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BORN ABOUT 1721.-DIED 1777.
" Fawkes, to thy classic fame new trophies 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 Cruy's sequester'd rale :
(A. Highmore, jun. Nichol's Collection, vol. 8, 1782.)
66 That servile path thou nobly dost decline,
(Sir J. Denbam 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 health, to whom hie 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 his 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 he 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 “ Works of Anacreon, Sappho, Bion, Moschus, and Musæns," 12mo. 1760; his “Idylliums of Theocritus,” by subscription, 8vo. 1767; and his “ Argonautics of Apollonius Rhodius,' 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 votaries of the muses, are of rare occurrence,
The character given abore 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 harmonious 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 sball veniure to pronounce his translation of Theocritis very bald and hard, and more rustic than any of the rostics of the Sicilian bard.' He himself modestly entitles his book, “The Idylliums of Theocritas done into English :" and they are dore as well as can be expected from Creech, who had neither in ear for numbers, nor the least delicacy of expression."
His “ Poetical Calendar," although the work bears little reference to the title, was a periodical collection of many of the best minor poems of the day, and in. cluded 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 prevaild, Th' encroaching waves its towering top assail'd. 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 joind, To brave the fury of the waves and wind; Next delr'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 th: Argonautic expedition. This celebrated event is generally supposed to bave occurred in ihe first era of true history. Sir I. Newton places it about 43 years after the death of Solomon, and 937 years before the birth of Christ. +
This warlike ship was made
On these they heav'd the vessel from the plain,
betwixt; This was the station for the labouring bauds To tug with bending breasts, and out-stretch'd hands. First Tiphys mounted on th' aerial prow, To issue orders to the train below, That, at his word their strength uniting, all Might join together, and together haul. With eager look th' attentive heroes stand, And wait impatient 'till he gives command; Then all at once with full exerted sway, They move her from the station where she lay, And pushing instant, as the pilot guides, On smooth round rollers Pelian Argo glides. Glibly she glides ;-loud shouts the jovial band;They haul, they pull, they pusb her from the strand. Beneath the large bulk groan the rollers strong; Black smoke arises as she moves along; With swift descent she rushes to the main,
To watchful Tiphys was the helm assign'd,
Soon as the bright-ey'd morning's splendid ray,