The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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BOGNOR                                 89
employed in the praise of his friend. Before Mr. Hayley inscribed with my name his epistles on history, I was not acquainted with that amiable man and elegant poet. He afterwards thanked me in verse for my second and third volumes ; and in the summer of 1781 the Roman Eagle (a proud title) accepted the invitation of the English Sparrow, who chirped in the groves of Eartham, near Chichester."
Hayley in 1780 had addressed to Gibbon an essay on history in sufficiently indifferent verse—
"Yet while Polemics, in fierce league combin'd With savage discord vex thy feeling mind, And rashly stain Religion's just defence By gross detraction and perverted sense, Thy wounded ear may haply not refuse The soothing accents of an humbler Muse."
Perhaps Gibbon was flattered, perhaps he was in a peculiarly generous frame of mind when on July 3, 1782, he wrote of Hayley: " He rises with his subject, and since Pope's death I am satisfied that England has not seen so happy a mixture of strong sense and flowing numbers." Hayley had acquired a seaside house at Felpham, to which he made frequent trips, and eventually when money difficulties made necessary the sale of the estate he made it his home. Eartham found a purchaser in William Huskisson, who was killed by being run over at the opening of the Manchester and Liver­pool Railway in September, 1830; he is commemo­rated by a very bad window and a Roman statue of white marble at the west end of the outer north aisle in Chichester Cathedral. The toga is cer­tainly more adapted to statuary than our own frock coats and starched collars, which however
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