‘Love is Enough’ by William Morris is a nine-line poem that is contained within one block of text. The line follows a consistent rhyme scheme that conforms to the pattern of AABBCCDDD. These constant rhymes provide the poem with a layer of rhythm on top of the less structured meter. The meter does not have one particular pattern, instead, the lines vary in length from around nine to thirteen syllables. On the page, they all appear to be around the same length thought, this gives the poem a pleasing visual unity.
The poem begins with the speaker stating that “Love is enough.” As will become clear in the following lines, what he means by this phrase is that love is enough in the face of darkness. It has the power to make lovers fearless in a world that contains a lot of drab and depressing places. Some of these are included in the next lines. He speaks about a sky that is too dark for dim eyes to see. There is also a complaining forest and dark hills which hide blooming flowers.
In the last lines, he concludes by saying that the lover and the loved one are able to confront all of these things, and more, and not flinch away. They are strong enough together to overcome anything.
Read more poems by William Morris.
Morris uses a number of poetic techniques within ‘Love is Enough.’ They include personification, alliteration and the general repetition of words and images. There is a great example of personification in the first lines of the piece. He refers to a forest as “complaining.” It has a human-like voice, one that is recognizable to those listening. To the speaker, and presumably to all others who hear it, it sounds as if it’s constantly whining.
The best example of alliteration in the poem appears in line three.
This technique occurs when words are used in succession, or at least appear close together, and begin with the same letter. In line three Morris uses three words that begin with “d.” They are “dark,” “dim” and “discover.” This kind of repetition enhances the rhythm of the line.
Last, a reader should consider the wider use of repetition in the text. For instance, the dark becomes an important image that pops up a number of times. It symbolizes the void, the unknown, and a world that should be intimidating. The darkness is not contrasted until the end of the text when the speaker states that lovers do not flinch in the face of it. It is included so frequently to make it seem overwhelming, therefore the lover’s ability to push back against it is all the more impressive.
Analysis of Love is Enough
Love is enough: though the World be a-waning,
And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining,
Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover
In the first stanza of ‘Love is Enough,’ the speaker begins by using the phrase which became the title. He makes the simple statement that “Love is enough.” This is in the face of a world that is “a-waning.” He sees a number of issues with the world, things that should not really exist in tandem with love. Yet, love overcomes them.
First, he speaks on the “woods’ which “have no voice but the voice of complaining.” The use of repetition in these lines enhances the rhythm of the line. Very simply, he is saying that the only voice the woods have is one that complains. This is an interesting use of personification. By making the woods more human-like, (saying that they are complaining) the poet is able to more accurately depict the scenario he is envisioning. A human reader is more easily able to connect with human emotions than completely foreign descriptions.
This phrase ends, and another picks up in the third line. Using alliteration, the poet states that the sky is too “dark for dim eyes to discover.” So far, the world is annoying and dark. There are no lights or happy feelings to bask in. Love is definitely needed in this scenario.
The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder,
Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder
And this day draw a veil over all deeds pass’d over,
In the next three lines, the poet gives the reader a little bit of hope. There are “gold-cups and daisies” under the dark sky. They are blooming, even though an onlooker could not see them if they tried. Although a nice thought, this presents the reader with a frustrating situation. To know there is beauty, but not be able to see it, is perhaps worse than there is no beauty at all. Morris is depicting a world that is meant to confront and disappoint a viewer on all fronts.
The darkness of the scene expands when the speaker states that the “hills be held in shadows.” The “sea” is also said to be “a dark wonder.” Again, the wonderful beauty of the world is concealed in the darkness. There is truly no light in the world, and the sixth line does not make it any better. The speaker adds that the day sets on “all deeds pass’d over.” There are things left undone in the darkness of this world. It is not a place one should really strive to be in.
Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter;
The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter
These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.
In the last three lines of ‘Love is Enough’ the second half of all of these unfinished phrases is revealed. Even though the world is impossibly dark, annoying, hard to see and navigate; even if it is frustrating and disappointing and even frightening, those who are in love do not have trembling hands. They have feet which “shall not falter,” stumble or hesitate.
There are a number of things that lovers do not fear. These include everything mentioned thus far in the poem, as well as “the void.” When an unknowable world or situation opens up before lovers, it does not weary or exhausts them. They are able to confront anything the world throws at them.
The last lines state that fear, for those in love, does not change “lips” and “eyes.” The “loved and the lover” are safe from fears and darkness. They live in a world of light that others cannot access.