1780 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Francis Fawkes

John Nichols, in Select Collection of Poems with Notes Biographical and Historical (1780-82) 8:88-89n.



This ingenious Poet, a native of Yorkshire, had his school education at Leeds, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Cookson, vicar of that parish, from whence he was transplanted to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he took the 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, in his Poems ["in a quarto pamphlet, anonymous," Literary Anecdotes]. His first poetical publications were, Gawen Douglas's Description of May and Winter Modernized. Removing afterwards to the curacy of Croyden in Surrey, he recommended himself to the notice of Abp Herring, then resident there on account of his health, to whom (besides other pieces) he addressed an Ode on his recovery in 1754, printed in Mr. Dodsley's Collection. In consequence, his Grace collated him in 1755 to the vicarage of Orphington with St. Mary Cray, in Kent; and Mr. Fawkes lamented his Patron's death, in 1757, in a pathetic Elegy styled Aurelius, first printed with his Grace'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 rectory of Hayes. He was also one of the chaplains to the Princess Dowager of Wales. He published a volume of Poems by subscription, in 8vo, 1761; the Poetical Calendar, 1763, and Poetical Magazine 1764, in conjunction with Mr. Woty; Partridge-shooting, an Eclogue, to the Honorable Charles Yorke, 1767, 4to; and a Family Bible, with Notes, a compilation ["which was printed in 60 Numbers, 4to, of which the first appeared July 25, 1761," Literary Anecdotes]. But his great strength lay in translation, in which, since Pope, few have equalled him. Witness his fragments of Menander (in his Poems); his Works of Anacreon, Sappho, Bion, Moschus, and Musaeus, 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. Henry Meen, ["B.D. some time fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, now rector of St. Nicholas Coleabbey, London," Literary Anecdotes]), 8vo, 1780. He died August 26, 1777.