Working-class poets in the eighteenth century pushed back against the simplistic tradition of the English pastoral and its romantic portrayal of the life of rural laborers. Mary Collier and Ann Yearsley are notable examples. Yearsley was a milkmaid and farmer’s wife. Writer and philanthropist Hannah More learned of her poetry in 1783 and became her patron, arranging for Yearsley to publish a book by subscription. Poems led to immediate success and a break with More over the distribution of profits. Yearsley continued to publish, maintaining full editorial control over her work.
Yearsley, Ann, Poems, on Several Occasions, London: Printed for T. Cadell, 1785, Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Accessed March 04, 2021, https://exhibits.library.duke.edu/exhibits/show/baskin/item/4051