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‘Sussex’ : A meditation on our instinctive love for the place in which we live.

‘Sussex’, by Rudyard Kipling.

This is just part of a rather longer poem in which Kipling explores the fundamental truth that no mere human can really love everyone and everything equally. That, he says, is why it is both necessary and right that we feel particularly bound to, and responsible for, the place we call home.

GOD gave all men all earth to love,
But since our hearts are small,
Ordained for each one spot should prove
Belovèd 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 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!

‘If’, by Rudyard Kipling.

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Picture: © Janet Richardson, Geograph. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0. View original
Hope Gap at Seaford in East Sussex, with the ‘Seven Sisters’ in the distance.
By Rudyard Kipling

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