A delightful manuscript poem by Jane Austen given a new home

Just last month, a comic poem by Jane Austen about a newly engaged couple was given a new home, titled 'On the Marriage of Mr. Gell of East Bourn to Miss Gill. It was only the second autograph manuscript by the beloved author to be up for public auction in the last thirty years and gave the very fortunate purchasers a rare opportunity to own one of the six autograph manuscripts still held privately.

The poem is a delightful testament to her fascination with wordplay and favour for the comedy of rhyme. It is likely the poem was written for the amusement of her relatives, and Sophie Hopkins a manuscript specialist reflected "It's clearly a family where literature is discussed, enjoyed, picked apart and put back together again". The poem is written on the verso of a frontispiece from the Gothic novel Love, Mystery and Misery by Anthony Holstein. The poem is rather charming, and we love how Jane responded to the engagement notice of Mr Gell and Miss Gill she read in a local newspaper.

‘On the Marriage of Mr. Gell of
East Bourn to Miss Gill

Of Eastbourn, Mr. Gell
From being perfectly well
Became dreadfully ill
For the Love of Miss Gill
So he said with some sighs
I’m the slave of your i.s
Ah! restore if you please
By accepting my e.s.’


Why not give a little wordplay a go yourself with our Jane Austen Notebooks, perfect for carrying with you or our Jane Austen Pen and Pencil set for jotting down your sudden bursts of inspiration.

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Words by Hannah England.