The Five Nations/Sussex

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God gave all men all earth to love,
 But since out hearts are small,
Ordained for each one spot should prove
 Beloved over all;
That as He watched Creation's birth,
 So we, in godlike mood,
May of our love create our earth
 And see that it is good.

So one shall Baltic pines content,
 As one some Surrey glade,
Or one the palm-grove's droned lament
 Before Levuka's trade.
Each to his choice, and I rejoice
 The lot has fallen to me
In a fair ground—in a fair ground—
 Yea, Sussex by the sea!

No tender-hearted garden crowns,
 No bosomed woods adorn
Our blunt, bow-headed, whale-backed Downs,
 But gnarled and writhen thorn—
Bare slopes where chasing shadows skim,
 And through the gaps revealed
Belt upon belt, the wooded, dim
 Blue goodness of the Weald.

Clean of officious fence or hedge,
 Half-wild and wholly tame,
The wise turf cloaks the white cliff edge
 As when the Romans came.
What sign of those that fought and died
 At shift of sword and sword?
The barrow and the camp abide,
 The sunlight and the sward.

Here leaps ashore the full Sou'west
 All heavy-winged with brine,
Here lies above the folded crest
 The Channel's leaden line;
And here the sea-fogs lap and cling,
 And here, each warning each,
The sheep-bells and the ship-bells ring
 Along the hidden beach.

We have no waters to delight
 Our broad and brookless vales—
Only the dewpond on the height
 Unfed, that never fails,
Whereby no tattered herbage tells
 Which way the season flies—
Only our close-bit thyme that smells
 Like dawn in Paradise.

Here through the strong unhampered days
 The tinkling silence thrills;
Or little, lost, Down churches praise
 The Lord who made the hills:
But here the Old Gods guard their round,
 And, in her secret heart,
The heathen kingdom Wilfrid found
 Dreams, as she dwells, apart.

Though all the rest were all my share,
 With equal soul I'd see
Her nine-and-thirty sisters fair,
 Yet none more fair than she.
Choose ye your need from Thames to Tweed,
 And I will choose instead
Such lands as lie 'twixt Rake and Rye,
 Black Down and Beachy Head.

I will go out against the sun
 Where the rolled scarp retires,
And the Long Man of Wilmington
 Looks naked toward the shires;
And east till doubling Rother crawls
 To find the fickle tide,
By dry and sea-forgotten walls,
 Our ports of stranded pride.

I will go north about the shaws
 And the deep ghylls that breed
Huge oaks and old, the which we hold
 No more than "Sussex weed";
Or south where windy Piddinghoe's
 Begilded dolphin veers,
And black beside wide-bankèd Ouse
 Lie down our Sussex steers.

So to the land our hearts we give
 Till the sure magic strike,
And Memory, Use, and.Love make live
 Us and our fields alike—
That deeper than our speech and thought,
 Beyond our reason's sway,
Clay of the pit whence we were wrought
 Yearns to its fellow-clay.

God gives all men all earth to love,
 But since man's heart is small,
Ordains for each one spot shall prove
 Beloved over all.
Each to his choice, and I rejoice
 The lot has fallen to me
In a fair ground—in a fair ground—
 Yea, Sussex by the sea!