The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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WINCHELSEA                          361
moss, ivy, and all the common wild flowers, includ­ing a large patch of garlic, carpet the space under the trees, and a path by the stream leads down to the rocky shore. A short distance east, half-way down the sloping cliffs, reached by a different path, is the Lovers' Seat, where the captain of a revenue cutter is said to have got engaged to a Kentish young lady with a fortune, whose parents, it need hardly be said, wished for a " better " match. From under the shelter of a high and partly overhanging rock, the sand of which is on one level rich in iron, one looks down a slope scrubbily wooded with oak, hawthorn, elder, and other common trees and shrubs to the waves breaking on the rocks below. Seagulls screeching and land birds twittering is a strange combination which constitutes the chief charm of the place. Next to Beachy Head it is the most striking scenery of the Sussex coast, but except for the colour of the rocks it seems more like a bit of Devonshire near Dawlish or Torquay than anything truly characteristic of the county. It inspired a poem from William Wilson, written after he had emigrated to America, of which the following is a verse—
"Hid in thy white bosom, up, up out of sight
(Like a mother that shelters her babe at her breast), A lovers' retreat doth invite to repose,
Surrounded by green nooks where birds love to nest. With many a name the old seat is carv'd over,
And to many a name there's some legend, I ken ; There are spots when once seen that can ne'er be forgot,
Such art thou, in thy solitude—sweet Fairlight Glen!"
The number of names scribbled or cut all over the place is (whatever a poet may think) no real addition to its beauty. In a New York hotel the
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