ROUND ABOUT RYE 81
The Marsh—" the won'erful odd-gates place— Romney Marsh "—where the people are all more or less full of whims and superstitions. So secluded is it from the rest of England, that one can well understand how Tom Shoesmith speaks of the world as being divided into Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Romney Marsh. It is now, as in Leland's time, " a marvelous rank ground for fedyng of cat el," but not so well adapted to the comfort of its human inhabitants, because its air —to adopt Lambarde's quaint phraseology—is " bad in winter, worse in summer, and at no time good." This section of the country appears in the delightful story " Dymchurch Flit," and we are told that the Marshmen say that from Time Everlasting Beyond, the Pharisees have favoured the Marsh beyond the rest of Old England.
An old quatrain much quoted about this tract of country states that it is conspicuous for wealth without health, and supports Lambarde's remark that " here anyone shall find good grass underfoot rather than wholesome air above the head " :
" Rye, Romney and Hythe for wealth without health, The Downs for health and poverty, But you shall find both health and wealth From Foreland Head to Knole and Lee."
A sidelight is cast upon the marshman's belief