Above Opening page of our published review of Linda Parry's biography of Arts and Crafts legend William Morris, as published in PRINT magazine (January / February 1997). Morris is featured briefly in the autobiography of one of his admirers, the Irish poet William Butler Yeats. In the passage quoted below, Yeats refers to Morris as having a "burly body." In reference to that, British satirist / caricaturist Max Beerhohm once wrote that Morris was "a wonderful all-round man, but the act of walking round him always tired me."
Review of Linda Parry, William Morris
William Butler Yeats, The Autobiography of William Butler Yeats: Consisting of reveries over childhood and youth, the trembling of the veil, and dramatic personae. New York: Macmillan, 1953, p. 89—
He had few detachable phrases, and I can remember little of his speech, which many thought the best of all good talk, except that it matched his burly body and seemed within definite boundaries inexhaustible in fact and expression. He alone of all the men I have known seemed guided by some beast-like instinct and never ate strange meat. “Balzac! Balzac!” he said to me once, “Oh, that was the man the French Bourgeoisie read so much a few years ago.” I can remember him at supper praising wine: “Why do people say it is prosaic to be inspired by wine? Has it not been made by the sunlight and the sap?” and his dispraising houses decorated by himself: “Do you suppose I like that kind of house? I would like a house like a big barn, where one ate in one corner, cooked in another corner, slept in the third corner, and in the fourth received one's friends”; and his complaining of Ruskin's objection to the underground railway [the Tube, the London subway]: “If you must have a railway the best thing you can do with it is to put it in a tube with a cork at each end." I remember, too, that when I asked what led up to his movement, he replied: "Oh, [John] Ruskin and [Thomas] Carlyle, but somebody should have been beside Carlyle and punched his head every five minutes.”