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Jane Austen

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Jane Austen
(1775–1817)

Autograph manuscript of a brief poem on Captain Foote's marriage to Miss Patten

50 x 115 mm

Purchased by J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1925

MA 1034.3
Item description: 

In Austen's time poetry was regarded as a more serious genre than prose fiction. Austen seems to have inherited her poetic talent from her mother, but she did not consider herself to be a serious poet and generally wrote occasional poems for events, such as marriages and births, that were playful, comic, or celebratory. For Austen, reading poetry was a serious pursuit, but her own compositions were a lighthearted pastime for personal and family amusement rather than publication. Eighteen poems by Austen—not all in her hand—survive. It is likely that she wrote many others that were subsequently lost or remain untraced. Although this poem is in Austen's handwriting, it was composed by her uncle James Leigh Perrot. Her final poem was written three days before her death.