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[Typescript Poem] “The Wild Rose”

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Mary Webb. “The Wild Rose.” Typescript poem, one leaf, 10¼″ x 8″, white wove watermarked paper. Fourteen lines, one correction. George Meredith encouraged his daughter’s intellectual development, and “his first love was poetry . . . He wrote every day; and discovering Mary’s aptitude, he fostered it, instructing her in the writing of sonnets, rondeaus and other forms. During a long apprenticeship, she was concerned with technique, attentive to rhyme and metre. Poetry played an important part in the daily lives of father and daughter” (Coles, Mary Webb, 1990, p. 26). First published in the Vineyard in June 1913, the poem was one of Webb’s first to be accepted for publication. “The Wild Rose” shows Mary's keen joy in the minutiae of nature, her intense love of wild flowers, and her sharp, precise observation. Many of Mary’s poems show her fascination with bees (“The humming honey-people eagerly / Enjoy this loving cup among the green”), which both her father and her brother Kenneth kept.