feel it in her own body, the huge heave of the sap in the massive trees, [D.H. Lawrence]

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(para. 129) by Lawrence(the University of Adelaide,here):

She went to the wood next day. It was a grey, still afternoon, with the dark-green dogs-mercury spreading under the hazel copse, and all the trees making a silent effort to open their buds. Today she could almost feel it in her own body, the huge heave of the sap in the massive trees, upwards, up, up to the bud-tips, there to push into little flamey oak-leaves, bronze as blood. It was like a ride running turgid upward, and spreading on the sky.

Well, the colored part is a little difficult for me to understand. I feel the "it" in the sentence refer to "the huge heave of the sap in the massive trees, upwards, up, up to the bud-a, there to push into little flamey oak-leaves, bronze as blood". But how could she feel it in her body please?

Thank you in advance
Last edited:
  • Rhye

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I agree with your interpretation and say that it's only figurative that she can "feel it in her own body". The author means that the phenomenon is so apparent/forceful on this day that it is as if she could feel it physically herself.

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    'It was like a :cross: running turgid upward, and spreading on ... '
    I'm just making sure it's understood that the word is tide, not ride.
    I imagine she's feeling the way one does when one gets some exciting unexpected news, a flood of emotion sweeping up through your body or indeed, growing sexual excitement. It is all imagery and a lot of it (all?) is sexual. The idea of sap rising in the trees and words like 'turgid'.
    (Imagery, not to be confused with 'puns'.)


    Senior Member
    Thank you. I feel the sap flow is similar to Connie's blood flow. Lawrence wrote the trees is to write Connie's feeling: the excitement, the desire and the impulse for love and life.
    This is just the imagery.
    Long, you might remember a crucial early passage, Ch 8, just before Connie's first direct encounter:

    Constance sat down with her back to a young pine-tree, that wayed against her with curious life, elastic, and powerful, rising up. The erect, alive thing, with its top in the sun!
    And she watched the daffodils turn golden, in a burst of sun that was warm on her hands and lap. Even she caught the faint, tarry scent of the flowers.
    And then, being so still and alone, she seemed to [g]et into the current of her own proper destiny.

    (There are lots of typos because of OCR issues).

    While the words chosen are not puns, they are veiled or not-so-veiled sexual allusions. The passage in the OP describe sensual feeling rising in her. 'turgid' is often applied
    sexual organs in a state of excitement.

    The colors you asked about are reds, red like blood. Life makes tissues pink, or even red; sexual excitement as well. (You are right about 'it'.)

    So Lawrence employs, one might say, the 'sympathetic fallacy'; nature mirrors his characters.. Note that after she encounters the tree, the next day, she visits
    "John's well" which shows only a small trickle (at that point). Mellors, like a number of men, calls his penis John Thomas.

    ADDED: I agree with Hermione, "tide". There are lots of mistakes in that text.
    Last edited:
    Long, when you are translating, it's going to be up to you to use words that have double or more meanings. Lawrence's verbs and adjectives are applied to nonsexual things but resonate
    with the sexual events of the story. Hermione has mentioned this already, but when you read

    It was like a [t]ide running turgid upward,

    you should think of blow flow in a woman, on in a man, in his penis. 'turgid' is a rather heavy-handed clue, since an erect penis (or excited vulva in a woman) is described as 'turgid.'

    Note words like 'rise' or 'rising' have a possible sexual allusion.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    But they aren't puns. (Just a reminder:D in case one is needed.) "Turgid" sounds extremely non-erotic to me. Think "turgid prose" :(.
    < Previous | Next >