History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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inhabitants of this town. Fulking Fair, which takes place annually on "Whitsun Tuesday,—its head-quarters being a roadside public house in that village, situated immediately under the hill, and called " The Shepherd and his Dog,"—prior to the opening of the Swiss Gardens, was the resort of a great many Brightonians, who made the Dyke House, en route, their rendezvous.
The Dyke, although nothing more than a precipitous valley, formed by the hand of nature, is ascribed to the Prince of Darkness, in whose honour it has been so-called, and here is the old Sussex legend:—
THE DEVIL'S DYKE. Five hundred years ago or more, Or if you please, in days of yore ; That wicked wight y'clept Old Nick; Renowned for many a wanton trick, With envy, from the downs, beheld The studded Churches of the Weald; (Here Poynings' Cruciform, and there Hurst, Albourne, Bolney, Newtimber, Cuckfield, and more, with towering crest, Quae nunc praescribere longum est; Oft heard the undulating chime Proclaim around 'twas service time, " Can I, with common patience, see These Churches, and not one for me ; Shall I be cheated of my due By such a sanctimonious crew ? " He mutter'd twenty things beside ; And sure that night the foaming tide, Led through a vast and wondrous trench Should give these pious souls a drench ! Adown the West the Steeds of Day Hasted merrily away, And night in solemn pomp came on, Her lamp her star—a cloud her throne The lightsome Moon she was not there, But deck't the other hemisphere.
Now with a fit capacious spade, So large, it was on purpose made; Old Nick began, with much ado, To cut the lofty downs in two:
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