William Morris Archive

Fragment: From all other moving shadows

Draft in B. L. Add. MS 45,298A, ff. 13-14; copied in Emma Morris's hand; see the comments in the Mosque Rising in the Place of the Temple of Solomon. Since this breaks off with a comma at the end of a page, it may well have continued. It seems unlikely that Morris would have sent his sister an uncompleted poem.

[f. 13] From all other moving shadows

Today before the sun went down
     Behind the purple hills;
The maple tree with its buds was blown
     O'er the hollow the primrose fills.

That hollow under the maple tree
     The primrose fills alway:
In the autumn and summer the broad leaves be,
     In the spring the blossoms gay.

In the winter the ground is hard and the snow
     Is white above the ground:
But the primrose roots they lie below
     With the maple leaves around.

So today before the sun was set
     The wind blew on one cloud:
Towards the east hand the rock was wet
     With the water splashing up loud.

[f. 13v; on this folio the copyist omits indents or preserves them only erratically]

And a young knight stood by the maple tree:
With his right hand resting on it:
And in his left hand you might see
A letter, his blue eyes upon it.

Now the west was all a blaze with the sun,
There were purple clouds in the blaze:
The colours kept changing, the sun going down
And the east was soft with haze.

And the knight he gazed at the letter still
With his hand on the maple tree,
Till the sun was hidden by the hill
     And he scarce could the letter see.

The wind sank down, when the sun went down,
And still the rock was wet:
And the daisies bent their heads adown
For they knew the sun was set.

Then the knight from the letter lifted his eyes
And he looked down on the river, [breaks off]