Strawberries and Austen

This evening’s Advent tea sample assures us it is serenity in a tin, which assertion we’re disinclined to question, since after all the chaos that is a High Anglican Advent Service, we welcome the concept. It’s not just the choreography at Mass either. We’re supposed to be moving back to Canada, Marschallin-cat and all, and are presently making arrangements. Also we’re applying via UCAS for teacher training, but no two universities use the same application window, and they still make more sense than the Canadian courses we’ve looked at. Serenity in tins or otherwise is readily welcomed.

This particular cupful tastes and smells of strawberries. There’s reship in there too, but it seems mostly to colour the tea, not flavour it. Consequently we’re sitting here drinking tea and thinking of Emma and Highbury where strawberries meant ‘English verdure, English culture English comfort seen under a sun bright, without being oppressive.’  Except that the light’s gone and we’re in Scotland.

With her in mind though as we drink our strawberry tea, here’s a poem by Jane Austen, who we’ve credited with many things previously, but never verse.

Happy the Lab’rer

Jane Austen

Happy the lab’rer in his Sunday clothes!
In light-drab coat, smart waistcoat, well-darn’d hose,
Andhat upon his head, to church he goes;
As oft, with conscious pride, he downward throws
A glance upon the ample cabbage rose
That, stuck in button-hole, regales his nose,
He envies not the gayest London beaux.
In church he takes his seat among the rows,
Pays to the place the reverence he owes,
Likes best the prayers whose meaning least he knows,
Lists to the sermon in a softening doze,
And rouses joyous at the welcome close.

2 thoughts on “Strawberries and Austen

    1. Neither had I! I Always supposing my geography is in tact (highly debatable!) I’m heading Eastward, to Ontario, home of trilliums, black flies and uncharitable weather. (But also Red Rose tea, so I forgive it.)


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