The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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protect the central spire by an ingeniously con­trived pendulum) advised the shortening of the nave by an entire bay and the erection of a classic facade. Fortunately this was not done, the ruined walls of the tower were protected by battlements and two little turrets with spires. In 1899, under Pearson's direction, the tower was rebuilt in the same general Norman and Early English style as the other one, both being extremely low; thus was the Cathedral once more equipped with its full number of four towers.
Many felt the fall of the spire as a terrible personal loss, but no one, it was said, quite so keenly as Charles Crocker, the poet verger, whose sonnet to the Oak Southey declared to be one of the finest ever written, and anyway it is well worth quoting:—
"When, sacred plant, the Druid sage of old, With reverential awe, beheld in thee The abode or emblem of Divinity,
Methinks some vague prophetic vision rolled
Before his wondering eyes, and dimly told Thy future fame—thy glorious destiny. Haply, e'en then, deep musing, he might see,
Within thy trunk revered, that Spirit bold
Which sprang from thence in aftertimes, and stood, Rejoicing in his might, in Ocean's flood,
The guardian genius of Britannia's Isle ;
At whose dread voice admiring nations bow, In duteous homage—tyrants are laid low—
And fierce Oppression's victims learn to smile."
Crocker was a shoemaker by trade, Chichester was his world, Charles Fleet, indeed (Gli?npses of our Ancestors in Sussex), doubts whether he ever slept out of the city during his whole life. He could find pleasure in homely joys and had not a
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