Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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264                 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
ecclesiastical patronage fell to the poet (may we say " from the rich man's table ? ") in the very unpoetical shape of the office of sexton to Chichester Cathedral, afterwards sup­plemented by that of Bishop's verger. In this office he reached, to use Massinger's language, " the ne plus ulira of his proudest hopes." He now passed the greater portion of his time in the Cathedral, which he loved with a love that only those who have been born under the shadow of a Cathedral can understand. His latest literary work was a descriptive hand-book of it, written in as prosaic and matter-of-fact a style as though by the veriest Penny-a-liner. In fact, Crocker's prose style was singularly bald and trite. His fancy seemed to desert him when he ceased to rhyme. He was, indeed, in everything, except his love of poetry, as marked a contrast to Collins as one poet could be to another: happy, contented, seeking his joys in domestic life, and finding delight in that building amidst which Collins wandered and raved in agony of spirit.
One great misfortune Crocker was doomed to, arising out of his love and pride for the chief ornament of his native city, and that was in the fall of the spire and tower of his much-loved Cathedral. This occurred on February 21st, 1861, and Crocker's death followed in the same year, hastened, his fellow-townsmen believed, by the shock it gave him. He was followed to the grave by Dean Hook, and by many of the clergy, magistrates, and principal citizens of his native place; and never did the grave close over a man with any pretensions to poetic genius — and most certainly Charles Crocker had such—his sonnet to the British Oak attests it— whose life disproved more completely the notion that the gift of poetry is fraught with danger to him or her on whom it is bestowed.
In Crocker we are brought down to our own times. We knew him well, and, like all who knew him, loved and respected him. He represents a class of men by no means uncommon in this country, who, born in humble life and
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