William Morris Archive

Poems and fragments from British Library Add. Ms. 45,298A, ff. 86-126

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

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

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

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

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


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

Unpublished.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

[ff. 86-87]

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

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


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

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

[WMG J153]

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

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

B. L. MS 45,298A

[f. 87]

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

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


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

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

B. L. 45,298A

[f. 88]

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

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

Earlier version

[f. 89]

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

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

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

AWS

[p. 539]

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

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

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

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


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

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

B. L. MS 45,298A

[f. 90]

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

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

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

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

AWS, vol. 1, 538-39

[p. 538]

Near But Far Away

She wavered, stopped and turned, methought her eyes,

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Humanities Research Center MS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[f. 92v]

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

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

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 44]
Lonely Love and Lovely Death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

B. L. Ms. 45,298A

[f. 93]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[f. 94, rough version]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Silence and Pity (WMG J149)

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

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

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

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

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

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

[f. 95] [seems an early draft, autograph on blue ruled paper]

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

[f. 96]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 23]
Hope Dieth Love Liveth

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

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

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

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

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

[p. 24]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOPE DIETH: LOVE LIVETH.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our hands have met, our lips have met,

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[f. 101]

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

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

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

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

CW, XXIV, 362-63

Why Dost Thou Struggle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[p. 363]

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

                              Fair Weather and Foul.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[f. 102v]

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

CW, XXXIV, p. 366

Fair Weather and Foul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book of Verse, 1870

[p. 26]

Love Alone

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

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

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

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

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


*A-16. “O land sore torn and riven”

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

[f. 119]

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

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


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

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

British Library Add. Ms. 45,298A, f. 120

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

[f. 117v]


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

Sire one was garlanded the other not.

A forfeit if thou tell thy tale twice oer.

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

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

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

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

Lady and Queen I prithee say thy say.

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

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

Ah maybe Sir – will not Sir Walter speak –

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

And yet God gives who getteth not again

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

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

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

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

Nay Sire some songs of mine are grave enow.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

45,298A, f. 115

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

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

CW, XXIV, [p. 356]

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

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


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

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

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

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

Look and listen hereon and returning tell if thou wilt



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

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

45,298B, f. 27


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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