William Morris Praises and Condemns Love
I listened to Echoes of Loves’ House by William Morris as read by contributors of the free audio book archive Librivox. In the poem, Morris has two voices who characterize love in positive and negative terms. A study in extremes, with one person wanting love and another person burned by love.
Love gives every gift whereby we long to live
“Love takes every gift, and nothing back doth give.”
Love unlocks the lips that else were ever dumb:
“Love locks up the lips whence all things good might come.”
Love makes clear the eyes that else would never see:
“Love makes blind the eyes to all but me and thee.”
Love turns life to joy till nought is left to gain:
“Love turns life to woe till hope is nought and vain.”
Love, who changest all, change me nevermore!
“Love, who changest all, change my sorrow sore!”
Love burns up the world to changeless heaven and blest,
“Love burns up the world to a void of all unrest.”
And there we twain are left, and no more work we need:
“And I am left alone, and who my work shall heed?”
Ah! I praise thee, Love, for utter joyance won!
“And is my praise nought worth for all my life undone?”