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[Typescript Poem] “Ah, Do Not Be So Sweet!”

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Mary Webb. “Ah, Do Not Be So Sweet!” Typescript poem, one leaf, 9″ x 5¾″, white wove paper (tightly crumpled, as if discarded, recovered and smoothed out). Twenty-one lines in three stanzas. Webb invested intense energy in her relationships (first with her father and then with her husband), but her happiness was intermingled with fear of loss. “This love brought pain as acute as joy for it sharpened her awareness of transience, gave a keen edge to her happiness. . . . So the fear of loss loomed spectre-like to haunt her, and was to remain her dark companion to the end” (Coles, The Flower of Light, 1978, p. 105). Webb was emotionally dependent upon her “other” and haunted by insecurity, knowing that at any time he could withdraw his love or be taken from her.