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William Morris 1834 - 1896

English poet, translator, essayist, publisher and printer. His first published work was The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858). He achieved success as a poet with a romantic narrative, The Life and Death of Jason. He wrote a series of narrative poems collected in The Earthly Paradise (1868). His principal achievement is considered to be the epic Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs (1876), influenced by the Old Norse sagas. Among his best romances are A Dream of John Ball (1886) and News from Nowhere (1890). Underrated as a poet, he is remembered more as a designer and craftsman.


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.

Available Poems
The Eve of Crecy
The Haystack in the Floods
In Prison
Love is Enough
Near Avalon
Shameful Death
Summer Dawn
Two Red Roses Across the Moon

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