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LIFE OF FRANCIS FAWKES,
BY MR. CHALMERS.
MR. FAWKES was born in Yorkshire about the year 1791. He was edus cated at Leeds, under the care of the Ret. Mr. Cookson, vicar of that parish : from whence he went to Jesus College, Cambridge, and took his bachelor's degree in 1741, and his master's in 1745.
After being admitted into holy orders, he settled at Bramham in Yorkshire near the elegant seat of that name belonging to Robert Lane, esq. the beautics of which afforded him the first subject for his muse. He published his Bramhain Park in 1745, but without his name. His next publications were the descriptions of May and Winter, from Gawen Douglas; the former in 1752, the latter in 1754: these brought him into considerable notice as a poetical antiquary, and it was hoped that he would have been encouraged to modernise the whole of ihat author's works.
About the year last mentioned, he removed to the curacy of Croydon in Surrey, where he haul an opportunity of courting the notice of archbishop Her. ring, who resided there at that time, and to whom, among other complimentary verses, he addressed an ode on his grace's recovery, which was printed in Dodsley's collection. These attentions, and his general merit as a scholar, induced the archbishop to collate him, in 1755, to the vicarage of Orpington with St. Mary Cray, in Kent. In 1757, he had occasion to lament his patron's death, in a pathetic elegy styled Aurelius, printed with his grace's sermons io 1763, but previously in our author's volume of poems in 1761 ; about the same time he married miss Purrier of Leeds.
In April 1774,, by the late Dr. Plumptre's favour, he exchanged his vicarage for the rectory of Hayes : this, except the office of chaplain to the princess dowager of Wales, was the only ecclesiastical promotion he obtained.
In 1761, he published by subcription a volume of original poems and trans. Jations, by which he got more profit than fame. His subscribers amounted to nearly eight hundred, but no second edition was called for. A few pieces are now added from Mr. Nichols' collection; and from the Poetical Calendar, a periodical selection of fugitive poetry, which he published in conjunction with Mr. Woty, an indifferent poet of that time. In 1767 he published an eclogue, entituled Partridge Shooting, so inferior to his other productions that the omission of it cannot be regretted. He was the editor also of a Family Bible, with notes, in 4to. which is a work of very inconsiderable merit, but to which he probably contributed only his name, a common trick among the retailers of “ Complete family Bibles."
His translations of Anacreon, Sappho, Bion, Moschus and Musæus, appeared in 1760; and his Theocritus, encouraged by another liberal subcription, in 1767. His Apollonius Rhodius, a posthumous publication, completed by the Rev. Mr. Meen of Emanuel College, Cambridge, made its appearance in 1780, when Mr. Fawkes's widow was enabled, by the kindness of the editor, to avail herself of the subscriptions, contributed as usual very liberally. Mr. Fawkes died August 26, 1777.
These scanty materials are taken chiefly from Mr. Nichols's Life of Bowyer, and little can now be added to them. Mr. Fawkes was a man of a social dis. position, with much of the imprudence which adheres to it: although a pro. found classical scholar, and accounted an excellent translator, he was un. able to publish any of his works without the previous aid of a subscription ; and his Bible was a paultry job, which necessity only could have induced him to undertake. With all his failings, however, it appears that he was held in esteem by many distinguished contemporaries, particularly by Drs. Pearce, Jortin, Johnson, Warton, Plumptre and Askew, who contributed critical assistance to his translation of Theocritus.
As an original poet, much cannot be said in his favour : his powers were confined to occasional slight and encomiastic verses, such as may be produced with. out great effort, and are supposed to answer every purpose when they have pleased those to whom they were addressed. The Epithalamic ode may perhaps rank higher, if we could forget an obvious endeavour to imitate Dryden and Pope. In the elegy on the death of Dobbin, and one or two other pieces, there is a consi. derable portion of humour, which is a more legitimate proof of genius than one species of poets are disposed to allow. His principal defects are want of judgment and taste; these, however, are less discoverable in his translations ; and it was probably a consciousness of limitted powers which inclined him so much to translation. In this he every where displays a critical knowledge of his author, while his versification is smooth and elegant, and his expression remarkably clear. He was once esteemed the best translator since the days of Pope; a praise which, if now disallowed, it is much that it could in his own time have been bestowed with justice.
As careless through those groves I took my way,
Where Brambam gives new beauty to the day,' TO ROBERT LANE, ESQ.
(What time Aurora, rising from the main, Quis caneret nymphas ? quis humum foren- With rosy lustre spangled o'er the plain ;) tibus berbis
The sylvan scenes a secret joy inspir'd, Spargeret ? aut viridi fontes induceret umbrâ ? And with soft rapture all my bosom fird;
VIRG. When, lo! my eyes a lovely nymph survey'd,
With modest step advancing through the glade:
Her bloom divine, and sweet attractive grace,
Reveal'd a bosom wbite as 'Alpine snow;
A flowery wreath around her neck she wore, I SHOULD think a preface to this volume abso- And in her hand a branch of ulive bores : Jutely unnecessary, except as it furuishes me Adown her shoulders fell her auburn hair, with an opportunity of returning my thanks That loosely wanton'd with the buxom air, to those gentlemen who have favoured me with The buxom air ambrosial odours shed, their names; and therefore to their candour And sweets immortal breath'd around her head". and indulgence I beg leave to inscribe the My eager eyes o'er all her beauties ran, following sheets.
When thus the guardian of the woods began.
“ Thrice happy! whom the fates propitious Orpington, May 1, 1761.
give F. FAWKES. Secure in these sequester'd groves to live, [court,
Where Health, fair goddess, keeps her blooming
And all the nymphs, and all the graces sport : Tue themes of war to bolder bards belong, How beautifully chang'd the scene appears Calm scenes of peace invite my humble song.
Within the compass of a thousand years! Lane, whom kind Heav'n has with mild man
Then fierce Bellona drench'd these plains in ners grac'd,
blood, And bless'd with true hereditary taste,
Then virtue wander'd in the lonely woodYour blooming virtues these light lays demand, But hear! while I mysterious truths disclose, Wrote in the gardens which your grandsire Whose dire remembrance wakens all my woes. plan'd.
In ancient days when Alfreds, sacred name! When vernal breezes had the glebe unbound, (Alfred the first in virtue as in fame) And universal verdure cloth'd the ground, Profusely wild the flowers began to spring,
3 Paciferæque manu ramum prætendit olivæ. The trees to blossom, and the birds to sing :
Virg. Æn. viji. 116.
• Ambrosiæque comæ divinuni vertice odorem • A fine seat in Yorkshire, belonging to George Spiravere.
Virg. Æn. 1.403. Fox-Lane, esq.
s Alfred. This most accomplished prince be. Robert, lord Bingley,
gan his reign A.D. 872, at a time when the Danes
This barbarous isle with liberal arts refin'd, Borne in mock triumph from the fatal field;
To war on Towton's 8 memorable field.
I see the ranks embattled on the plain, And country swains were wont to call me fair. Torrents of blood, and mountains of the slain; Not hence far distant I secur'd my cliarms,
See kindred hosts with rival rage contend, Till rous'd from danger by the din of arins Deaf to the names of father, and of friend; To a lone cave, with nymphs a chosen few, The brother by a brother's sword expires, Secret I fled, conceal'd from human view; And sons are slain by unrelenting sires. Secret and safe, till (storm'd the country round) The brook, that flow'd a scanty stream before, Our close retreat the fierce barbarians found. Sweil'd to a river red with human gore: What could we do the furious foe to shun?- Verbeia 9 then in wild amazement stood, To die seem'd better than to be undone.
To see her silver urn distain'd with blood; Diana, huntress of the woodland shades, Verbeja, erst her waters wont to lead Chaste guardian of the purity of inaids,
In peaceful murmurs through the flow'ry mead, With silver bows supplied the virgin train, To purge her currents from the crimson stain, And manly courage to repel the Dane.
Swift pour'd her waves to mingle with the main. But what, alas! arails the manly heart,
Oft, as with sbining share lie ploughs the field's, When female force emits the feeble dart ? The swain astonish'd finds the massy shield, Though thrice three victims to our vengeance
On whose broad boss, sad source of various woes, fell,
He views engrav'd the long-disp'ited rose. Though my keen shafts dispatch'd their chief to Huge human bones the fruitful furrows hide Hell;
Of once-fam'd herves that in battle died. Too soon our fate with anguish we deplor'd, Now all dire feuds and curst contentions o'er, Doom'd to the slaughter of the conquering They sleep in peace, and kindle wars no more: sword :
[proves; The friend, the fvė, the noble and the slave, But hapry they whose sufferings Heav'n ap- Rest undistinguish'd in one common grave. Heav'n will reward that virtuie which it loves. “ But fet us now, since genialspring invites, The queen who makes bright chastity ber care, And lav sh nature varies her delights, Thus to almighty Jove preferr'ıl her prayer ; Partake the general joy, and sweetly stray, That we for ever in these shades might rove, Where the birds warble, and the waters play; Nymphs of the wood, and guardians of the grove. sheriff of Yorkshire, and the posse comitatus of Well I remember, as I trembling lay, Pale, breathless, cold, espiring on the clay,
the county, and slain in the battle. How by degrees my mortal frame refin'd,
The earl Northumberland and the lord BarNor left one carthly particle behind ;
dolph, In every nerve à pleasing change began, Witb a great pow'r of English and of Scots, And through my veins the streams immortal Are by the sh’riff of Yorkshire overthrown.
Shakespeare's Hen. IV. Soft on my mind ecstatic visions stole,
9 The arms of Percy are, Or, a tion rampant And beav'n-felt raptures dawn'd upon my soul. É'er since I gaard the groves, the woods, the
8 A neighbouring village, near which, on the plain,
29th day of March (being Palm Suoday) A. D. Chief Dryad of the tutelary train;
1461, was fought a most remarkable and bloody Stipremely bless'd where all conspires to please; battle between the houses of York and Lancaster : War, civil war, alone disturbs my ease.
the number of the Yorkists, headed by Edward, How did my soul recoil with secret dread,
earl of March, amounted to about 40,600 men, When bold Northumberland his army led,
the Lancastrians were 60,000. This battle prova Ill-fated Britons, a hom he brought from far,
ed decisive in favour of the house of York; and in Against bis sovereign waging horrid war!
consequence of it, Edward was, in June 1461, I saw the comtat on the neighbouring plain,
crowned king of England, &c. There were killed A kmght victorious, and old Percy slain ;
in this engagement 56,776 men. The rivnlet I saw his visage, that with auguish frown's,
Cock, adjoining to the field of battle, and the Arid seem'd in raġe to toh its eyes around.
river Wharfe, were for several days, in a rery
extraordinary mámer, discoloured with the after several invasions, had entirely over-run blood of the slain. For a circumstantial account the kingdom, whom hy bis extraordinary valour of this battle, see Drake's Eboracum. and conduct he dispossessed of it. Circa Eglerti 9 Verbeia was the Ronan name for the river tempora, anno Christi 800, nostra littora primùm Wharfe; see an ancient joscription quoted by in festarunt Dani. Postea mare cælo miscentes, Camden. multos annos per Angliam grassati, urbibus excišis,
finibus illis templis succensis, & agris vastalis, omnia barbara Agricola, incurvo terram molitus aratro, immanilate egerunt, verterunt, rapuerunt.
Exesa inveniet scabrâ rubigine pila : 6 In the year 1408, the old earl of Northum- Aut gravibus rastris galeas pulsabit ipanes, berland and his arnıy was overthrown on Bram. Grandiaque effussis mirabitur ossa sepulcris. ham-Moor by sir Thomas Rooksby, then high.
Virg. Geor, 1.