Mock Panegyric on a Young Friend
by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
In measured verse I’ll now rehearse
The charms of lovely Anna:
And, first, her mind is unconfined
Like any vast savannah.
Ontario’s lake may fitly speak
Her fancy’s ample bound:
Its circuit may, on strict survey
Five hundred miles be found.
Her wit descends on foes and friends
Like famed Niagara’s fall;
And travellers gaze in wild amaze,
And listen, one and all.
Her judgment sound, thick, black, profound,
Like transatlantic groves,
Dispenses aid, and friendly shade
To all that in it roves.
If thus her mind to be defined
And all that’s grand in that great land
In similes it costs —
Oh how can I her person try
To image and portray?
How paint the face, the form how trace,
In which those virtues lay?
Another world must be unfurled,
Another language known,
Ere tongue or sound can publish round
Her charms of flesh and bone.