Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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262                Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
And, while I gaze, thy mild and placid light
Sheds a soft calm upon my troubled breast, And oft I think, fair Planet of the Night,
That in thy orb the wretched may have rest; The sufferers of the earth perhaps may go,
Released by death, to thy benignant sphere, And the sad children of despair and woe
Forget in thee their cup of sorrow here. Oh! that I soon may reach thy world serene, Poor wearied pilgrim in this toiling scene!
Written in the Churchyard at Middleton in Sussex.
Press'd by the Moon, mute arbitress of tides, While the loud equinox its power combines, The sea no more its swelling surge confines,
But o'er the shrinking land sublimely rides.
The wild blast, rising from the Western cave, Drives the huge billows from their heaving bed; Tears from their grassy tombs the village dead,
And breaks the silent sabbath of the grave!
With shells and sea-weed mingled, on the shore, Lo! their bones whiten in the frequent wave; But vain to them the winds and waters rave;
They hear the warring elements no more:
While I am doom'd—by life's long storm opprest,
To gaze with envy on their gloomy rest.
Other sonnets of Charlotte Smith are addressed to the Southdowns and the river Arun, in which latter she couples Hayley as a fellow-poet with Otway and Collins! It was in these local effusions that her strength lay; out of Sussex and the sonnet her Muse droops.
We may almost apply the same words to Charles Crocker, who, in our own days, sustained the reputation of Chichester as a birth-place of poets. He was born there in 1797, of humble parents; received his education at the Grey-coat School; and was apprenticed before he was 12 years of age to a shoemaker. It was whilst he was earning his living at this handicraft that he made the discovery—first of his taste for poetry, and then of his own power to compose verse—at first, " in his head," and, after a time, on paper. Some of his effusions coming to the knowledge of his fellow-townsmen,
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