Monday, 15 July 2013

Upon St Swithins Day...

A  few days before her tragically early death, Jane Austen wrote these poignant verses about the Winchester Races advertised for July 15th, 1817.

Oh! subjects rebellious! Oh! Venta depraved!
When once we are buried you think we are dead
But behold me immortal! By vice you're enslaved
You have sinned and must suffer. Then farther he said
These races and revels and dissolute measures
With which you're debasing a neighbouring Plain
Let them stand - You shall meet with your curse in your pleasures
Set off on 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 -

(St. Swithin  was Bishop of Winchester, which was known as Venta by the Romans)

Thanks to JASI member Eileen in Cork, for researching  this wonderful poem.