William Morris Archive

Dear Friends, I lay awake in the night

Typescript appended to typescripts of "The Willow and the Red Cliff" in the William Morris Gallery and in Fitzwilliam MS 3, f. 8. In his memoirs of Morris in the Morris Gallery, R. W. Dixon states that he believes this "touching little prayer in verse" was composed the day after Morris read "The Willow and the Red Cliff" to his friends.

Dear friends, I lay awake in the night
When I sung of the willow-tree
And I thought, as I lay awake in the light,
Of what you had said to me.

For you remember how you had said,
That I should be a poet
Ah me: it almost made me sad,
As I lay in the light, to know it.

For I knew, as every poet does,
What a poet ought to be:
Straightway before me there uprose,
My hideous sins to me.

Sweet friends[,] I pray you pray for me
To Him Whose hands are pierced
That, as, on the breast of His Mother, He,
So I on His breast may be nursed.