The sheep coughed in the <rough>, sere grass of the park

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 57, Chapter Five) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Clifford and Connie were going around in their park……)

The hard air was still sulphurous, but they were both used to it. Round the near horizon went the haze,opalescent with frost and smoke, and on the top lay the small blue sky; so that it was like being inside an enclosure, always inside. Life always a dream or a frenzy, inside an enclosure.
The sheep coughed in the rough, sere grass of the park, where frost lay bluish in the sockets of the tufts.


How should I understand the blue sentence please? I feel rough here means deep, so the whole sentence mean:
The sheep bleated (=coughed) in the deep(=rough), dry/withered(=sere) grass of the park, where frost shone bluish(=lay bluish) in the hollows(=sockets) of the bush(=tufts)

Is that right please?
Thank you in advance
 
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  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I think "rough" is meant literally, since sere grass is dry grass.

    I agree with your interpretation of "socket" - it refers to the hollows at the centres of the tufts. A tuft is just a bunch of grass shoots growing close together. The frost had a bluish hue.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    It needs to be read with the meaning that best fits the context. Dry grass is rough to the touch and you could probably say it looks rough too; it's not lush green and smooth.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The sheep coughed

    I read that literally. Sheep do cough sometimes, especially in the winter. They can get respiratory diseases.
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    It may have something to do with the golf term for "the rough", that is, taller and unmowed grass. I doubt it is borrowed from golf so much as that it is or was an existing term.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The sheep coughed in the rough, sere grass of the park,
    Rough is a classification of the condition of grassland and pasture: it means "untended; left to go wild" and often implies "not of prime quality" (which sheep don't seem to mind.)

    These sheep are on rough pasture:

     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    it means "untended; left to go wild"
    If not for the word "sere" following "rough" this is the meaning I might have suggested too. Also, the sentence refers to grass on their private park which made me think of a smaller, possibly better cared for area of land than open pasture. But what you say is quite possible.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Also, the sentence refers to grass on their private park which made me think of a smaller, possibly better cared for area of land than open pasture.
    I admit that I hadn't seen that, but two points arise:
    (i) 'Park' in the 1920s and earlier, and often, even today, when attached to a large house, did not indicate manicured lawns but more grassland attached to the property but which was fenced off.
    (ii) The novel describes rabbits and a wood - we are looking at something relatively rural. Interestingly, if you search for "Buttery Lane, Teversal" on Google Earth/Google maps, next to the church is "Teversal Manor" - which is widely believed to be "Wragby Hall" - you will see that Wragby does not have extensive enclosed gardens, and, even given the passing years, the land around is rural. (Also Teversal Manor, Ashfield, Nottinghamshire)
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    We do tend to think of 'park' as meaning a very cultivated area. But 'park' here, is the term for the enclosed area around a country house, the land belonging to the owner of the house for his use. It can include all sorts of land and various uses of land. Mellors was Clifford's 'gamekeeper' - his job was to raise gamebirds, to be shot in the late summer and autumn.
    The landowners would organise 'shooting parties' for their friends, who would come for a long weekend and have fun killing.
    I can't recall what sort of gamebirds are mentioned, but I think that shooting parties take place on open ground, often higher ground that might be described as 'moorland', above the tree-line. It's very possible that Clifford had such land on his 'park' or 'estate'. He certainly had woodland.
     
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