Collier, Mary

Collier, Mary
   Born near Midhurst, Sussex, of poor parents, she had little education. When her parents died she moved to Petersfield, Hampshire, where she supported herself by washing clothes, brewing, and other types of manual work. She retired to a garret in Alton where she died. Poems on Several Occasions was published in 1762. In her poem "The Woman's Labor: An Epistle to Mr. Stephen Duck" (see entry) (1739)- an angry response to his comments in praise of men and the idleness of rural women-she spoke up for the common woman and railed against the women's double-shift during the work day. She describes the seasonal drudgery common to working-class women trying to earn an honest living, how women reap the harvest as well as men, then come home to start work again and are so worked that they have little time to dream.
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition, 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. For a translation of Early Modern Notes: The Woman's Labor, see ( Mary Collier (, Marysunshine/march99/collierhtml). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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