The Sussex Country Doctor. 133
And still thy form more lovely grew,
And still thy mind improved; Thou wert by all who saw admired,
By all who knew thee loved.
And oh, when grief was at my heart,
And care was on my brow, My kindest, truest, comforter,
My fondest friend, wert thou.
Nor was thy kindness unconfess'd,
Thy fondness unreturned— Living, how dearly wert thou loved!
And dead, how deeply mourned!
Some readers of these most beautiful and heartrending lines (I do not think they are excelled, if equalled, for pathetic beauty in all the range of English poetry) may ask how could grief so deep put itself into the trammels of verse? The reply is, that, to a poet, verse has no trammels; it is the natural channel of his thoughts and feelings—the form in which his emotions clothe themselves as they well up in his heart; it is to him what tears, and lamentations, and wringing of hands are to other men—a relief and a consolation, and also a necessity; for if he did not so give vent to his feelings, they would break his heart or madden his brain.
The death of this beloved daughter was Dr. Verral's greatest sorrow in life, and yet it had its consolation in the memory of the affection and virtues of the lost one. For that which had preceded it there was no consolation, and in that which followed there was a sharper pang. Dr. Verral was walking in the streets of London with a younger child— a merry laughing girl. They had to cross a road, crowded with traffic, and, before they could do so, a heavy vehicle was upon them; they were struck down, and when he rose, the child lay dead at his feet. In his agony he threw himself on the corpse and refused to be comforted. What comfort, indeed, was there for a father so bereaved of his child ?
Before the last of these terrible misfortunes had fallen on Dr. Verral, his home at Seaford had been broken up, and he had begun the world again in another sphere. Into this I