And was at home, as sooth it was
Then she turned back unto the ass,
And all this load of wares off took
The child amongst them, whom she shook
Awake, and bore her inside straight
Nor on her wailing did she wait
But set about to what was toward
To get the meat upon [the] board
And kindle fire upon the hearth
Under the buffer [?]. Nought of dearth
That eve nor after knew the child;
And though the day might well be wild
With buffet-storm at eve the dish
Was full for her as one might wish.

One thing is here to tell. Next morn
When the dame rose a little worn
The day was, and the little one
Drew nigh to see the day begin
And babble to her new made friend
Straight all her baby speech had end:

[f. 9]
As she stood gasping with afright
For she who brought her there last night
And fed her in [the] chamber fair,
As the child deemed it was not there
But some one else: though strong and stark
She yet was. [N]ought her hair was dark
But gold and red it flowed adown:
Nor was her skin of ruddy brown
But white and freckled and yet fine
Changed were the great grey hawk bright eyne
To shifting green narrow and sly
White-lashed; high cheek bones were thereby
And peaked chin and scanty lips:
Flat breast she had, and long straight hips.
She laughed: in her old voice at least
She spake Thou foolish little beast
What fearest thou? I am the one
Who brought thee here last night agone.
What matter is it unto thee
If I be changed? since I am she
Who henceforth shall thy body keep
From hunger pains: go eat and sleep
And play and laugh, and wax and grow
Till all my will of thee thou know
Nurse pleasure these first days of thine
Till thou art waxen wholly mine.
Therewith the door she opened wide
And brought the little one outside
And a slim tree tethered her
Amidst the mead, while here and there
She wrought wherein she had a need
About the acre and the mead.

There then the child dwelt bird-alone
Till ’twas as she no life had known
Save in that house between the wood

[f. 10]
And water [“speedily” crossed out] she grew
In strength and fairness: soon [“she” crossed out] knew
The ways and wont of all the earth
About her dwelling and in mirth
Was like the bird twixt storm and sun
Winter and summer: never done
Her friendship was with each quick thing
In lake or wood afoot, on wing
Nay een the fishes of the flood
To her were merry friends and good

Still more she waxed twelve winters wore
And of the wood and waters’ lore
More wise she grew and she must learn
How she her bed and board must earn
And how withal she needs must swink
More than the deer; and learn to slink
When as the twig-shower drew anigh.
Yet lived she ever merrily
And when the vain tears were past
Into the arms of earth she cast
Her hope and joy and bid all hail
Twixt summer calm and winter gale.

Two years three years, and she was grown
A sweet lank lass with bare legs brown
Thin arms and face sedate above
The bosom that abided love.
And somewhat now was chastened mirth
And measurely she walked the earth
As one deep thinking; though forsooth
If that were but the down of youth
Bearing its loveliness from out
Mere childhood somewhat may we doubt

Yet this indeed is sooth that she

[f. 11]
Whether it were from memory
Of that past tide at Utterhay
Or that some [“vision” and “dream had” crossed out] made its way
Unto her lonely heart, did ween
A little how the days had been
And how she was a stolen child
Reared up all lonely in the wild
Nowise for love and all for gain
Of one who reeked not of her pain
Nor of her pleasure was made glad.

Withal now toilsome days she had
To mild the goats and kine, to sow,
And plough and with the beast to go
To fairer pastures in the wood
When their own mead was less than good;
To make the butter and the cheese
To beat the walnuts from the trees
To grind the wheatmeal in the quern.
And every wise at home to earn
Her victual: furthermore must she
Learn well the craft of archery
And fare into the woods to kill
Deer great and small their hutch to fill.
And all alone needs must she fare
The wild-wood: never entered there
The mistress of her since the day
Whenas she went from Utterhay.
Alone she went but never saw
A thing to hurt her in the shaw.
Though whiles she deemed she might behold
The waving of a hem of gold
Or white limbs glimmering down a glade
But were they wise ones and afraid
Or kind and would not frighten her,
Or were they nought, they came not near.

[f. 12]
This was for toil for pleasure she
Would give herself [“to” crossed out] that sweet sea
And let it lap her breast and limb
For early had she learned to swim.
And twas a day amongst fair days
When she might strip and swim her ways
Unto those Eyotts: there at dawn
Whiles would she tread the meadow lawn
Down to the flowery waters lip
And hastily there would she slip
Her raiment off and turn aside
And the snow birds of summer tide
Unhidden her lank loveliness
While they with song the sight would bless;
Till she would spring aloft and break
The dawn-tide stillness of the lake
With her dear body soon aloud
Would come and there awhile would stand
To drink upon the flowers and grass
Then up the little bent would pass
And wander through the bushes there
Wringing the wide lake from her hair
Till shoulder high gan rise the sun
Then merry would she dance and run
In his low golden beams till hot
Aleant her feet and limbs he got.
Then would she turn and find amid
The hawthorn bushes where was hid
From that young sun the flowery grass
And lie there till the shade did pass
Clean from her limbs. Then would she go
And with white arms the water row
Back to the main. Once in a while
From oft the outmost of the isle
Into the main lake swim would she
Then would it seem so vast a sea

[f. 13]
And she so little and so low
Amidst its waves that fear would go
Unto heart, and she would turn
And sorely for the green grass yearn
And peb[b]bly strand: so come aland
Would she stoop down and with hand
Would pluck the flowers that thereby grew
And kiss them as old friends she knew
And press them to her maiden breast
And lie down in her place of rest
Under the hawthorns till the lake
The well wrought flowers and herbs did make
Aloof and little.
Ye may say
Was there no boat wherein to play
Dry and at ease this house anigh
That on the water-side did lie
Was there no fish her work to seek
Whereby their livelihood to eke?
Well, saith the tale, that in the spring
Once went the maiden wandering
By the lake-side and as she passed
Twixt wood and strand she came at last
Upon a creek that clave the wood.
Oer which on either side there stood
Great ancient alders black and grim
And mossy upon every limb
And at the creeks mouth there did float
A sailless oarless little boat.
She looked and wondered; scarce she knew
With such a thing what was to do
But sore she longed the lake to try
Therein but needs must let it lie
Wheas this thing she might not stir
And blew the wind in face of her
From off the lake. So back she went
Upon her deedless find intent.

[f. 14]
But this rede took she on the way
No word about the thing to say
Unto her dame; since she had heard
From her thereof no littlest word
And therefore deemed she well enow
Twas secret and but ill would grow
For letting word light shine thereon
But oft tis said and seldom done;
So was it now, that eve did turn
The talk to fishing in the burn
And how the trouts therein were small
And nowise seldom none at all.
Therewith the maid forgat her rede
And from her mouth the world doth speed
Big are the fish about the lake
And as meseems not ill to take.
How in a creek west there doth float
A thing meseems is called a boat
Might we have that and thrust her forth
With some long, of better worth
Our fishing were.
She broke off there
Rose up and crouched and shrieked with fear
So changed her dame’s face was and fell
As she had been a fiend from hell:
She caught a knife from off the board
And wordless as a bear she roared
Sprang on the maid and by the hair
Drew back her head and fell to tear
The raiment on her breast: withal
She raised the knife but let it fall
Unbloodied, and herself thereat
Fell on the floor and lay there flat
But noneless there yet stood the maid  
Forsooth to flee she was afraid

[f. 15]
Whereas she wist not where to go
To be in safety of the foe;
Nor was it long before the dame
Unto her earthly senses came
And sat up on the floor and said
Have I been ill? Didst think me dead?
Whiles thuswise sickness doth me find.
She rose up: now I call to mind
How thou hast spied on me tis well
Thou hast none here to whom to tell
Thy tale save me. O thou hadst died
Less than thy life shall serve this tide.
And this first time I pardon thee
Therewith she rose up grim to see
Yet had her wonted face withal
And turned about unto the wall:
The maid’s eyes followed as she took
From off a certain iron hook
A leash of rods and spake; but yet
I fear thy fault thou mayst forget
So even for my pardon’s sake
Thy memory must I keep awake
And write my bidding on thy back
In characters of red and black
So haste to make thy body bare
The maid knew well that nought would prayer
Avail to save her een one stripe
And sick despair her heart did gripe
But to the ground her raiment slid
And left her body no where hid
More than was her face. The dame drew nigh
And led her to the settle high
And bound her to the carven tree
That was its stock and bitterly

 [f. 15v]
And stark over her the dame stood up
And in her right [hand] held a cup
And reached it unto her and spake
Drink thou hereof and live and wake
And hearken.
Drank the maid withal
And heart grew in her and she heard
And understood the spoken word
Hearken it said: in cursing mood
Against me art thou; Yet                                  

[f. 16]
Fell to the whipping: Then the sting
Did to the body of her cling
Drave to her heart and grew and grew
Until no wail or cry she knew
And pain abided; long and long
She deemed it lasted were she wrong
Or right therein; until at last
She deemed her life was over past
And she in hell for evermore.

She woke a lying on the floor
[“And” crossed out] over her the witch wife stood
tis good
For thy mere life that thou bear mind
Never to pry about and find
What I would hide; For if thy guilt
Lies open to me then is spilt
The toil and labour I have had
To rear thee
For my behoof: for then indeed
Belike thou diest for the deed
Note this withal that though the[e] deem
I am but as an evil dream,
A thing to flee from Yet have I
Not only reared thee faithfully,
Clemming thee never smiting thee
Not oft nor ever cruelly
As now; And I have let thee go
Where eer thou hast had will to go.
Now stayed thy swimmings in the lake
Thy wanderings through the wood and brake.
The bow shot has thou learned here
And thereof art thou craftsmaster
And swift foot art thou as the deer
To outrun any anywhere
And mock their fleeing with thy feet
Forth now from child clean and sweet
Come art thou now a lily-lass
But yet thence forward shalt thou pass
And in my garden bloom and blow
The rose of women that be now.

[f. 16v]
So hearken my doom then If thou sin
Once more then surely shalt thou win
Far bitterer torment than today
Or needs may be I shall thee slay
Or lastly I may cast thee forth
And shear thy life of love and worth
Give thee to worser ones than I
And let thee strive and pine and die
Lamenting all that might have been
Upon the wood-walled water-green

[f. 17]
And shalt thou dwell here lonely then?
Nay thou shalt see the sons of men
The fairest that on earth may be,
And they shall love and worship thee.
And whom thou wilt shall thou make glad
And whom thou wilt all yearning sad
But if thou sunder from my hands
And seek unto the striving lands
Who may foretell? A castaway
The folk shall call thee: a mere prey
To ribbalds shall thy body be
Thou shalt go down to misery
No might no worship shalt thou win
When fades the fair flower of thy skin
No man shall love no woman aid
Since all shall deem thee fully paid
For squandered beauty eld shall come
And find thee in the hell at home
And death shall come and mock thy life
Lost in the bitterness of strife.

Also Add. Ms. B. L. 45,322-23.

Some lines printed in by May Morris in CW, XX, xviii.

Well, saith the tale, that in the spring

Once went the maiden wandering

By the lake-side and as she passed

Twixt wood and strand she came at last

Upon a creek that clave the wood,

O'er which on either side there stood

Great ancient alders black and grim

And mossy upon every limb,

And at the creek's mouth there did float

A sailless oarless little boat.
She looked and wondered; scarce she knew
With such a thing what was to do
But sore she longed the thing to try
Therein, but needs must let it lie
Whereas the thing she might not stir
And blew the wind in face of her
From off the lake. So back she went
Upon her deedless find intent.

28. “Verses for Pictures: Day. Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter. Night.” (Day. I am Day; I bring again / Life and glory, Love and pain: )

Inscribed in A Book of Verse, 1870; published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 189, HM 6427, ff. 127-28, Morris autograph. “Night” and “Day” were added since “The Seasons” was published in the Academy, February 1, 1871. One on “Winter,” 1 stanza, HM 36920, “I am Winter that doth keep. . . .” c. 1891-93. See also List of Poems from the EP Period, C34.

29. Verses for Pictures: “The Pilgrim at the Gate of Idleness” ( Lo, Idleness that opes the Gates )

Published AWS, I, 543. In HM Ms. 36919; Morris autograph on unruled white paper at the left side of the first stanza are brackets, and the stanza is labeled by Morris as “mine (obviously)

Although May Morris published this and “The Heart of the Rose” in the section “The Earthly Paradise Period,” she notes that the pictures were exhibited at the New Gallery, Summer Exhibition, 1893.

HM 36919,

[A first stanza is crossed out, then]

Lo Idleness that opes the gate
Where through the wandering man await
So many fair and gallant shows
Born of the Romance of the Rose.

[labeled on the side in brackets, “A traducing of the French”]
The Ending of the Tale we see
Lover draws anigh the tree
And takes the branch, & takes the Rose,
That Love and he so dearly chose.

30. Verses for Pictures: “The Heart of the Rose” ( The Ending of the tale ye see: )

Published AWS, I, 543. Although May Morris published this and “The Pilgrim at the Gate of Idleness” in the section “The Earthly Paradise Period” she notes that the pictures were exhibited at the New Gallery, Summer Exhibition, 1893. HM 36919, 2 stanzas, 1 by Morris, 1 his translation from the French. Verses to illustrate Burne-Jones’ picture from Chaucer’s Romant of the Rose.

31. “For the Briar Rose” ( The Briar wood. The fateful slumber floats and flows / about the tangle of the rose; )

Published in a pamphlet, “The Legend of the Briar Rose,” for exhibition of Burne-Jones paintings, 1890. Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 190. Draft HM 6447.

32. “Another for the Briar Rose” ( O treacherous scent, O thorny sight, / O tangle of world’s wrong and right, )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 191. HM 6427, f. 129, Morris autograph; Morris autograph in ink on blue ruled paper, marked in pencil by Morris for the printer. Morris added the title in pencil, “Another for the Briar Rose.”

[f. 129]

Another for the Briar Rose

O treacherous scent, O thorny sight,
O tangle of world’s wrong and right,
What art thou gainst my armour’s gleam
But dusky cobwebs of a dream?

Beat down, deep sunk from every gleam
Of hope, they lie and fully dream;
Men once, but men no more, that Love
Their waste defeated hearts should move.

Here sleeps the world that would not love!
Let it sleep on, but if He move
Their hearts in humble wise to wait
On his new-wakened fair estate.

O won at last is never late!
Thy silence was the voice of fate;
Thy still hands conquered in the strife;
Thine eyes were light; thy lips were life.

[this seems to convey Morris’s response to the difficulties of his middle period]

33. Praise of Wine ( The sun grows dim & the day waxes old / And the blossoms droop, for May is a-cold, )

Published in AWS, I, 541-43.

34. “Come the tidings unto hand,” early verse fragment, Child Christopher

Published CW, XVII, xl. First 16 lines metrical version HM 36918, Morris autograph on white lined paper, with note by Sidney Cockerell, “Morris was about to light his pipe with this metrical beginning of Child Christopher, when I rescued it. SCC
It was written on Feb 4 1895.

Written on verso by SCC, Beginning of ‘Child Christopher’ in verse.

A prose version of Child Christopher was later published.

CW, XVII, xl:

Written February 4th, 1895

Come the tidings unto hand
That of old there was a land
Where the towns and homesteads stood
As in clearings of the wood.
Saith a minstrel of that day
That the squirrel went his way
Down from free and on to tree
That never on the earth came he
E’en so thick the tree boles were
Round about the acres dear
Round about the meadows sweet,
Surging round the mountains’ feet.
Therefore Oaken-realm was hight
That country of the deer’s delight.

Thereof was there king and lord
A mighty master of the sword
Who wedded . . .  

HM 36918, Come the tidings unto hand
corrections on printed version:
deers’ [sic]

35. Poems in The House of the Wolfings

prefatory poem reproduce

Poems are found in Chapters 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 8, 20, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31.

36. Poems in The Roots of the Mountains

Draft of poems from Roots of the Mountains, HM 6424, 2 final pages of volume, see below.

Published versions:

Chapter 3: The Minstrel saith:
O why on this morning, ye maids, are ye tripping
Aloof from the meadows yet fresh with the dew, . . . .

Chapter 6: She singeth:
Now is the rain upon the day,
And every water’s wide; . . . .

Goldmane sings:
In hay-tide, through the day new-born,
Across the meads we come; . . . .

Chapter 9: The Bride sings:
’Tis over the hill and over the dale
Men ride from the city fast and far, . . . .

Chapter 15: Why sit ye bare in the spinning room? [see draft version below]

Chapter 20: She singeth. Wild is the waste and long leagues over;
Whither then wend ye spear and sword, . . . .

Chapter 29: Lo here is Spring, and all we are living,
We that were wan with Winter’s fear; . . . .

Chapter 34: Earth-wielders, that fashion the Dale-dwellers’ treasure,
Soft are ye seeming, yet hardy of heart! . . . .

Chapter 37:
O white, white Sun,
What things of wonder
Hast thou beheld from thy wall of the sky! . . . .

Chapter 39:
O Men of the Dale and the Sheepcotes, I will do as ye bid me do;
And fain were ye of the story, if every deed ye knew. . . .

Chapter 41: Bow-may singeth:
Hear ye never a voice come crying
Out from the waste where the winds fare wide? . . .

Chapter 44: The Men of the Bridge sing:
Why stand ye together, why bear ye the shield,
Now the calf straineth tether and the edge of the field? . . .

Chapter 45:
The wheat is done blooming and rust’s on the sickle,
And green are the meadows grown after the scythe. . . .

Now far, far along
Standeth lintel and roof,
The dwelling of days
Of the Woodland ways: . . . .

Chapter 48:
Now raise we the lay
Of the long-coming day!
Bright, white was the sun
When we saw it begun: . . .

Chapter 51:
Why are ye wending? O whence and whither?
What shineth over the fallow swords?

Chapter 55:
Back again to the dear Dale where born was the kindred,
Here wend we all living, and liveth our mirth. . . .

Chapter 58:
The sun will not tarry; now changeth the light,
Fail the colours that marry the Day to the Night.

Early version of the poem prefatory to The Roots of the Mountains
Published CW, XV, xxi-xxii.

Bright morn, and on the iron road

You hurry past some fair abode . . .

No smoke curls o'er the ancient roof:

Along the winding high-hedged lane

Comes creeping down the yellow wain

Unto the harvest well-night done

Whose hoary wheat-sheaves face the sun;

Though in a corner of the field

The day-white reap-hooks yet they wield:

Nigh these on shimmering stubbles stand

Two wondering children hand in hand

To watch your clatter sweeping on;

And all is there--and all is gone.

But as it goes how fain were I

To be afoot and saunter by

The field and homestead! and turn back

And take the sun-burnt stile-barred track

Unto the water meadow green

Whereof e'en now a glimpse was seen

To tell us of the river's way

Betweixt the willows wind-blown grey

E'en thus-wise have I tried to do

Within these leaves I give to you.

I saw a thing and deemed it fair

And longed that it might tarry there

And therewithal with words I wrought

To make it something more than nought.

Drafts in HM 6424, on 2 final pages of volume, upside down, “We hurry on the iron road,” a rough pencil draft, followed by briefer pen one, unnumbered page and facing page 53. The version as published had begun, “Whiles carried over the iron road, / We hurry by some fair abode; ).

Draft for poem for The Roots of the Mountains, “Why sit ye here in the spinning room / And weave all naked at the loom” in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,328, f. 58, unfinished autograph. Final version of poem is in The Roots of the Mountains, chapter 15. A copyist’s version is in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, ff. 23-24.

Draft 45,328, f. 58

Why sit ye here in the spinning room
And weave all naked at the loom.

What now is the worst of the work to be won
And what shall ye speak when the spinning’s done

Shall the woolen yarn and the flaxen thread
Be gear for living men or dead.

1 Here naked as the [?] sit we
That our inmost hearts the Earth may see

2 The worst of the work our hands shall win
Is wrack and ruin round the kin.

3 The woolen yarn and the flaxen thread
Shall share twixt living men and dead.

4 O what is the ending of your day
When shall we rise and wend away?

4 To morrow morn shall the Earth be new
And make an end of the deed we do

The sun shall shine from morn to eve
On the deed we do and the work we weave

For here we weave for the warrior’s war
The wood wolf faring fast and far.

Where then shall men first look upon

Draft for poem for The Roots of the Mountains ( Fair is the night and fair the day ), published version reproduced in CW, XV, xvii in Chaucer type.

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 art sweet: thou hast no mind

Her hair about my sweet to wind;

O flowery sward, though thou art bright,

I praise thee not for thy delight,

Thou hast no kissed her silver feet.


Thou know'st her not, O rustling tree,

What dost thou then to shadow me,

Whose shade her breast did never see?

O flowers, in vain ye bow adown!

Ye have not felt her odorous gown

Brush past your heads my lips to meet.


Flow on, great river--thou mayst deem

That far away, a summer stream,

Thou sawest her limbs amidst thee gleam,

And kissed her foot, and kissed her knee,

Yet get thee swift unto the sea!

With naught of true thou wilt me greet.


And thou that men call by my name,

O helpless one, hast thou no shame

That thou must even look the same,

As while agone, as while agone,

When thou and shewere left alone,

And hands and lips, and tears did meet?

Drafts for other poems from The Roots of the Mountains in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,328, ff. 54-58, “How is the rain upon the day / And every waters’ wide” (ff. 4-55), final version in chapter 6; “In meadowtide through day new born / Across the meads we come (ff. 55-56), final version in chapter 6; and “Over the hill and over the dale / Men ride from the city fast and far (f. 57 and 57v), final version chapter 9.

Possible draft of poem in HM 6488, notebook 6, on last folio upside down.

The city folk –

Lo in squalor here we dwell all the old tale worn away,
For the tyrant no more hell and for us no heavenly day

The country folk—

Mid the green fields yet we live mid the fairness of the land
For a little bread we strive nought we know nor understand

Fair our fathers fought of old and their story we forget
The gainings of the bold; nothing good has reached us yet

Day by day and year by year mid the filth we toil & tried
Nought of coming time we hear nought of hope we have or heed

37. poems in The Story of the Glittering Plain

“The Story of the Glittering Plain” was published in the English Illustrated Magazine, in 4 parts, 1890 and at the Kelmscott Press, 1891.

Poems are found in chapters 7, 17, 18, 19 and 21.

38. poems in The Well at the World’s End

Published at the Kelmscott Press, 1896, and 2 vols. Longmans, Green, 1896. A manuscript of “Leave we the cup” (Book II, chapter 34) is in the Joseph Dunlap Collection, New York, New York (Goodwin, "Handlist," 1983).
Poems are found in book I, chapters 6 and 13, book II, chapter 34, and Book IV, chapter 22.

*39. “Amidst a forest of the wild”

Described by Morris as “that queer story,” a metrical beginning for a romance exists in ink autograph in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,328, f. 201.
Amidst a forest of the wild
A woodman dwelt with wife & child
A bairn fair & tall and strong
So that no man had deemed it wrong
Had he sat at the lords right
In any castle of the land.
Little of learning did he wot
Great men’s degrees he heeded not
He deemed his raiment good enough
Though to the most of winds that blow
Found them all open to his skin

40. The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs

Published London: Ellis and White, 1877. B. L. Add. Ms. 45,310, beginning of rough draft; Add. Ms. 45, 311-16, in 5 noteboks and 46 lose leaves, 1876. Also first draft in two notebooks, B. L. Add. Ms. 37,497-98. Fair copy for printer with some cancelled pages, in Morris’ hand, B. L. Egerton Ms. 2866. HM 6445, ff. 12 and 1v, labeled "Sigurd" on f. 375 in Morris's hand; sent to Henry J. Jennings, Esq. A. Ms., dated 1878, 1 leaf only. May Morris printed an unused fragment in the introduction to CW, XII, from a draft marked "Begun October 15: 1875," reproduced below.

HM 6445

fair copy written in ink on blue ruled paper, lines begin:
King Atli’s men are bidden to cut the heart from the living Hognir, the son of Guiki, as he lies bound after the battle in the hall, and to bring it to the King: Atli’s councillors bid them wait lest they disgrace the King by slaying his prisoner by night, for “night-slaying is murder-slaying’ as the saw runs: the slayers are shaken in their purpose, all the more as they are awed by the majesty of the fallen Niblung; they say:

            The King makes merry, as a well the white wine springs,
And the red wine runs as a river; and what are the hearts of Kings
That men may know them naked from the hearts of bond & thrall?
Nor go we empty-handed to King Atli in his hall.”

Thus the sword-carles spake to each other; and they looked & a man they saw,
Who should hew the wood if he lived, & for thralls the water should draw,
A thrall-born servant of servants, begotten of thralls on the earth:
And they said: “If this one were away, scarce greater were waxen the dearth,
That this morning hath wrought on the Eastland; for the years shall eke out his woe,
And no day his toil shall leaven, & worse and worse shall he grow.”

They drew the steel new-whetted, on the thrall they laid the hand;
For they said, “All hearts be fashioned as the heart of a king of the land.”

But the thrall was bewildered with anguish, and wept and bewailed him sore
For the loss of his life of labour, and the grief that long he bore.

But wroth was the son of Giuki, and he spake: “It is idle & vain,
And two men for one shall perish, and the knife shall be whetted again.
Tis better to die than be sorry, and to hear the trembling cry,
And to see the shame of the poor: O fools, must the lowly die

[f. 12v]
Because kings strove with swords? I bid you to hasten the end,
For my soul is sick with confusion, and fain on the way would I wend.

then at end:

                                                            Horrington House
Turnham Green
Oct: 21st 1878

Dear Sir

Above I have written out a few lines from my poem of Sigurd, & have explained whereabouts in the poem they come.
Yours faithfully
William Morris

Henry J Jennings Esq.

Morris has chosen a passage showing the social conscience of his hero.


Portions of early drafts, CW. First draft of ‘a Prologue in verse’ to The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs

Humanities Research Center Library, The University of Texas at Austin, Ms. file (Morris, W.) Works B. Written 1870.

2 pp. fragment of Sigurd, B. L. Add. M. S. 45,298A, ff. 121 and 121v.

from CW, XII, intro., draft marked "Begun October 15th: 1875"

There was a dwelling of Kings
Ere the world was waxen old,
Dukes were the door-wards there
And the roof was thatched with gold.
From the scene in which Sigurd enters Brynhild’s chamber:

She said:
“Thou art come O Sigurd, and I looked that this should be;
O short is the time meseemeth for the speech twixt me and thee. . . .

Each in turn recalls their first meeting:

She said: “E’en yet I behold thee: I remember of thy road
To the height of the Glittering Heath from the peaceful Kings’ abode,
And the end of the worm I remember—O might I forget and be dead
And forget how thou ridest the first on the topmost Hindfell’s head—
Ah had I been dead I had hearkened to the deeds thou broughtest to pass.
O sorrow, sorrow, and sorrow for the life that in me was!”

He said: “On the head of Hindfell we stood and below us lay
The kingdoms of earth’ promise and the hope of the deedful day.
Far fore-seeing we were and wise of many things,
Of the deeds we twain should accomplish and the death of Odin’s Kings;
But we saw not the sundering hour and the edge of the Niblung sword;
So we lived and the life hath rent us and the deeds cast back our words.” . . . .

She said: “E’en yet I behold thee: I remember the Lymdale land
I remember the waiting and labour and the joyous toil of my hand
As I bode thy certain coming and the fruitful day of thy fame.
O might I be dead an forget the day that Sigurd came!
O sorrow, sorrow, and sorrow that I woke and lived to rejoice! . . . .

“O might I be dead and forget it, the night when the fire sank down,
And betwixt the moon and the morning I lay with a king of renown,
With the dwarf-wrought sword between us . . . .

And my life was the longing for death,
Yet thy tale was all about me and thy name was on every breath,
And thy deeds that I might not share in I beheld and I might not die.
O sorrow, sorrow, and sorrow that thee world lives after the lie!”

He said: For a little it liveth and the season of Spring is fair,
Loved summer and heavy autumn and the restful winter bare;
But the Gods’ love wasteth it all and Baldur’s strong desire,
And we two shall remember the world mid the last of the quickening fire.”

He looked in her eyes as he spoke and so glorious was he grown
That her soul in his soul was quickened till the world was Sigurd alone,
And the heart arose in Brynhild and her voice was the song of the swan
In the cliffs of the lonely mountains o’er the shipless waters wan.
. . .
“I have done and I may not undo, I have given and take not again,
And all deeds in today are swallowed and this the deed for us twain.”

She said: It was life that we looked for and we fashioned our love for the life,
And still we beheld it before us through the gate of the ending of strife;
But indeed for the death were we fashioned, we meet in the death alone,
We the Son and the Daughter of Odin and the flower of his longing grown.”

He said: “The measureless life, nearby and afar it lay,
And the death was a hap unthought of mid the glory of the way.”

. . . .
O great is the deed,” said the Volsung,” and for this cause hither I came,
To uplift thine heart for the slaying, for fulfilment of our fame.”

“But what tongue shall name the sorrow when I rend the world atwain?”
“Great tidings,” said the Volsung, “when they tell of Sigurd slain . . . “

“O Sigurd,” she said, “O mighty, O fair in speech and thought
As thou wert in the days past over: may the high Gods hide it yet
The day and the deed of thy slaying lest I alter and forget
And we twain grow vile together. . . “

She said: “I lay upon Hindfell ere the doom of the Gods was fulfilled . . .
And this was the wakening of life that all should desire and praise;
It is fair if thou tellest it over and countest the hours and the days:
O where are the days and the hours and the deeds they brought to the birth!
Are they dead, are they dreams forgotten, are they solacing dreams of the earth,
Are they stones in the House of Heaven, are they carven work of the shrine
Where the days and the deeds earth failed of in heaven’s fulfilment shine?

Ah once was I far-forseeing, but the vision fades and fails;
They have set down a sword beside me, they have cumbered the even with tales
And I grow weary of waking, for gone is the splendour of day;
In my hand are the gifts of Sigurd, but Sigurd is vanished away.
But the windy East shall brighten and the empty house of night
And the Gods shall arise in the dawning and the world shall long for the light.”

Description of Lymdale:

Back then through the forest he rideth, and about he noontide comes
To the land by the swirling waters and the lea by the Lymdale homes;
And he comes by the burg of Rrynhild, and the merry wind is astir,
And the doves on the roof-ridge flutter, and the rooks wheel wide in the air,
And maids by the well are standing, and children prattle and run,
And all is alive and joyous as in the days before;
Yea the gold of the very hangings gleams through the great hall door;
But nought of it all knows Sigurd, nor of whom therein abides,
Nor why in the autumn noonday by Brynhild’s Burg he rides.

See also C46, "Come hearken dreams and marvels of the days when earth was young”

Published AWS, I, 463-64. Seems a early draft beginning of a Sigurd poem. 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.

[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 Ber[ergthorsknoll] unseen
But if the dead walk thereabout against the Westman Isles
Belike beside the beardless Njal at rest Skarfhedinn smiles

See also C55, 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.

41. “Tapestry Trees” ( Oak. I am the Roof-tree and the Keel; )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 194. HM 6427, ff. 134-36, Morris autographs, draft and fair copy. First draft ink on white unruled paper, ff. 134-36; fair copy on white unruled paper, ff. 135-36, marked for printer. Incorporated in tapestry.

[f. 134]


I am oak the hall I roof
Over the seas I fare aloof--
[written below]
I am the roof tree and the keel
I bridge the seas for woe & weal.
[continuing] I ridge the roof the keel I lay
In me men dwell in me men stray

Dark down the windy dale I grow
The Father of the fateful bow.

I heft my brothers’ iron bane
I shaft the spear and build the wain.

In ransom of the woman’s will
The cups of toiling me I fill

I draw the blood from out the earth
I store the sun for winter’s mirth

 [f. 134v]

High oer the lordly oak I stand
And drive him on from land to land

I bless the King: the lamps I trim
In my warm wave do fishes swim.

The war-shaft and the milking bowl
I make, and keep the hay-wain whole

I am who [insert caret for who incorrectly placed] little among trees
In honey making mate the bees.

Amid the night-tide of my green night, [changed from, Amid my green and leafy night]
My odorous globes men’s longing light

High oer the mead flowers hidden feet
I bear aloft a burden sweet.

[f. 134b]


Love’s lack hath dyed my berries red
For Loves attire my leaves are shed

Bay or Laurel

Look on my leafy boughs, the Crown
Of living song and dead renown!

42 The Flowering Orchard
The Flowering Orchard, Poems by the Way, p. 195 [PBTW] Silk Embroidery

Lo silken my garden, and silken my sky,
And silken my apple-boughs hanging on high;
All wrought by the Worm in the peasant carle’s cot
On the Mulberry leafage when summer was hot!

HM 6427, f. 137
Morris autograph on white ruled paper prepared for printer, mixed ink and pencil

The Flowering Orchard.
Silk Embroidery.
Lo silken my garden, & silken my sky
And silken my apple-boughs hanging on high
All wrought by the Worm in the peasant carle’s cot
On the Mulberry leafage when summer was hot.

43. “The Flowering Orchard” ( Lo silken my garden, / And silken my sky, )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 195. HM 6427, f. 137, Morris autograph. Incorporated in silken embroidery.

43. “The Woodpecker” ( I once a King an chief / Now am the tree-bark’s thief )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 192. HM 6427, f. 130, not Morris autograph, but prepared by Morris for printer. Incorporated in tapestry.

The Woodpecker.

I once a King & chief
Now am the tree-barks thief
Ever twixt trunk and leaf
Chasing the prey.

44. “The Lion” ( The Beasts that be / In wood and waste, )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 192. HM 6427, f. 131, in copyist's hand, marked by Morris for the printer.

The Lion

The beasts that be.
In wood and waste
Now sit and see
Nor ride nor haste

45. “The Forest” ( Pear-tree. By woodman’s edge I faint and fail; / By craftsman’s edge I tell the tale. )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 192. HM 6427, f. 131, in copyist's hand, prepared by Morris for the printer.

[f. 131]
The Forest.

Pear-tree [substituted by Morris, Pear, crossed out]
By woodman’s edge I faint and fail
By craftsman’s edge I tell the tale

Chestnut-tree [substituted by Morris, Chestnut crossed out]
High in the wood high o’er the hall
Aloft I rise when low I fall.

Oak-tree [substituted by Morris, Oak crossed out]
Unmoved I stand what wind may blow.
Swift, Swift before the wind I go.

46. “Pomona” ( I am the ancient Apple-Queen, / As once I was so am I now. )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 193. HM 6427, f. 132, not in Morris’s hand; prepared by Morris for the printer.


I am the ancient Apple-Queen.
As once I was so am I now.
For ever more a hope unseen
Betwixt the blossom & the bough.

Ah, wheres the river’s hidden Gold.
And where the windy grave of Troy.
Yet come I as I came of old.
From out the heart of Summer’s joy

47. “Flora” ( I am the handmaid of the earth, / I broider fair her glorious gown, )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 193. HM 6427, f. 132, not in Morris's hand; prepared by Morris for the printer.


I am the handmaid of the earth.
I broider fair her glorious gown
And deck her on her days of mirth
With many a garland of renewn

And while Earth’s little ones are fain
And play about the Mother’s hem
I scatter every gift I gain
From sun & wind to gladden them.

48. “The Orchard” ( Midst bitten mead and acre shorn, / The world without is waste and worn )

Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 193. HM 6427, ff. 133, not in Morris’s hand; prepared by Morris for the printer.

The Orchard

Midst bitten mead and acre shorn.
The world without is waste & worn.

But here within our orchard close.
The guerdon of its labour shows

O valiant Earth, O happy year.
That mocks the threat of winter near.

And hangs aloft from tree to tree
The banners of the spring to be

49. Fragment: “Three spae-wives left a rune staff on the bed”

B. L. Add. Ms. 45, 318, f. 93, autograph. Labelled “fragment on Wolf.”

50. “Torches and waxlights quickened in the Hall”

Published AWS, I, 464-65. Untitled, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 122; Morris autograph on white paper. May Morris states (AWS, I, 464) that this recalls a scene from the Heimskringla of the battle at Hafuswirth with Harold Hair fair.

Torches and waxlights quickened in the Hall
And swords hung up and spears leaned gainst the wall
And sunken all the noise of marshalling
To prelude low of harp and fiddle string
For mid the crowning glory’s stir and thrill
Men’s beating hearts their balling voices still
In that old windy autumn of the North:
Until at last the fiddle-bows leap forth
From out their dream and mid their piercing voice
Longing to wail yet struggling to rejoice,
Lo loud and clear the great Hornklofi’s song
Springs down from verse to verse amid their wrong
And then all sinks from hollow of the horn
A formless dreadful note of war is born
Such as we heard it when the day was new
And the light wind across our raven blew
Drifting the sailless ships in Hafusfirth
While yet our glory was but come to birth;
Nay other note than that, such as we heard
When in the wind of eve our coal-blue bird
Shook in his mirth to hear our cry go up
When Thorir’s head lay [there], a broken cup
On his own bulwark and his father fled
From Soti’s cloven breast & Eric dead.
O dreadful cry of painful victory:
Who between ghosts & us who gained goes by?
Lo by the highseat there Earl Ragnvald stands:
How men have trembled at his heavy hands
And yet shall tremble: Can ye see him now?
Is not the place about him all aglow
With the great glory of that other one,
Harald the King? cloudless as midday sun
High in the heaven yet is not unlike
Him of the morning storm that strove to strike
Athwart the lightning and the drift of rain.
So clear we know our leader’s face again
The shockhead youth whose grey eyes glared across
The tangled battle and its bitter loss;
Calm are his eyes now and his golden hair
Lies either side his face in tresses fair.

51. "The New Year." Published in The Artist, 1 Jan. 1892.

What wealth shall then be left to us
when none shall gather gold
To buy his friend in the market,
and pinch and pine the sold?

Nay, what save the lovely city,
and the little house on the hill,
And the wastes and the woodland beauty,
and the happy fields we till;