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[Typescript Poem] “The Water Ousel”

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Mary Webb. “The Water Ousel.” “Mrs. Webb†/ 5. Grove Cottages / The Grove / Hampstead, / N.W.3” in pencil (crossed out). Typescript poem, two leaves, 10¼″ x 8″, white wove watermarked paper. Twenty-nine lines, minor ink corrections. Beneath the title line is written in pencil (and crossed out): “and other poems.” Small holes in upper-left corners. Webb wrote this poem during the early days at Maesbrook when, recuperating from her first attack of Gravesí disease, “the eldest Miss Meredith” convalesced in the sanctuary of the wooded grounds of the old mill house, spending many hours watching birds and the minutiae of nature along the stream and the banks of the little River Rea (Coles, The Flower of Light, 1978). “The Water Ousel” was first published in the Nation and the Athenaeum, Vol. 29, 30 July, 1921, p. 648 almost twenty years after its composition.