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[Typescript Poem] Farewell To Beauty

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Mary Webb. “Farewell to Beauty.” Typescript poem, one leaf, 9″ x 6″, off-white wove paper. Twenty lines in five stanzas, eight ink corrections. The title has been altered in manuscript from its original reading, which was: “A Farewell.” Below the title is a typed line reading: “‘Their being is to be perceived’. Berkeley.” Mary spent her last summer alone at Spring Cottage on Lyth Hill in Shropshire. Henry, no longer in love with her, was estranged and remained in London. A chill presentiment has touched Webb, and her later poems are filled with sorrow and pathos. As Graves’ disease and pernicious anemia weakened her resistance and sapped her strength, Webb wrote more than ever about the transience of life. The first and final stanzas of “Farewell to Beauty” contain some of Webb’s best poetry: “Let fall your golden showers, laburnum tree! / Break the grey casket of your buds for me— / Soon I shall go where never gold is seen, / And who will be with you as I have been?” and “Maybe the solemn hill, the enchanted plain / Will be but arable and wild again, / Losing the purple bloom they wore for me— / The dreaming god I could so clearly see.”