Life Without Austen
by J. Marie Croft
Imagine a time-traveler went back and changed a family tree
And prevented George Austen’s marriage to Cassandra Leigh.
They say we cannot possibly pine for something we never had.
If, in 1775, Jane Austen wasn’t born, we’d probably not be sad.
Her novels would be unwritten, and you know ignorance is bliss.
Jane’s oeuvre would vanish into thin air. Unknowing, we’d never mourn
The loss of Elliots, Bertrams, Woodhouses, or the Bennets of Longbourn.
Gone forever are Austen’s juveniia, novels, irony, and cutting wit.
We lost The Watsons, Lady Susan, and more than one heroic Brit.
‘Lefroy’ and ‘Bigg-Wither’ would mean little without our dear Jane,
And a shin-bone would be harmless in the hand of that critic Twain.
A beloved author’s narrative art is ne’er borrowed from the public library.
Shelves are bereft of her deft brushstrokes on two inches wide of ivory.
The poor Dashwood sisters suffered no loss in Sense and Sensibility,
Yet our loss is knowledge of everyday Georgian society and gentility.
Pride and Prejudice would simply fade away. (Woe to Colin Firth.)
Today we wouldn’t celebrate the anniversary of Jane Austen’s birth.
Let’s say adieu to disappointment and spleen. It’s time to make merry.
Bring on the ratafia, the seed cake, and syllabub topped with a cherry.
Austen’s birthday is reason to rejoice in the novels she bestowed –
Such as a spoof on the Gothic novel. From her pen parody flowed.
Love and Friendship were our gifts from Miss Austen, a ‘fine painter of life’.
That’s what brings us together – admiration and affinity. Forget about strife!
Sing ‘happy birthday’ and propose a toast to celebrate Jane’s nativity.
Maria invited us here to commemorate Austen’s genius and creativity ...
… and to answer a question.
What would my life be like without Jane Austen? Oh, I really mustn’t grouse.
Instead of writing, I’d do more cleaning. Without Jane I’d have a spotless house!
J. Marie Croft lives in Nova Scotia and divides her time among working at a music lesson centre, geocaching with her husband, and writing. Her stories are lighthearted; and her tag line is Jane Austen’s quote, “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” A member of the Jane Austen Society of North America (Canada), she admits to being excessively attentive to the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Adult twin daughters are the light of her life even though they don’t appreciate Mr. Darcy the way ‘Momzie” does. Her latest novel is Love at First Slight, available in paperback and on Kindle. Visit J. Marie Croft’s Website for more information.