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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Robert Graves

[c. late-August 1922]

Yes, that introducing part makes it clear enough. Good egg. Good poem too. As I get old I fail to distinguish between what is serious in expression, and what is comic. It's a sign of age, to read things for the meaning rather than the form. Astonishing how quickly I have got old lately. I feel too tired to go on with it. You know my book proved dud at last.

Glad you have some Melville verses. I believe Oxford is going to republish all of them. Constable is doing his prose, including Mardi.

About me and the Owl. It sounds ridiculous, because I'm not a writer. Also, isn't it too long? What is it all about? Do let me know: and when you look it up, please rack your memory to tell me what was published in the World's Work. I want to mark it against my MS. I have heard comment, apparently,
(i) On my second visit to Feisal, and his camp life, and a related battle in which the Juheina ran away to drink coffee.
(ii) On a camel charge in which I shot my camel.
(iii) On a lot of killing round Tafas, when Talal died.
Was there more? Were there these? If my book was finished (it's binding_4 copies) I'd send you the mass of it to choose a smaller gobbet from. Your taste out of such a midden might pick something not wholly putrid. When does the Owl come to a head: or be hatched, or lay itself: isn't it really a Phoenix? Query - write a debate in bird-land on the point.

Do you see old Hudson (Purple Land) is dead? In his sleep. He was such a great man.

Books are reported all safely arrived in Chingford.

What is the perversity which makes me, capable of doing many things in the world, wish only to do one thing, book-writing; and gives me no skill at it?


Note. W. H. Hudson died on 18 August 1922.

Source: B:RG 19-20
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 8 February 2006

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