By M. Lockwood
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Additional resources for A Study of the Poems of D. H. Lawrence: Thinking in Poetry
H. Lawrence he saw for mankind would not now come about through a process of evolution, but by means of sudden, cataclysmic change, spontaneous, unheralded, and 'destructive-creative'. In the 1928 Dreams Nascent (173-6), the emphasis is overwhelmingly (fifteen stanzas out of eighteen) on the violent destruction of the old. The personal level of the original poem has gone (the railway workers are still there, rather oddly, but the schoolboys have disappeared), the tone has been jacked up one notch from exclamation to exhortation, and the free verse turned into rhyming stanzas, with attendant rhetoric and poetic diction: The whole wide world is interior now, and we're all shut up.
Lawrence All that is right, all that is good, all that is God takes substance! a rabbit lobs In confirmation, I hear sevenfold lark-songs pealing. It is not really enough to dress up the thought in the garments of creation. A conviction has been reiterated, with certain perfunctory gestures of formality and finality, like the rabbit lobbing in confirmation, but the experience that originally gave rise to it, the 'pure passionate experience' of the Fantasia foreword, this has not been re-created.
The man who died was originally the knight Nils Lykke - the Clarke notebook draft has the title Nils Lykke Dead - hence what must have been at first literal references to the armour of the 'metal-cold' man. Even in its notebook form, however, the poem has outgrown these origins (all reference to the Ibsen character is later omitted), and other elements of Lawrence's experience have entered, such as the ritual laying-out of the dead miner. 54 The poem is another female dramatic monologue, in which a woman, holding the dead body of her lover, denounces his death as an evasion of the responsibilities of living, a self-willed refusal to lend himself to the interchange of life.