Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Robert Graves
[after 6 February 1922]
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.
|Last revised:||8 February 2006|
T. E. Lawrence chronology
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset