Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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256                Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
though oblivious, as it was and is, of him in the pursuit of its bucolic pleasures and profits, had yet a place in that " Cor Cordium."
In looking back over the careers of Fletcher, Otway, Collins, and Shelley, the reflection is provoked how little they were connected with the places, or even the county, in which they were born! Collins, indeed, returned to die in Chichester, and alone, of our four great poets, rests in his native soil. Even he passed the greater part of his life away from it; and as for Fletcher, Otway, and Shelley, they all left Sussex in early youth, never to return to it, and all lie amongst strangers. Nor do their works contain the slightest evidence that their thoughts ever reverted to their native soil. They gave them­selves up, heart and soul, to the wider sphere to which they were attracted, and merged their provincialism in the larger atmosphere of literature.
Not so the lesser Poets of Sussex. They linger about the old familiar ground, as though they drew from it part of their strength and depended upon it for their after-fame. Perhaps they lacked the strength of wing to fly far from the parent-nest. Be that as it may, it is a fact that Hurdis, Hayley, Charlotte Smith, and Charles Crocker, all linger in Sussex, and take delight in singing of the beauties of Nature and of Art to be found in it—beauties for which their greater brethren had no eye or ear.
The sphere and the themes of James Hurdis were purely local. He was born (in 1763) at Bishopstone; Bishopstone was the living to which he was appointed after a previous curacy at Burwash; at Bishopstone he passed the greater part of his life; at Bishopstone he is buried; and the subject of his chief poem, " Favourite Village," is Bishopstone. Only in one thing does his quiet placid life resemble the turbid ones of his fellow-poets. He died young—at 37 years. But he lived long enough to be appointed Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and perhaps this fact will suffice to prove that, though an accomplished, amiable man, he was not, in the true sense of
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