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When Stretch’d on One’s Bed

When stretch’d on one’s bed
With a fierce-throbbing head,
Which preculdes alike thought or repose,
How little one cares
For the grandest affairs
That may busy the world as it goes!

How little one feels
For the waltzes and reels
Of our Dance-loving friends at a Ball!
How slight one’s concern
To conjecture or learn
What their flounces or hearts may befall.

How little one minds
If a company dines
On the best that the Season affords!
How short is one’s muse
O’er the Sauces and Stews,
Or the Guests, be they Beggars or Lords.

How little the Bells,
Ring they Peels, toll they Knells,
Can attract our attention or Ears!
The Bride may be married,
The Corse may be carried
And touch nor our hopes nor our fears.

Our own bodily pains
Ev’ry faculty chains;
We can feel on no subject besides.
Tis in health and in ease
We the power must seize
For our friends and our souls to provide.

Jane Austen

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When Winchester Races

When Winchester races first took their beginning

It is said the good people forgot their old Saint

Not applying at all for the leave of Saint Swithin

And that William of Wykeham’s approval was faint.

The races however were fixed and determined

The company came and the Weather was charming

The Lords and the Ladies were satine’d and ermined

And nobody saw any future alarming.–

But when the old Saint was informed of these doings

He made but one Spring from his Shrine to the Roof

Of the Palace which now lies so sadly in ruins

And then he addressed them all standing aloof.

‘Oh! subjects rebellious! Oh Venta depraved

When once we are buried you think we are gone

But behold me immortal! By vice you’re enslaved

You have sinned and must suffer, ten farther he said

These races and revels and dissolute measures

With which you’re debasing a neighboring Plain

Let them stand–You shall meet with your curse in your pleasures

Set off for your course, I’ll pursue with my rain.

Ye cannot but know my command o’er July

Henceforward I’ll triumph in shewing my powers

Shift your race as you will it shall never be dry

The curse upon Venta is July in showers–‘.

 

This is Jane Austen’s last poem, written on July 15, 1817, only days before her death on July 18, 1817. The light tone belies the serious state of her health at this time. Venta was another, older name for Winchester, the town where Austen spent her last days under the care of her physician, Mr. Lyford. As you may surmise, July 15 is St. Swithin’s day, sacred to the memory of St. Swithin, Bishop of Winchester and a day long associated with rain. Not the finest condition for a race!

 

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Happy the Lab’rer

A up cycled floral brooch

Happy the Lab’rer

Happy the lab’rer in his Sunday clothes!
In light-drab coat, smart waistcoat, well-darn’d hose,
And hat upon his head, to church he goes;
As oft, with conscious pride, he downward throws
A glance upon the ample cabbage rose
That, stuck in button-hole, regales his nose,
He envies not the gayest London beaux.
In church he takes his seat among the rows,
Pays to the place the reverence he owes,
Likes best the prayers whose meaning least he knows,
Lists to the sermon in a softening doze,
And rouses joyous at the welcome close.

 

This poem by Jane Austen was part of a game played by the Austen family. The object was to write as long a poem as book rosepossible with words rhyming with rose. A full list of submissions from the family can be found in the Hands on Regency: Games to Play portion of this magazine.

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Of A Ministry Pitiful, Angry, Mean

Of a Ministry pitiful, angry, mean,

A gallant commander the victim is seen.

For promptitude, vigour, success, does he stand

Condemn’d to receive a severe reprimand!

To his foes I could wish a resemblance in fate:

That they, too, may suffer themselves, soon or late,

The injustice they warrent. But vain is my spite

They cannot so suffer who never do right.

Jane Austen

 

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To the Memory of Mrs. Lefroy


To the Memory of Mrs. Lefroy who died Dec:r 16 — my Birthday.

The day returns again, my natal day;

What mix’d emotions with the Thought arise!

Beloved friend, four years have pass’d away

Since thou wert snatch’d forever from our eyes.–

The day, commemorative of my birth

Bestowing Life and Light and Hope on me,

Brings back the hour which was thy last on Earth.

Oh! bitter pang of torturing Memory!–

Angelic Woman! past my power to praise

In Language meet, thy Talents, Temper, mind.

Thy solid Worth, they captivating Grace!–

Thou friend and ornament of Humankind!–

At Johnson’s death by Hamilton t’was said,

‘Seek we a substitute–Ah! vain the plan,

No second best remains to Johnson dead–

None can remind us even of the Man.’

So we of thee–unequall’d in thy race

Unequall’d thou, as he the first of Men.

Vainly we wearch around the vacant place,

We ne’er may look upon thy like again.

Come then fond Fancy, thou indulgant Power,–
–Hope is desponding, chill, severe to thee!–
Bless thou, this little portion of an hour,
Let me behold her as she used to be.

I see her here, with all her smiles benign,
Her looks of eager Love, her accents sweet.
That voice and Countenance almost divine!–
Expression, Harmony, alike complete.–

I listen–’tis not sound alone–’tis sense,
‘Tis Genius, Taste and Tenderness of Soul.
‘Tis genuine warmth of heart without pretence
And purity of Mind that crowns the whole.

She speaks; ’tis Eloquence–that grace of Tongue
So rare, so lovely!–Never misapplied
By her to palliate Vice, or deck a Wrong,
She speaks and reasons but on Virtue’s side.

Her’s is the Engergy of Soul sincere.
Her Christian Spirit ignorant to feign,
Seeks but to comfort, heal, enlighten, chear,
Confer a pleasure, or prevent a pain.–

Can ought enhance such Goodness?–Yes, to me,
Her partial favour from my earliest years
Consummates all.–Ah! Give me yet to see
Her smile of Love.–the Vision diappears.

‘Tis past and gone–We meet no more below.
Short is the Cheat of Fancy o’er the Tomb.
Oh! might I hope to equal Bliss to go!
To meet thee Angel! in thy future home!–

Fain would I feel an union in thy fate,
Fain would I seek to draw an Omen fair
From this connection in our Earthly date.
Indulge the harmless weakness–Reason, spare.–


Jane Austen


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