Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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190
MR. HENLEY'S POEM
CHAP.
naive means by which Mr. Gould had proved his fitness were revealed. It seemed that Mr. Gould, who had never been to Shoreham before, directed the crier to give notice with his bell that every voter who came to the King's Arms would receive a guinea in which to drink Mr. Gould's good health. This fact being made public by the defeated candidate, Mr. Gould was unseated. At the following election, such was the enduring power of the original guinea, he was elected again.
After the life of the harbour, the chief interest of Shoreham is its river, the Adur, a yellow, sluggish, shallow stream, of great width near the town, which at low tide dwindles into a streamlet trickling through a desert of mud, but at the full has the beauty of a lake. Mr. Swinburne, in the same poem from which I have been quoting, thus describes the river at evening:
Skies fulfilled with the sundown, stilled and splendid, spread as a flower
that spreads, Pave with rarer device and fairer than heaven's the luminous oyster-beds, Grass-embanked, and in square plots ranked, inlaid with gems that the
sundown sheds.
To the Adur belongs also another lyric. It is printed in Hawthorn and Lavender, to which I have already referred, and is one of Mr. Henley's most characteristic and remarkable poems :
In Shoreham River, hurrying down
To the live sea,
By working, marrying, breeding, Shoreham Town,
Breaking the sunset's wistful and solemn dream,
An old, black rotter of a boat
Past service to the labouring, tumbling flote,
Lay stranded in mid-stream ;
With a horrid list, a frightening lapse from the line,
That made me think of legs and a broken spine ;
Soon, all too soon,
Ungainly and forlorn to lie
Full in the eye
Of the cynical, discomfortable moon
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