12 TENNYSON'S SUSSEX HOME chap.
facing Surrey. The poet laid the foundation stone on April 23 (Shakespeare's birthday), 1868: the inscription on the stone running "Prosper thou the work of our hands, O prosper thou our handiwork." Of the site Aubrey de Vere wrote:— " It lifted England's great poet to a height from which he could gaze on a large portion of that English land which he loved so well, see it basking in its most affluent summer beauty, and only bounded by ' the inviolate sea.' Year after year he trod its two stately terraces with men the most noted of their time." Pilgrims from all parts journeyed thither—not too welcome; among them that devout American who had worked his way across the Atlantic in order to recite Maud to its author: a recitation from which, says the present Lord Tennyson, his father "suffered." Tennyson has, I think, no poems upon his Sussex home, but I always imagine that the dedication of The. Death of OEnone and other Poems, in 1894, must belong to Blackdown:—
There on the top of the down,
The wild heather round me and over me June's high blue,
When I look'd at the bracken so bright and the heather so brown,
I thought to myself I would offer this book to you,
This, and my love together,
To you that are seventy-seven,
With a faith as clear as the heights of the June-bkie heaven,
And a fancy as summer-new
As the green of the bracken amid the gloom of the heather.
The most interesting village between Midhurst and the western boundary, due west, is Trotton, three miles distant on the superb road to Petersfield, of which I have spoken above. There is no better road in England. Trotton is quiet and modest, but it has two great claims on lovers of the English drama. In the " Ode to Pity " of one of our Sussex poets we read thus of another : —
But wherefore need I wander wide To old Ilissus' distant side, Deserted streams and mute ?