LAWRENCE, THOMAS EDWARD (1888-1935, 'Lawrence of Arabia')
'...Day Lewis is no beginner: after Auden, I suppose he has the best-established name among those living poets who are not so young. He has published for years, and his first editions are carefully collected and quoted by any modern bookseller. I'm not a collector, nor a keen follower of modern letters: and I am worse than middle-aged, and know myself utterly incompetent to pontificate about writing in the Observer -- but even I have on my country shelves five titles by Day Lewis. I speak from memory only. He is not a Shakespeare, but worth watching, of the post-Eliot and not - so - new school...'
'I...MUST EJACULATE -- OR BURST'. Lawrence mentions this outburst to Garvin in a letter dated 27 July to Lady Astor when recommending Day Lewis's work to her: '...send for the collected Poems of Cecil Day Lewis and read them. It is not much (only four or five slim volumettes) but sincere, intelligent, grimly-good and of today. The Observer's fatuous literary gent said last Sunday that he had never heard of Day Lewis. I wrote an indignant protest to Garvin. Day Lewis does me good, you see. Beechen Vigil, his first poems, are his most musical. He is a famous poet, of some years ago, and probably not yet exhausted. A schoolmaster, I believe...'
The poem by Lawrence to SA at the beginning of Seven Pillars of Wisdom demonstrates that his interest in the form was greater than his typically self-deprecating remarks in this letter suggest.