Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

Sussex Poets.                                 263
they were printed and published, and established the title of Charles Crocker to the fame—if not of a poet, at all events, of one who could write poetry. One piece, at least, will live in our English Parnassus, viz., the Sonnet to the Oak, which Southey, when including Crocker amongst the poets of the day, declared to be one of the finest ever written. Few English­men, we think, will be disposed to dispute the dictum of the then Laureate:—
When, sacred plant, the Druid sage of old,
With reverential awe, beheld in thee
The abode or emblem of Divinity, • Methinks some vague prophetic vision rolled Before his wondering eyes, and dimly told
Thy future fame—thy glorious destiny.
Haply, e'en then, deep musing, he might see, Within thy trunk revered, that Spirit bold
Which sprang from thence in aftertimes, and stood,
Rejoicing in his might, in Ocean's flood, The guardian genius of Britannia's Isle;
At whose dread voice admiring nations bow,
In duteous homage—tyrants are laid low— And fierce Oppression's victims learn to smile.
As might be expected, the themes which inspired Crocker were purely local: Kingley Vale, The Lavant, Kingshame— all within a walk of his native city. Chichester was his world. We almost doubt if he ever slept out of it. If ever poetic power was unaccompanied by ambition, it was in the case of Crocker. He was contentedness itself. In his placid look and calm expression it shone out unmistakeably, and it found ex­pression in his unpretending address and unadorned language. It was, to his unambitious spirit, a great step in advance when he left the shoemaker's board for the bookseller's counter, being selected for this more congenial post by his friend and patron, the late Mr. William Hayley Mason, a godson of Hayley, and the owner and occupier of the house in which Collins was born (now Mr. Wilmshurst's) in East Street, so that he was brought, as it were, into a literary atmosphere and kindred associations. Here he remained, quiet and contented, and little troubled by visitations of the Muse, until a bit of
Previous Contents Next