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BORN ABOUT 1721.-DIED 1777.
« Fawkes, to thy classic fame new tropkies rise,
And various tongues applaud thy vent'rous song ;
To thee the strains of gratitude belong,
See Apollonius' venerable shade
To thee commits his argonautic lyre,
To sing how Jason caught th' heroic fire,
Hail, Apollonius of a later day !
Hail, blithe Anacreov, Bion, Muschus hail!
And smooth'd thy path through Cray's sequester'd tale :
(A. Highmore, jup. Nichol's Collection, vol. 8, 1782.)
6 That servile path thou nobly dost decline,
and nobler way thou dost pursue,
(Sir J. Denhain on Fanshaw.)
The Rev. FRANCIS FAWKES, better known as a translator, than as a poet in his own right, was the friend and contemporary of Dr. Hawkesworth and Mr. Duncombe, the latter of whom has given us the following account of him :-" He was a native of Yorkshire, and had his school education at Leeds, under the care of the Rev, Mr, Cookson, Vicar of that Parish, from
whence he was translated to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he took a degree in arts, Entering early into holy orders, he settled first at Bramham, in Yorkshire, near the elegant seat of that name, (Mr. Lane's, which he celebrated in verse, in 1745. Removing afterwards to the curacy of Croydon, in Surrey, he recommended himself to the notice of Archbishop Herring, then resident there on account of his healih, to whom he i addressed an “Ode on his Recovery,” in 1754, printed with other pieces, in Dodsley's collection. In 1755 he was collated by his Grace to the Vicarage of Orpington, with St. Mary Cray, in Kent; and two years afterwards lamented bis patron's death in a pathetic elegy styled “Aurelius," first printed with that Prelate's seven sermons, in 1763. He married about the same time, Miss Purrier, of Leeds. In April 1774, by the late Dr. Plumptre's favour, he exchanged his vicarage for the neighbouring rectory of Hayes. He was also one of the Chaplains to the Princess Dowager of Wales. His first poetical publication was Gawen Douglas's “ Description of May and Winter" modernized. In 1761 be published a volume of poems in 8vo. by subscription. In 1763 and 1764, the “ Poetical Calendar, and “Poetical Magazine," in conjunction with Mr. William Woty; and “ Partridge Shooting," an Eclogue to the Hon. Charles Yorke, 4to. 1767. He also compiled a 4to Family Bible, with notes. But his great strength lay in translation, in which, since Pope, few have equalled him. Witness his “ Fragments of Me nander," in his poems; his “ Woks of Anacreon, Sappho, Bion, Moschus, and Musæus," 12mo. 1760: his “ Idylliums of Theocritus,” by subscription, 8vo. 1767; and his " Argonautics of Apollonius Rhodius,' s
by subscription also, (a posthumous publication completed by the Rev. Mr. Moon, of Emanuel College, Cambridge,) in 8vo. 1780. He died at Hayes, August 26, 1777."
It has been suggested that Fawkes; from his exchanging his livings rather late in life, and publishing his last works by subscription, seems to have suffered in consequence of a want of due attention to pecuniary matters ; this is not improbable ;-the good-humoured pleasantry of his more familiar original verses, whilst they are irreproachable in moral tendency, characterise their author rather as a " careless gay son of the muse," than a rigid economist :-instances of the latter virtue indeed, among the yotaries of the muses, are of rare occurrence.
The character given above of Mr. Fawkes's principal works, was written forty years ago. Later translations of the Sicilian Poet, and of the Grecian Lyrics, bare as far surpassed him in spirit, and sometimes in elegance, as his barmonious numbers exceeded “the rough music" of Creech: but his works will always be esteemed for their faithfulness, as well as their beauty; a great merit, which recent and still more polished versions cannot always boast.*
Fawkes, in his preface to his Theocritus, says, “However Creech may have approved himself in Lucretius or Manilios, I shall venjare to pronounce his translation of Theocritus'very bald and hard, and more rustic than any of the rustics of the Sicilian bard. He himself modestly entitles his book, “The Idylliums of Theocritus done into English :" and they are done as well as can be expected from Creecb, who had neither an ear for numbers, nor the least delicacy of expression."
history. Sir I. Ne 937
His “ Poetical Calendar," although the work bears little reference to the title, was a periodical collection of many of the best minor poenas of the day, and included some of his own, and of his friend and coadjutor, William Woty. It forms an agreeable sequel to the collections of Dodsley and Pearch.
As specimens of his manner, the following extracts will perhaps suffice. THE LAUNCHING AND SAILING OF THE
(From Apollonius.) He said, and instant to the task he flew :Example fir'd his emulative crew; They heap'd their vestments on a rock that stood Far from the insults of the roaring flood, But in times past, when wintry storms prevail'd, Th' epcroaching waves its towering top assaild. As Argus counsel'd, with strong ropes they bound, Compacting close, the vessel round and round;t Then with stout nails the sturdy planks they join’d, To brave the fury of the waves and wind; Next dels'd with spades a channel deep and wide, Through which the ship might launch into the tide. Near to the water deeper was the way, Where wooden cylinders transversely lay;
Jason, the son of Æson, King of Thessaly, and the leader of the Argonautic expedition. This celebrated event is generally supposed to have occurred in the first era of true
places it about 43 years after the death of Solonion, years before the birth of Christ.
“* This warlike ship was made By skilful Argus with Minerva's aid."
On these they heav'd the vessel from the plain,
To watchful Tiphys was the helm assign'd,
Soon as the bright-ey'd morning's splendid ray,