A Re-Blog of Ellen and Jim Moody’s Post of December 16, 2011: How Jane Austen remembered her birthday in 1808

18 Jun

Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors; I especially like Emma but haven’t taught it. I have taught Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The blog post I’m reblogging is that of Ellen and Jim Moody. I like the way her poem connects Austen’s own birthday on December 16 with the death of her friend, Anne Lefroy on the same date in 1804.

Reveries Under the Sign of Austen, Two


Ashe Rectory, home of Anne Lefroy, a close friend of Jane Austen’s (drawing by E. Hill, 1901)

Dear friends and readers,

Many who today may remember or read about Jane Austen’s birthday on December 16th, may not know that she too remembered it. Austen’s close friend, Anne Lefroy, died on her birthday in 1804; that is to say, on December 16th, at the age of 55 Anne Lefroy died from a fall from a horse. So four years later, presumably to the day (as that’s what the poem say), Jane Austen wrote this elegy:

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,

View original post 1,576 more words

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