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[Manuscript Poem] “Going For The Milk”

  1. 00018562_0001
  2. 00018562_0002

Mary Webb. “Going for the Milk.” Manuscript poem, one leaf, 8¼″ x 7½″, tan ruled laid paper, seventeen lines in three stanzas, brown ink, with two corrections (including one to the title). Young Mary Meredith regularly visited the old women in a local workhouse, one of whom served as the inspiration for this poem. A monologue in the voice of a countrywoman looking back on her life, Webb contemplates the passing of time employing the simple country task of fetching milk. In seventeen stanzas, Webb successively describes a toddling child, a young girl of seventeen, a new mother, and an old woman. The old woman reminisces: “Itís fifty years come Easter, since that day; / The workíus ward is cold, my eyes be dim; / Never no more Iíll go the flowery way / Fetching the milk. I drink the pauperís skim.”