Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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158                      "HAWTHORN AND LAVENDER"                  chap.
table, but the first that I ever saw was at Worthing, and Worthing is now the centre of the tomato-growing industry. Miles of glass houses stretch on either side of the town.
Worthing (like Brighton and Bognor) owed its beginning as a health resort to the house of Guelph, the visit of the Princess Amelia in 1799 having added a cachet, previously lacking, to its invigorating character. But, unlike Brighton, neither Worthing nor Bognor has succeeded in becoming quite indis­pensable. Brighton has the advantage not only of being nearer London but also nearer the hills. One must walk for some distance from Worthing before the lonely highland district between Cissbury and Lancing Clump is gained, whereas Brighton is partly built upon the Downs and has her little Dyke Railway to boot. But the visitor to Worthing who, surfeited of sea and parade, makes for the hill country, knows a solitude as profound as anything that Brighton's heights can give him.
Worthing has at least two literary associations. It was there that that most agreeable comedy The Importance of Being Earnest was written : the town even gave its name to the principal character—John Worthing; and it was there that Mr. Henley lived while the lyrics in Hawthorn and Lavender were coming to him. The beautiful dedication to the book is dated "Worthing, July 31, 1901."
Ask me not how they came, These songs of love and death, These dreams of a futile stage, These thumb-nails seen in the street : Ask me not how nor why, But take them for your own, Dear Wife of twenty years, Knowing—O, who so well ?— You it was made the man That made these songs of love, Death, and the trivial rest : So that, your love elsewhere, These songs, or bad or good — How should they ever have been ?
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