1844 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Francis Fawkes

Robert Chambers, in Cyclopaedia of English Literature (1844; 1850) 2:118.



FRANCIS FAWKES (1721-1777) translated Anacreon, Sappho, Bion, and other classic poets, and wrote some pleasing original verses. He was a clergyman, and died vicar of Hayes, in Kent. Fawkes enjoyed the friendship of Johnson and Warton; but, however classic his tastes and studies, he seems, like Oldys, to have relished a cup of English ale. The following song is still, and will always be, a favourite:—

THE BROWN JUG.
Dear Tom, this brown jug that now foams with mild ale,
(In which I will drink to sweet Nan of the vale)
Was once Toby Fillpot, a thirsty old soul,
As e'er drank a bottle, or fathomed a bowl;
In bousing about 'twas his praise to excel,
And among jolly topers he bore off the bell.

It chanced as in dog-days he sat at his ease,
In his flower-woven arbour, as gay as you please,
With a friend and a pipe puffing sorrows away,
And with honest old stingo was soaking his clay,
His breath-doors of life on a sudden were shut,
And he died full as big as a Dorchester butt.

His body when long in the ground it had lain,
And time into clay had resolved it again,
A potter found out in its covert so snug,
And with part of fat Toby he formed this brown jug;
Now sacred to friendship, and mirth, and mild ale,
So here's to my lovely sweet Nan of the vale!

Johnson acknowledged that "Frank Fawkes had done the Odes of Anacreon very finely."