By M. Lockwood
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Extra resources for A Study of the Poems of D. H. Lawrence: Thinking in Poetry
The character of the 'Godhead in Man' in The Death of the Baron needs to be mentioned briefly too. It is Jehovah, an 'efficient' God, presumably an authoritarian Lord and Master. This, rather than any simple imitation of Pre-Raphaelite mediaevalism, seems to account for the anachronistic air of feudalism which hangs over the poem, with its peasant-like narrator and the central figure of the displaced aristocrat. The same feudal structure is apparent in those pastoral societies which Lawrence creates, especially in his later fiction, to embody his religious ideals, and in Aztec and Etruscan civilizations as he reconstructs them.
Though Lawrence seemed surprised at beginning his literary career in this way, it was specifically as a poet, and on the strength of these and other English Review poems, that Lawrence first gained his rapid introduction Early Poetry 35 in these years to the literary circles of London. Throughout his time at Croydon, Lawrence kept up a prolific output of poems (roughly pp. 50-180 of the present edition of 'Rhyming Poems'), and also found time to work at two novels, The White Peacock, which was finally published in 1911, and The Trespasser (1912), as well as at short stories and plays.
The animism as a whole is made too explicit, defeating its own ends. Instead of the water, the peewits, and the rabbits dealing out their meaning silently by being themselves, they begin talking, and telling us what they mean ('I am here! '). There has been a drop in poetic intensity and concentration, like a change from imagination to fancy in Coleridge's terms, 12 from animism to what is almost the pathetic fallacy. It is also rather a betrayal of the meaning of the poem, since the poem is making the point that substance is the primary creative reality, as opposed to incorporeal spirituality, and Lawrence's revisions have dissolved the concrete imagery and replaced it with insubstantial ecstatics.
A Study of the Poems of D. H. Lawrence: Thinking in Poetry by M. Lockwood