Unpublished Lawrence love poem is sold
Saturday 21 November 1998
The poem, thought to have been written in 1916 to his German wife, Frieda, is a deeply lyrical evocation of the power of romantic love, celebrated through the metaphor of nature.
Victoria Lynne, a specialist in the books department at Christie's, where the auction was held, described the poem as "quite typical of the love poems he wrote during that period". She added: "It's a celebration of his love for his wife, which he talks about as if of a paradise."
Lawrence wrote the poem, seemingly spontaneously, on a blank page of his own book, Love Poems and Others, which a friend had brought to him to sign. It was signed "D H Lawrence".
The friend, from India, was serving in the First World War, and Lawrence's strong feelings about the conflict are evident in the dedication he made above the poem. It reads: "To the Soldiers and Sailors who are made blind."
The book containing the handwritten poem was found in a house in India belonging to a descendant of Lawrence's friend. It was bought yesterday by a historical documents dealer from Cheltenham.
The poem reads:
I have found a place of
Lovelier than Lyonesse,
Lonelier than Paradise.
Full of a sweet stillness
Which no day can distress,
Never a noise transgress.
The full moon sank in state:
I heard her stand and wait
For her watchers to shut the gate.
Then I knew myself in a
All of darkness and falling
Of hours hard to understand.
Always waiting, again I knew,
The presence of the flowers that grew
Noiseless, their wonder noiseless blew:
And flushing kingfishers that flew
In soundless beauty - and the few
Shadows the passing wild-beast threw:
Eve discovered on the ground
Soft-given, strange, and never a sound,
To break the embrace that we have found.
The perfect Consummation,
The final, paradisal One
Recovered now the world was gone.
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