« ForrigeFortsæt »
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 Bramhain Park in 1745, but without his name. His next publications were the descrip. tions 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 that 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 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 dcath, 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.
I. 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 priocess dowager of Wales, was the only ecclesiastical promotion he obtained.
In 1761, he published by subcription a volume of original poems and traps. 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 subscriptious, 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 con. fined 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. Ia the elegy on the death of Dobbin, and one or two other pieces, there is a considerable portion of humour, which is a more legitimate proof of genius thau 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 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 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,
And with soft rapture all my bosom tird;
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 olive borey : lutely 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 favoured me with The buxom air ambrosial odours shed, their names; and therefore to their candour And sweets immortal breath'd around her beadh. 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 blouming
And allthe nymphs, and all the graces sport : The 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 bas with mild man
Then fierce Bellona dreuch'd these plains ju pers grac'd,
blood, And bless'd with true hereditary taste,
Then virtue wader'd 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 flowers began to spring, 3 Paciferæque manu ramum prætendit olivr. The trees to blossom, and the birds to sing :
Virg. Æn. viji. 116.
• Ambrosiæque comx divinum 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, Borne in mock triumph from the fatal field;
I see the ranks embattled on the plain,
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 flow'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 engrav'd the long-disputed rose. Though my keen shafts dispatch'd their chief to Huge human bones the fruitful furrows hide
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 ears no more: sword :
[proves; | The friend, the fve, the noble and the slave, Bat happy they whose sufferings Heav'n ap- Rest indistinguish'd in one common grave. Heav'n will reward that virtue which it loves. “But let us now, since genial spring invites, The queen who makes bright chastity her care, And lavish nature varies her delights, Thus to almighty Jove preferr'd ber 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. sberiff of Yorkshire, and the posse comitatus of Well I remember, as I trembling lay, J'ale, breathless, coid, 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 Bar. Nor 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 innmortal | Are by the sh’riff of Yorksh're overthrown.
Shakespeare's Hen. IV. Soft on my mind ecstatic visions stole,
The arms of Percy are, Or, a lion rampant And heav'n-felt raptures dawn'd upon my soul. E'er since I guard the groves, the woods, the
8 A neighbouring village, near 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 bouses of York and Lancaster: War, civil war, alone disturbs my ease.
the number of the Yorkists, headed lip Edward, How did my soul recoil with secret dread,
earl of March, amounted to about 40,600 men, H'hen bold Northumberland "liis army led,
the Lancastrians were 60.000. This battle provBil-fated Britons, u hom he brought from far,
ed decisive in favour of the house of York; and in Against his sovereign waging horrid war!
consequence of it, Edward was, in June 1461, I saw the comlat on the neigbbuuring 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 sempiora, anno Christi 800, nostra littora primùm Wharfe; see an ancient inscription quoted by in festarunt Dani. Postea mare calo miscentes, Camden. multos annos per Angliam g'assati, urbibus excisis,
finibus illis templis succensis, & egris vastalis, omnia barbará 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 mirabitur ossa sepulcris. ham-Moor by sir Thomas Rooksby, then high.
Virg. Geor, I.
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-painied The warbling birds, the gales that gently blow,
plains; May tune thy reed, and teach the verse to flow." At Bramham thus with ravish'd eyes we see
Thus spoke the nymph with soft alluring grace, How order strives with sweet variety : And led me round 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 nearlow 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 dowiss, or level lawns expanded wide, What glowing transports all my breast invade! The groves, the garden, and the wood divide; Down channel'd sione collected currents flow, Where walks by long-extended walks are crost, And steal obliquely through the vale below; And alleys in meandering alleys lost;
The feather'd 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 Saxou fapes, that in fair order rise, They cbarin my soul, and make it Heav'n to With elegant simplicity surprise.
hear. Where'er the nymph directs my ravish'd sight, O! what descriptive eloquence can tell Newsenes appear that give a new delight: The woods, and winding walks of Boscobell "'? Here spiry firs extend their lengthen'd ranks, The various vistas, and the grassy glades, There violets blossomn on the sunny banks ; The bowery coverts in sequester'd shades? Here horp-beam hedres regularly grow,
Or where the wan Pering eye with pleasure secs There bawthorns whitea, 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 pompous scenes the sight? Curl'd round tall tufled trees the woodbine
Lo! what high mounds iipmense divide the weaves
[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 fonts on every gale. Where the firm legions march'd in dread array, From rusty-fringed founts 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: Orunder pendent shades of oziers flow,
Here oft the curious coins and urns explore, Dispensing moisture to the plants below:
Which future Meads and Peinbrokes shall adores Now, hid 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 Contentment With many an errour slowly-lingering stray,
dwell; And murmuring in their course reluctant roll
More pleasing far beside yon aged oaks, away ;
Grotesque and wild, the cottage chimney smokes Thence intolucid lakes profusely fall
Pair to the view old Ebor's temple stands, Foaming, or form the beautiful canal,
The work of ages, rais'd by holy hands; Susmuth, so level, that it well might pass How firm the venerable pile appears! For Cyiberea's face-reflecting glass,
Reverend with age, but not iinpair'd by years. (Save when mild zephyrs o'er the surface stray, O'could I build the Heav'n-directed rhyme, Curl the light waves, and on iis bosom play) Strong as thy fabric, as thy tow'rs sublime, Yet to the ixottom so distinctiy clear,
Then would the Muse on bolder pinions rise, The eye might nuinber every pebble there; And make thy turrets emulate the skies. And every tish that quickly-glancing glides, Such are the scenes where woodland nymphs Sports in the stream, and shosts his silver sides.
resort, If tbrough the glades I turn my rapiur'd eyes, And such the gardens where the Graces sport: What various views,what lovely landscapes rise ? Would fate this verse to future times prolouge Here a once-hospitable mansion stands
These scenes shouk! bloom for ever in any song. Midst fruitful pains, 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 leit Parnassus for a nobler seat. A tower dismantled, or a lofty spire,
Well may these groves in elegance excel, Or farin imbosom'd in some aged wood,
When Lane completes what Bingley plann'd so Or lowing herds that crop the flowery food;
weil; Through these, irriguous vales, and lawns appear, Bids crystal currents sweetly-murmuring flow, And fleecy flocks, and nimble-footed deer:
Fair temples rise, and future navies grow. Sun-glittering villas, and bright streams are seen, Here D-n might an idie bour employ, Gay meads, rough rocks, hioar 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;
elegant taste, and separated from the gardens Quick as the fair the nimble needle plies,
by the park, Cots, churches, towers, or villages arise ;