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Jane Austen

"The benevolence of her heart,
the sweetness of her temper, and
the extraordinary endowments of her mind
obtained the regard of all who knew her, and
the warmest love of her intimate connections.

Their grief is in proportion to their affection
they know their loss to be irreparable
but in the deepest affliction that are consoled
by a firm though humble hope that her charity,
devotion, faith and purity have rendered
her soul acceptable in the sight of her
-inscription on Jane Austen's gravestone

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 at Steventon, Hampshire, England, one of seven children. In 1783, she was schooled at Oxford and Southampton, and from 1787 to 1783, Austen wrote Juvenilia, parodies of her time's readings.

In 1800, Austen and her family moved to Bath as the choice of her father, and there she met and fell in love with a man, although soon afterward they heard that he had died. On December 2, 1802, Austen was proposed to by a boy named Harris Bigg-Wither, and she accepted even though no love was present. Then, the day after, she told him the truth, that she couldn't marry him.

In 1803, Austen wrote Northanger Abbey, although it was not published. Then in 1805, her father passed away and her family began moving often. They moved to Clifton (1805), then Southampton (1806), then finally settled in Chawton (1809). It was there that she began to publish her literary works.

She published Sense and Sensibility anonymously in October 1811 and Pride and Prejudice was sold in November 1812 and published in January 1813. Then she published Manfield Park and Emma in May 1814 and December 1815 respectively.

Sadly, Austen became ill in 1816 and had to be moved to Winchester for treatment on May 24, 1817. She died on July 18, 1817, and although she most likely died of Addison's disease, her cause of death is truly unknown.

Three days before her death, Jane Austen wrote this poem:

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--'.

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