Editorial Comment. — David Herbert Lawrence [1885–1930] was a prominent but controversial classic English author and poet who published six long poems on tortoises in 1921, based on his personal observations of captive animals in a garden in Florence, Italy, in September 1920. The tortoises were probably Hermann's tortoises, Testudo hermanni. The poems describe the anthropomorphized behaviors of these captive tortoises, from the life of a hatchling (“Baby Tortoise” as reprinted above), through a description of shell morphology (“Tortoise Shell”), tortoise behavior (“Tortoise Family Connections”), courtship (“Lui et Elle”), mating (“Tortoise Gallantry”), and male vocalizations during copulation (“Tortoise Shout”). Lawrence presents a veritable life history of tortoise behaviors in a delightful old English style. All the poems are worthy of reading and enjoying, and I urge you all to explore them more fully—his views of tortoise behaviors and their meanings and his wonderful descriptions...

You do not currently have access to this content.