Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jane Austen's resting place

Winchester Cathedral



July 24, 1817, Jane is buried

Cassandra writes to a niece on the day
of the funeral, "I watched the little mournful
procession [Page 258] the length of the street;
and when it turned from my sight and I had
lost her for ever, even then I was not overpowered,
nor so much agitated as I am now in writing of it.
Never was human being more sincerely mourned
by those who attended her remains, than was
this dear creature. May the sorrow with which she is parted with on earth be a prognostic of the joy with which she is hailed in heaven."[1] (Jane Austen :Her Home and Her friends)



But we would remind this writer that "grandeur
depends upon proportion, not size." A recent
critic who maintains that Miss Austen's genius,
in spite of apparently narrow limitations,
had really ample scope, observes: "Ordinary
life was seen by her not dimly and partially
as we see it, but in all its actual vastness,
and it was in this huge field that she worked
with such supreme success. If the 'little
bit of ivory' were only 'two inches wide'
those inches were not of mortal measure.

No! for Ben Jonson has told us that -

"In small proportions we just beauties see,
And in short measures life may perfect be."

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