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  • : may morris

June embroidered frieze (c.1909-10)

This embroidered panel was made as a hanging for May Morris's sitting room at 8 Hammersmith Terrace. A photograph survives of the embroidery in situ (Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museums). The central motif shows Kelmscott Manor, the Morris family country retreat in Oxfordshire, linked to Hammersmith Terrace by the river Thames which flows past both houses.
 
The first seven lines of the text in Gothic script are from the central verse of the poem June, which prefaces the story of The Love of Alcestis in Morris's epic poem Earthly Paradise:  
 
See, we have left our hopes and fears behind
To give our very hearts up unto thee;
What better place than this then could we fin
By this sweet stream that knows not of the sea,
That guesses not the city’s misery,
This little stream whose hamlets scarce have names,
This far-off, lonely mother of the Thames?

 

Additional lines are attributed to the scholar and poet Sir Walter Raleigh:

Though our songs cannot banish ancient wrong
Though they follow where the rose goes
And their sounds swooning over hollow ground
Fade and leave the enchanged air bare,
Yet the wise say that not unblest he dies
Who has know a single May Day.