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LIFE OF FRANCIS FAWKES,
BY MR. CHALMERS.
MR. FAWKES was born in Yorkshire about the year 1721. He was educated at Leeds, under the care of the Rev. 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 beauties of which afforded him the first subject for his muse. He published his Bramham 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 had an opportunity of courting the notice of archbishop Her. ring, who resided there at that time, and to whom, among other complimentary Ferses, 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 in 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 cight 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 profound 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 con. fined to occasional slight and encomiastic verses, such as may be produced with. out grcat 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 pocts 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 wherè displays a critical knowledge of his author, while his versification is smooth and elegant, and his expression re.
barkably 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 grores I took my way
Where Bramham gives new beauty to the day;' TO ROBERT LANE, ESQ.
(What time Aurora, rising from the main, Quis caneret nymphas ? quis humum floren- With rusy 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 bosumn lird;
Virg. When, lo! my eyes a lovely nymph surveyid,
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 bianch of olive bores : Jately unnecessary, except as it furnishes 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 faroured me with The buxom air ambrosial odours shed, their names ; and therefore to their candour And sweets iinniortal breath'd around her beadh. and indulgence I beg leave to inscribe the My eager eyes o'er all her beautjes 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 blouming
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 Hear'n bas with mild man
Then tierce Bellona dreuch'd these plains ju ners grac'd,
blood, And bless'd with true hereditary taste,
Then virtue wa derd in the lonely woodYour blooming virtues these light lays demand, But hear! while I mysterious truths disclose, Wrole in the gardens which your grandsire ? Whose dire remembrance wakens all my woes. plan'i.
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 Aowers began to spring, 3 Paciferæque manu ramum prætendit olivr. The trees to blossom, and the birds to sing :
Virg. Æn. viii. 116.
• Ambrosiæque comæ divinun vertice odorem A fine seat in Yorkshire, belonging to George Spiravere.
Virg. Æn. 1. 405.
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, Porne in mock triumph from the fatal field; Taught wholesome laws, and moral z'd mankind; The azure 7 lion on the golden shield
The ruthless Danes o'er all the county ran, Wav'd vainly rampant. But what horrors chill'd They levelld cities, and they murder'd man: My beaving heart, and :hrough my bosom thrille, Nor fields, nor fanes, nor sex, nor age, were free
When diretul discord Britain's sons cornpellid From fire and sword, from lust and cruelty. To war on Towton's 8 memorable field. To tend my father's flock was then my care,
I see the ranks embattled on the plain, And country swains were woni to call me fair. Torrents of blood, and mountains of the slain; Not hence far distant I secur'd my charins,
See kindred bosts with rival rage contend, Till s'd from danger by the din of arms 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 Aed, 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. Swell’d to a river red with human gore: What could we do the furious foe to shun? - Verbeia e 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,
Verbeia, erst her waters wont to lead Chaste guardian of the purity of inaids,
In peaceful murmurs through the fiow'ry mead, With silver bows supplied the virgin train, To purge ber 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 ! avails the manly heart,
Oft, as with shining 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 engrar'd the long-disputed rose. Though my keen shafts dispatch'd their chief to Huge human bones the fruitful furrows hide Hell;
Of once-fam'd heroes 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 foe, the noble and the slave, Bat happy they whose sufferings Heav'v ap- Rest indistinguish'd in one common grave. Heav'n will reward that virtue which it loves. “But let us now, since genialspring invites, The queen who makes bright chastity her care, And lavish nature varies ber delights, Thus to almighty Jove preferr'd 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, expiring 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 earthly particle behind ;
dolph, In every nerve a pleasing change began, With a great pow'r of English and of Scots, And through my veins the streams immortal | Are by the sh’riff of Yorksh're overthrown.
Shakespeare's Ken. IV. Soft on my mind ecstatic visions stole,
1 The arms of Percy are, Or, a lion rampant And beav'n-felt raptures dawn'd upon my soul. E'er since I guard the groves, the woods, the
8 A neighbouring village, rear which, on the plain,
29th day of March (being Palm Sunday) A. D. Chief Drvad of the tutelary train;
1461, was fought a most remarkable and bloody Supremely 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 40.000 men, When bold Northumberland “Lis army led,
the Lancastrians were 60,000. This battle provBil-fated Pritons, whom 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 comlat on the neighbuuring plain,
crowned king of England, &c. There were killed A knight victorious, and old Percy slain;
in this engagement 36,776 men. The rivulet I saw his visage, that with auguish frown’d,
Cock, adjoining to the field of battle, and the And seem'd in rage to roll its eyes around. river Wharfe, were for several days, in a very
extraordinary manner, discoloured with the after sereral invasions, had entirely over-run blood of the slain. For a circumstantial account the kingdom, whom by 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 inscription quoted by in festarunt Dani. Postea mare calo miscentes, Camden. mulios annos per Angliam g'assati, urbibus excisis,
finibus illis complis succensis, & egris vastalis, omnia barbara Agricola, incurvo terram melitus aratro, immanitate egerunt, verterunt, rapuerunt.
Exesa inveniet scabrá rubigine pila : 6 In the year 1408, the old earl of Northum- Aut gravibus rastris galeas pulsabit inanes, berland and his ardy was overthrown on Bram. Grandiaque effussis mirabilur ossa sepulcris. ham-Moor by sir Thomas Rooksby, then high.
Virg. Geor. l.
Where Flora decks the dewy dale with flowers, A varied group of flocks, and herds, and swains, And beeches twine their branches into bowers, Groves, fountains, fields, and daisy-paiuied The warbling birds, the gales that gently blow,
plains; May tune thy reed, and teach the verse to slow." At Bramban thus with ravish'd eyes we see
Thus spoke the nympa with soft alluring grace, How order strives with sweet variety : And led me mund the flow'r-embroider'd place; Nature, kind goddess, joins the aid of art Through every variegated rural scene
To plan, to form, and finish every part. Of shady forest, and of ineaslow green,
But now beneath the beechen shade reclin'd, Of winding valleys, and of rising hills,
Whose tall top trembling dances in the wind, Of mossy fountains and translucent rills; Fast by the falling of a hoarse cascade, Where downs, or level lawns expanded wide, What glowing transports all my breast invade! The groves, the garden, and the wood divile; Down channel'd s one collected currents flow, Where walks by long-extended walks are crust, And steal obliquely through the vale below; Andalleys in meandering alleys lost;
The feather's songsters on the trees above The dubious traces intricately run,
Attune their voices to the notes of love, And end erroneous where they first begun : Notes so melodiously distinct and clear, Where Saxon fanes, that in fair order rise, They charın my soul, and make it Heav'n to With elegant simplicity surprise.
hear. Where'er the nymph directs iny ravish'd sight, O! what descriptive eloquence can tell News enes appear that give a new delight : The woods, an i winding walks of Boscobell "? Here spiry firs extend their lengthen'd ranks, The various vistas, and the grassy glades, There violets blossom on the sunny bauks ; The bowery coverts in sequester'd shades ? Here horn-beam hed res regularly grow,
Or where the wan Pering eye with pleasure secs There hawthorns white, and wild roses blow,
A spacious amphitheatre of trees? Luxuriant Flora paints the purple plain,
Or where the differing avenues unite, And in the gardens waves the golden grain; Conducting to more pompJus scenes the sight? Curl'd round tall tufted trees the woodbine Lo! what high mounds inmense divide the
shore! In fond embrace its tendrils with the leaves :
Stretch'd from the southern to the northern Sweet-scented shrubs a rich perfume exhale, These are but relics of the Roman way, And health ambrosial Monts ou every gale. Where the firm legions march'd in dread array, From rushy-fringed foun's rise sparkling rills Where rode the hero in his iron car, That glide in mazy windings down the hills: And big with vengeance roll'd the mighty war: Or under pendent shares of oziers flow,
Here oft the curious coins and urns explore, Dispensing moisture to the plants below:
Which future Meads and Pembrokes shall adores Now, bid beneath the flowery turf, they pass To me more pleasing far yon tranquil dell, Ingulph'd, now sport along the velvet grass, Where Labour, Health, and sweet Contentinent With many an erronr slowly-lingering stray,
dwell; And murmuring in their course reluctant roll
More pleasing far beside yon aged oaks, away ;
Grotesque and will, the cottage chimney smokes Thence intolucid lakes profusely fall
Pair to the view old Ebor's temple stands,
The work of ages, rais'd by holy hands;
Reverend with age, but not impair'd by years. (Save when mild zephyrs o'er the surface stray, o' could I build the Hear'n-directed rhyme, Curl the light waves, and on iis bosom play) Strong as thy fabric, as thy tow'rs sublime, Ver to the bottom so distinctly clear,
Then would the Muse on bulder pipions rise, The eye might ouinber every pebble there; And make tliy turrets emulate the skies. And every tish that quickly-glancing glides, Such are the scenes where woodland nymphs Sports in the stream, and shows his silver sides.
resort, If through the glades I turn my rapiur'd eyes, And such the gardens where the Graces sport: Wbat various views,what lorely landscapes rise ? Would fate this verse to future times prolonge Here a once-hospitable mansion stands
These scenes shoul! bloom for ever in iny song. 'Midst fruitful plains, and cultivated lands; Not Tempe's plains so beautiful appear, There russet heaths, with fields of corn between, Nor flow Castalia's sacred springs so clear; And peaceful cots, and hamlets intervene : The Muses, had they known this lov'd retreat, These far-stretch'd views direct me to admire
Had lett Parnassus for a nobler seat. A tower dismantled, or a lofty spire,
Well may these groves in elegance excel, Or farın imbosom'd in some aged wood,
When Lane completes what Bingley plaun'd so Or lowing herds that crop the flowery food;
weil ; Through these, irriguous vales, and lawis appear, Bids crystal currents sweetly-murmuring Now, And fleecy flocks, and pimble-footed deer:
Fair temples rise, and future navies grow. Sun-glittering villas, and bright streams are seen, Here Denmight an idie bour employ, Gay meads, rough rocks, hoar hills, and forests and thuse diversions, which he loves, enjoy ;
green: As when Belinda works, with art divine,
" Boscobell. A beautiful wood, disposed in an In the rich screen some curious, gay design; Quick as the fair the nimble needle plies,
elegant taste, and separated froin the gardens Cots, churches, towers, or villages arise ;
by the park.