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[Typescript Poem] “The Ancient Gods”

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Mary Webb. “The Ancient Gods.” Typescript poem, one leaf, 9½″ x 5½″, white wove paper. The bottom has been irregularly torn off, with loss of some additional lines of verse. The typescript is accompanied by a sheet of notepaper, reading in pencil: “6 lines missing.” Thirty-seven lines in nine complete stanzas (with one ink correction), typed in purple ink, with one line of the next stanza. Webb’s pantheism and sharp sense impressions infuse her pastoral descriptions with a mythic quality: “Only I know I saw them, stately, comely / Walking along the middle of the stream. / They woke within the shallow singing water / A fading gleam. / They left no trail for any beast to follow / No track upon the moss for man to trace. / In a long silent file up-stream they vanished / With measured pace.”