William Morris

(1834 - 1896 / England)

Biography of William Morris

William Morris poet

William Morris was born in Essex and educated at Exeter College, Oxford. He was the founding editor of the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine (1856) in which many of his early poems appear. He was a practising painter (1857-62) and public lecturer on art, architecture and socialism (1877-96). He founded the Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, in 1890 and was a founding member the same year of the Hammersmith Socialist Society. He helped found the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (1877) which he served as secretary. His designs in things like furniture and fabrics contributed to the Arts and Crafts Movement and changed Victorian taste. He was president of the Birmingham Society of Arts and master of the Art Workers Guild. He found time to produce literary works and early influences on him included the Pre-Raphaelites, Ruskin, Carlyle and Rosetti. He declined a position as a
poetry professor at Oxford. A social and moral critic, he gave his first public lecture in 1887 and formed the Socialist league. He died, worn out by his various activities, and was buried at Kelmscott.

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The Doomed Ship

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.

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