William Morris: Chants for Socialists

(1647 words)

William Morris occasionally fretted about the social utility of his work. In the opening poem of The Earthly Paradise (1868), for instance, he terms himself “the idle singer of an empty day” who was “born out of [his] due time”. He once complained to Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell, the rich Yorkshire iron magnate who was a client of Morris & Co., “I spend my life ministering to the swinish luxury of the rich”. Perhaps it was a relief for him to realize in the 1880s that he could offer his talents to the socialist cause not only by producing some designs, like the one he created in 1883 for the membership card of The Democratic Federation, but more importantly by writing rousing popular poetry useful for socialist meetings a…

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Boenig, Robert. "Chants for Socialists". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 February 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6074, accessed 29 September 2016.]