And viewed the glories of the bay. We moderns come in jaded mood To seek a careless holiday.
For one blest moon we'll cat the bridge That links us to this complex life, And lying on the shingle ridge Enjoy the old primeval strife.
The white-plumed waves still charge the shore, —Their fighting line sways to and fro,— The stream still wrestles with the bore, Ev'n as three thousand years ago.
Above, the cliff is thatched with grass; Below, with flints the strand is floored; We watch the vessels as they pass.
And wonder who may be aboard.
Just so, beside his village fire, In far-off prehistoric times, Once sat perhaps some skin-clad sire Precisely where I weave these rhymes.
Here, as the twilight grew to dark And fresher blew the landward breeze, He marked the first Sidonian bark That ever sailed the narrow seas.
Here, too, came Pytheas the bold
In bireme of Massilian build ;
And—doubtless—here restocked her bold, And from our stream her beakers filled.
Here, when upon its outward way
The Thanet fleet, tin-laden, passed, How many a wreck enriched the bay
With shining cargo shoreward cast I
Here landed Woden's children, filled With Northern vigour, swift to strike And seize the lands the Regni tilled As tithing of a Saxon Ric; From them our Sussex takes her name, And Cuckmere vale and Seaford town; For since strong-handed .Ella came, Saxon hath held the dale and down.
'Twere long to trace the saga's thread,
For many a theme is yet untried,— How Vikings slipped within the Head And harried all the countryside ; How the grim Norman's transports showed Against the sea-line, faint and small; And how our lads to Senlac rode To strike for Harold and to—fall; How rolled the Grand Armada by, —Drake's bulldogs yapping at its heels,— In that amazing hue and cry Which spared but fifty battered keels ; And how sour William, on his way To strike the Stewart despot down, Sailed past our port towards Torbay, - And fixed our Rights, and gained a crown ; How many a cargo here was run On secret signal timely set ; How fast and furious waxed the fun When Smuggler and Preventive met.
* * * * * * But all too soon the dream is o'er ; I rouse, and mark 'neath shelt'ring hand Three tents above the quiet shore, And Nancy sporting on the sand.
C. E. SNOWDEN.