William Morris

Wake, London Lads!

Few of the public have seen the full text of this song, written by William Morris, author of the "Earthly Paradise". In the days of the late Empire in France, Walter Savage Landor and Mr. A. C. Swinburne supplied one or two political songs. The Poet Laureate also supplied two or three. As it is seldom that any poet nowadays takes interest in public affairs, Mr. Morris's song is worth quoting. It had the distinction of being sung by seven thousand voices at Exeter Hall. As the music halls of London have long resounded with war doggerel in favour of the Turks, such as "Here stands a Poet" and "We don't want to fight",1 it is only fair that a song on the other side–which is not doggerel–should be heard.



was the chorus of Macdermott's war song, the origin of the term 'jingoism' meaning bellicose nationalism.

Bibliographical Note


Wake, London Lads!


Written to be sung at the anti-war meeting in Exeter Hall in the Strand on the 16th January 1878. It was set to the tune of The Hardy Norseman's Home of Yore.


South London Press, Saturday 2 February 1878, p. 15


Printed as a leaflet for the event.

Transcription, HTML and notes

Graham Seaman, November 2020