Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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xn                                   "THE SUSSEX MUSE''                                   117
General of the day, Lord Chichester :—" I return the pamphlet declaration. The writer of the first is son of Mr. Shelley, member for the Rape of Bramber, and is by all accounts a most extraordinary man. I hear he has married a servant, or some person of very low birth ; he has been in Ireland for some time, and I heard of his speaking at the Catholic Convention. Miss Hitchener, of Hurstpierpoint, keeps a School there, and is well spoken of; her Father keeps a Publick House in the Neighbourhood, he was originally a Smuggler and changed his name from Yorke to Hitchener before he took the Public House. I shall have a watch upon the daughter and discover whether there is any Connection between her and Shelley."
There Shelley's connection with Sussex may be said to end. Yet a poet, whether he will or no, is shaped by his early sur­roundings. In some verses by Mr. C. W. Dalmon called "The Sussex Muse," I find the influence of Shelley's surroundings on his mind happily recorded :—
" When Shelley's soul was carried through the air Toward the manor house where he was born,
I danced along the avenue at Denne, And praised the grace of Heaven, and the morn
Which numbered with the sons of Sussex men A genius so rare ! So high an honour and so dear a birth,
That, though the Horsham folk may little care
To laud the favour of his birthplace there, My name is bless'd for it throughout the earth.
I taught the child to love, and dream, and sing Of witch, hobgoblin, folk and flower lore ;
And often led him by the hand away Into St. Leonard's Forest, where of yore
The hermit fought the dragon—to this day, The children, ev'ry Spring, Find lilies of the valley blowing where
The fights took place. Alas ! they quickly drove
My darling from my bosom and my love, And snatched my crown of laurel from his hair.
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