On First Recognizing Jennifer Ehle’s Voice on Film

I found the following scribbled on a slip of paper, tucked into the public library’s copy of the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice:

On First Recognizing Jennifer Ehle’s Voice on Film

Does she thus live? With such eyes, cheekbones, and lips?
With this quietly furnaced fire?

It began with the springtime-mountain-brook sound filling the car,
highway hours moving with Propero’s Miranda.
A daughter’s duty spoken gently; articulate, sweet.
The Prince lands, and The Tempest’s breathless Eve
beholds her Adam. Her voice keeps the fruit ripe on the branches.

Then, a lazy evening with a set of DVDs: O heavenly God,
do you so ply both lute and brush together?
Darcy’s Eliza—a sister and friend
with the same patient music of duty,
now gamboling on the dale with glistening eyes!
now standing her ground under an autumn arbor
with steel-spined zeal for truth,
admitting to herself error, but not defeat.

My Bard, my dear Jane Austen: never despair.
The fulfillment of these, your heroines,
time has given freely.
Check the jewel cases. Both credits read:
played by Jennifer Ehle.


1. Keats invented the genre, as you may recall. We tried it here last spring.

2. In between the news and various forms of tune-age, one might enjoy the Arkangel Shakespeare for company in the car.

4 thoughts on “On First Recognizing Jennifer Ehle’s Voice on Film

  1. Father Mark,

    I know that Rocky Mount, Virginia, is far out; but “Fr. Mark White locusts-and-wild-honeypie weblog”? Let’s see the camel hair garment and leather belt first. Then, maybe, we can talk.



  2. Thanks for writing in, “St. Agnes.” I think I understand your point. I guess I can imagine “a priest” who should never post such a poem. But in the case of this particular priest, all things considered, it would hardly be appropriate for me not to. Thanks for your prayers.

  3. Well, why should ‘a priest’ not publish a poem? Rather refreshing, I think, and I wish I had paid more attention in Eng Lit 101 in college. But frankly, I prayed to get out with a passing grade, and I did!

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