Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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Sussex Poets.                                 265
with very unpoetical surroundings, possess a natural taste for literature and pursue it with an ardour that amazes men of higher culture and to whom there are other roads of distinction open. The secret of this devotion lies, perhaps, in the fact that letters are a Republic, and that the veriest drudge or outcast of society—a slave like Epictetus, a tradesman like Defoe, a tinker like Bunyan—can win the highest literary honours and inscribe his name amongst the Immortals. The lists are open to all—the weapons are easily caught up—it is a melee in which king, noble, squire, yeoman, peasant, all fight with little or no advantage of rank or position; and if the prizes come "tardy off," they are, in the end, most equitably distributed by that ultimate Court of Appeal, the voice of Fame. The names of many Sussex competitors in this " gentle passage of Arms," which, like that of Ashby-de-la-Zouche, has its list of killed and wounded, might be added to the instances we have given, male and female. The columns of the Brighton Herald have for the last 70 years borne weekly testimony to the large amount of poetical talent that floats about the world, and, like other "airy nothings," seeks to give itself "a local habitation and a name." We have already tried to do a little justice to three lesser Sussex poets in Clio Rickman, a native of Lewes; Charles Verral, of Seaford; and George Frederick Richardson, of Brighton.
With this latter we might associate two other Brightonians, both of whom gave promise of distinction, but passed away and " writ their names in water." The ties of friendship, in the one case, and of near relationship in the other, must be our excuse if we are guilty of partiality in singling out the names of Charles Stanhope Busby and William Henry Fleet as having given token in early life of more than average literary, and especially poetical, ability. The first was the author of the papers which, under the title of " Random Thoughts," appeared weekly in the Brighton Herald from January 12th, 1833, to December 27th, 1834, and which in­cluded not only Essays, Criticisms, and Sketches of Character,
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