William Morris letter to his mother, 1855
William Morris, 1857, William Morris Gallery
My dear Mother,
I am almost afraid you thought me scarcely in earnest when I told
you a month or two ago that I did not intend taking Holy Orders.
. . . You said then, you remember, and said very truly, that it was an
evil thing to be an idle, objectless man; I am fully determined not
to incur this reproach; I was so then . . .I wish now to be an archi
tect, an occupation that I have often had hankerings after. . . If I
were not to follow this occupation, I in truth know not what I should
follow with any chance of success or hope of happiness in my work.
. . . I shall be master too of a useful trade; one by which I should
hope to earn money, not altogether precariously, if other things fail.
. . . I will by no means give up things that I have thought of for
the bettering of the world, in so far as in me lies.
You see I do not hope to be great at all in anything, but perhaps I
may reasonably hope to be happy in my work; and sometimes when I
am idle and doing nothing, pleasant visions go past me of the things
that may be. . .
My best love to yourself, and Henrietta, and Aunt, and all of them:
Your affectionate son,
Exeter College, Oxford, William
November 11, 1855
His letter can be found in 'A Victorian Rebel' by Lloyd Wendell Eshleman. I read it and wanted to share it with you. I love how you can read the words and thoughts of a 21 year old university student describing his hopes and fears to his mother. I wonder if Mr. Morris had any idea that he would inevitably become an immortal genius?