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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Robert Graves

Colonial Office

[after 6 February 1922]

Dear R.G.

I'm very glad it's over: for it struck me when I got your reply that it was singularly tactless of me to send you my own muck at such a moment.

You did a magical thing to my laboured paragraph, turning it into a most exquisite verse: one of your cleanest and most beautiful. The last couplet about the horses is a miracle.

What is to be done with it? I feel like a new whoever it was, whose middle finger has been suddenly tipped with gold. The rest look idiotic, and yet one can't eat with one finger.

After Rottingdean by all means come and see me here. You don’t at present know when it will be? Because I shift about somewhat. However, any time, any day can be arranged. Give me a few hours' warning: especially if you want a night. Write to Colonial Office for speed's sake.

Congratulate Nancy from me.

Jourdain was a person in Molière who was puzzled about prose and verse.


Note: The 'moment' was the birth of the Graves' third child on 4 February. The earliest date for this letter, therefore, would be 6 February. Lawrence had sent Graves a draft of the dedicatory poem to Seven Pillars. In reply, Graves had sent a stanza based on the poem.

Source: B:RG 18-19
Checked: jw
Last revised: 8 February 2006

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